Sunday, March 3, 2019

A New Jouney

This blog started a few years ago while I was a stay at home mom.  It was something I enjoyed and a way to document what I was learning and hopefully help others on their journey.  However, with my kids in school and the expenses of raising a family ever increasing, I began to look at going back to work.  My degree is in Nutrition and Dietetics and I had worked for several years in this field before staying home.  However, as I was searching to enter the workforce, I was uncertain the path to take.  To be honest, I was frustrated with the field of nutrition.  The never ending nutrition advice, diets, supplements, and industry left me feeling inadequate and even confused at times.  It left me questioning the principles of nutrition I learned - that of balance, variety, and moderation.   I too struggled with my weight or at least the perception of my weight, which made me wonder if the principles I learned were correct.  If they were, then why did I have such a hard time with my weight.

I believe my journey with weight started in middle school.  I remember noticing the fullness of my belly developing, the changes of puberty, and the fear all that change meant.  It started me on the journey of trying to control my weight and size through exercise and diets.  In high school, I played sports, began running and was at a what is typically considered a healthy weight.  However, it was never good enough for me.  There was always someone thinner, prettier, and this made me feel inadequate and unworthy.  I entered the field of nutrition mainly because I loved science and particularly physiology and biochemistry.  The way the body worked fascinated me and as my mom was a Home Economics (now Family and Consumer Science) teacher, this seemed to fit.  As I got my degree, I continued with that feeling that I was never quite good enough or thin enough to be a dietitian.  I tried many diets - of course looking for the ones that appeared to be more "balanced" as recommended by the principles of my degree.  Yet every time I lost weight, I gained it back within the next year.  This frustrated me and confused me.  The idea that here I am a dietitian who should be able to control this and yet the advice I learned wasn't working.

So as I prepared to go back to work, I started substitute teaching.  While I was not very good with the younger kids, I fell in love with teaching at the junior high level.  I think their energy, curiosity, uncertainty, and understanding that they are learning about who they are and who they want to become made me enjoy being a small part of their lives.  So, I looked into going back to school to become a teacher.  I had quite a bit of science from my degree, so I looked at obtaining a teaching certificate for junior high and high school with a science endorsement.  Through all of this, I continued try to trust the Lord to lead, delight in Him, commit my way to Him, and be still and wait as He had been teaching me to do.

During this time, I continued to look at job posts for dietitians.  None of them really sparked my interest until I came across one in particular.  As I researched this facility, I felt my heart drawn to this.  It was a dietitian working with eating disorders.  To be honest, I was scared.  I had very little experience with eating disorders.  Most of my work had been in the medical field working with adults with heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and weight control.  After a phone interview, I was hired to begin working registry (helping out as needed).  The first year of my work here was overwhelming.  Not only the experience of going back to work after being home for a few years, but learning a whole new area of my field.  Yet, I felt the Lord leading here, providing not only through the stress of the change at home, but also with a great team and boss at work.  I was also blessed to enter the field very slowly.

After about six months of doing just assessments, I began to take my own cases. My truly wonderful boss encouraged me to work on one of our adolescent lodges and so began my journey of working with adolescents with eating disorders.
Along with working with the dietitian's, our facility offers a Christian track for our residents and I was blessed to become a part of our Christian team.  It was yet another way I felt the Lord leading and providing for me on my journey.  This Christian team of therapists became an additional source of support and helped me deepen my understanding of what these girls were going through.

The really crazy thing about all of this, it that I not only had the privilege of helping these girls heal their relationship with food, it also helped me heal my relationship with food and regain my passion and interest in nutrition.  So many of the people I work with have such shame and fear around food and weight.  While I have not had an eating disorder per say, I have definitely experienced this shame and fear as well as the cycle of dieting and weight.  It was here that I was introduced to intuitive eating, listening to your bodies cues for hunger and fullness, body satisfaction, making peace with food, and the health that this promotes both mentally and physically.  I have said on several occasions that the team has helped me in so many ways, and now I get the joy of helping others find their worth in who they are, not what they look like, how much they weigh, or what they eat as we work together to help heal their relationship with food.

Recently, I have regained a desire to start to write again and share both my story, encouraging words, tips for balanced nutrition, the science behind it, and walking with the Lord through all of it.  I am honored by any that would choose to read these posts and possibly share their journey with the Lord and/or their relationship with food and body.  I hope this to be a place free of judgement, shame, or guilt and instead a place where we can find peace with who God made us to be and allow Him to change us as we delight in Him.

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