Lauren is a dietetic intern, who is truly killing it at HAES. If you haven't stumbled upon her writing or speaking already, you're bound to soon. Recently, she was featured on Heather Caplan's RD Real Talk podcast where she talked about how she learned about HAES, the story behind how she changed her undergrad MNT lecture to include HAES and where she sees herself after the internship. I'm stoked to have her share a bit more about herself here and super excited to see how she continues to change the way we think about health as an RD!
SO let’s start off with introductions, tell us a little about yourself!
I’m a dietetic intern at the University of Texas at Austin, but I’m originally from New Jersey. I love long walks with friends, sitting on the beach with a good book, and the smell of fresh laundry… although I really hate folding my laundry so that makes for a not so great combo!
How did you get started? What was the inspiration behind Go Feed Yourself?
I was sick of all of the diet culture BS I was seeing on my personal account. Despite unfollowing a ton of people, it still wouldn’t go away and I didn’t want to completely delete instagram because I wanted to stay connected to the HAES community. So I made a new account! The name was a joke based on a laptop sticker a friend gave me that says “go feed yourself”… I honestly didn’t intend to stick with it for as long as I have! Name change in the works, just waiting for the right time.
In your insta bio you describe yourself as ‘anti-diet, pro intuition’ and HAES, will you
explain a bit about what those mean?
In addition to being unsustainable, dieting & the intentional pursuit of weight loss can have some pretty serious negative health outcomes! Tuning in and listening to our body’s internal cues is a much better guide to feeding ourselves and meeting our needs than listening to external rules (aka a diet)! Additionally, I recognize that health is not determined by weight or body size (thus, seeking to improve health through dieting is an inherently flawed system.) Health at Every Size (HAES) is an approach to healthcare based on the principles of weight inclusivity (acceptance of body diversity), health enhancement (support and promotion of policies & behaviors that improve wellbeing), respectful care (which includes acknowledgment and understanding of our own privileges and biases), eating for wellbeing, and life-enhancing movement.
What’s your advice to someone who wants to pursue their RD?
Network!! Like, network a LOT! It’s so incredibly important to get to know other RDs/RD2Bes and what they’re doing. It will help you figure out what your likes and interests are and can obviously lead to potential internship rotations and job offers… but more importantly it will give you a community of people who truly get what you’re doing and mentors to support you through this crazy process! This is what prompted me (and a few other awesome friends) to create a FB group specifically for RD2Be’s and recent grads looking to learn more/find support around
When someone finds out you study nutrition and are going to be an RD, what’s the most
common question you get asked and how do you answer it?
Usually some kind of question about the latest diet trend or what they should/shouldn’t be eating. Most of the time it’s not worth the energy or time to get into a discussion about my real feelings on these topics… for a while I would avoid saying anything about being a RD in social situations, but now my go to response is “I share a lot of thoughts on this topic on my instagram, if you’re interested you should check it out!” Kills two birds with one stone: new followers & avoid stressful party conversations
What’s been the biggest learning curve with sharing your message social media?
Learning to set social media boundaries. It’s so easy to get burnt out, compare yourself to others, and pour way too much emotional energy into responding to a post/comment/DM. And with all of that, it’s easy to let the insta world and community take the place of your in
person/real life social connections. Social media is amazing, but can definitely be a little bit of a black hole.
What do you hope someone takes away after visiting your Instagram or reading
something you’ve written?
I hope I leave people with something to think about. The topics I talk about are often super counter cultural and honestly took me years to come around to understanding. I don’t expect one post to change someone’s mind about anything, I just hope it gives them something to think about and prompts them to question a belief or assumption they may have. We don’t know what we don’t know until we’re exposed to it!
What’s your dream job?
I’m super passionate about type 1 diabetes and ideally want to be working with the intersection
of type 1 & disordered eating/eating disorders!
Take us through a typical (or not-so-typical) day!
Honestly, I don’t think there is such a thing in intern life! It really depends on the rotation and how many projects/case studies/assignments I have due that week! But my typical weekends include sleeping a LOT, really long walks/time outside, and catching up with friends (which lately has included lots of wine and cheese boards).
What’s your biggest goal as of now? (personal or brand-related)
My biggest goal is getting back to blogging! I had a blog for a hot sec, but intern life is cray and I just could not commit to that! I’ve been lucky to be working for Rachael Hartley who lets me blog for her sometimes, which I’m super grateful for! But I definitely want to get to a place where I’m consistently able to blog for myself!! (Check that off the list! Check out Lauren's blog here)
Also to find a job… but let’s not go there right now.
What’s something you’re currently obsessed with? (people, things, products, habits,
places - can be anything!)
Currently obsessed with listening to podcasts/audiobooks instead of music while I workout! Not sure how long this will last because I LOVE music, but I’ve been really into this lately for some reason!
What does “health” mean to you?
The world health organization has a really interesting document titled The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion
(http://www.who.int/healthpromotion/conferences/previous/ottawa/en/index1.html) in which they state “To reach a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, an individual or group must be able to identify and to realize aspirations, to satisfy needs, and to change or cope with the environment. Health is, therefore, seen as a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living.” I really love this perspective on health, because in today’s society health and the pursuit of health is often discussed as if it is the object of living. Of course as someone in a healthcare profession, health is something I value and something I view as important. However, I place value in my health as it gives me the ability to engage and be present in all other areas
of my life. My health status is not my defining characteristic or achievement, and I recognize that health is not (or cannot) be a priority for many people and that’s ok too!
How do you see (or hope to see) our perception of health and nutrition changing in the
I hope the public perception of health shifts away from body size, and toward a more holistic view of well-being that appreciates the role of mental and emotional health as well as the effects of stigma, privilege, and intersectionality in our health and access to appropriate care. I also hope to see a shift toward a more realistic view of the role nutrition plays in health! There are a ton of people who don’t recognize the value of nutrition which is definitely a problem, but on the other end there are people who overestimate the power of nutrition and are promoting some questionable information about the potential of certain foods and nutrients to heal and harm us.
How can readers keep up with you? Social handles and platforms!
Also, if you’re a current intern or recent grad, check out our Killing it at HAES FB group here!