The Wellful Welcomes Shana Minei Spence!
Shana is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in New York. Shana is the founder of @thenutritiontea, she offers virtual counseling from an ‘all foods fit,’ Health at Every Size (HAES) and non-diet approach. You might recognize her from her letterboard posts de-bunking diet culture and trend diet advice!
My name is Shana and I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in New York. I label myself as an “eat anything” dietitian. Life is already complicated, why restrict yourself? I wanted to create a platform for open discussion on nutrition and wellness topics considering all the information circulating around these days. Was I always interested in nutrition? No. In the not so long ago past I worked in the fashion industry and hated it. (Joke to myself: I got a B.S in Fashion Merchandising…get it?) I decided to make a change, go back to school and help people reach their goals. Update: I love what I do and want to share as much as possible.
What does health mean to you?
Health to me means your physical and mental well being. We tend to concentrate on the physical aspect mostly when how we think of ourselves and our stress factors all come into play.
How did you get started and what inspired you to start your business?
I started speaking in regards to the diet industry and the culture surrounding it on social media. I have suffered from eating disorders and body dysmorphia and I realized that I could talk about it, be open, and hopefully help others. I started coaching clients slowly and I realized how much I love really breaking through to people and helping them reach their goals.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in this process and how did you keep yourself motivated?
It’s always a challenge because I personally started second guessing myself as a dietitian and what my beliefs are. The more research I did and the more books that I read I realized that there are mis truths that we learned in the health field. Do I continue to reach people through personal experience or do I stick to “science” and what the books say and what I learned in school? Luckily I chose to stick to my new research and my personal beliefs. It’s also a relief that some of the “science” that we learned in school is becoming debunked.
What is the most important message you want your viewers to receive through your platform?
I believe that the anti diet and HAES (health at every size) message is so important because we live in a society saturated with images and unrealistic expectations for people to follow. The diet industry makes their money based off of insecurities and also people diet cycling. Many children know what a diet is by the time they’re 5 years in age (sometimes younger). We have been programmed to think our bodies need repairing and one of the methods of repairing is to be thinner. This leads to body dysmorphia and eating disorders. I think it is my job as a dietitian to make people more aware of the messaging that they are constantly being exposed to and dismantle that way of thinking. All foods can fit into someone’s diet and they will still be able to meet their goals no matter that they are.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
It’s never too late or too early to start. I was hesitant about going back to school and leaving my fashion career. I thought I was too “old” but obviously that wasn’t true. I also thought I would need more experience before seeing clients and counseling. That wasn’t true either. There are always going to be bumps and learning experiences because it’s life, but never be afraid to go after your goals.
What is your favorite way to relax?
I love to dance and also take long walks. I grew up dancing and it’s become a de-stressor for me. Also bingeing on trashy reality TV!
What advice would you give to your early 20’s self?
Stop dieting! Ha! But it’s true, I was miserable in my career and with other life events, and I found dieting as a way of control which backfired. Also, to get a mentor or even a therapist to talk out problems and get advice.
What’s something you are currently obsessed with? (could be anything that comes to your mind! Object, things, place, restaurant, product)
I’m a lipstick person (if you’ve seen my IG you know this). Not make up but just lipstick and I love Pat McGrath’s collection. The colors are amazing and they last all day. I like to put some on even if I’m home all day.
Current tv show?
Crime drama shows. I love the ID channel and Dateline.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I have a few and it’s hard to narrow down but – Food Psych, Real RD Talk, and Bachelor Happy Hour (I said I love trashy reality TV)
Where can the audience find you and what are you most currently up to? (share handle, current podcasts, books)
Instagram/Twitter – @thenutritiontea (most active)
Website – thenutritiontea.com