Thank you for reading my newsletter. I am delighted you are interested in mindful eating, weight-inclusive diabetes care, and inclusion. My life has had some twists and turns. My recent conversations made me realize many people don’t actually ‘know’ me.
As someone who is terrible with names and feels like the COVID years have erased my memory, it makes sense that a random person’s life might be a bit fuzzy. Let’s pair this with the anxiety of meeting people, trying to remember their names, not to mention what they do. It is all overwhelming, and after 57 years, I am embracing that it is a bit awkward, confusing, and forgettable for most people.
My cringe-worthy introduction starts with the fact that I am a Registered Dietitian, Diabetes Educator, and Mindful Eating expert. I have a Master’s in Nutrition Education. I started my career as an HIV health educator in the 80s! I became a dietitian in 1991. I worked as an eating disorder dietitian from 1992-1999 and began working with diabetes in 1994. In 2000 I obtained my CDE, which is now called CDCES. I am a Motivational Interviewing trainer and have written six books even though I am a terrible speller.
While this tells you about the letters after my name, it doesn’t mean much about me, the person. For example, why in 2005 did I co-found The Center for Mindful Eating – a non-profit that started to support professionals to include Mindful Eating concepts in health programs?
Why did I ride my bike 550 miles across Iowa? Why do I love dogs and crush on Bernese Mountain Dogs? Why do I attend five and 10-day silent meditations each year? Why don’t I call myself a vegetarian, even though I don’t eat meat? Why am I such a lousy bowler (a high score is in the 40s)? Asking questions is also an opportunity to get curious about your own life. Pause and consider your why questions.
When I was very young, my father died abruptly. A fair chunk of time has been spent wondering if he knew he would die that day. This event shifted my thinking and worldview because the future is not guaranteed. It wasn’t for my father and won’t be for me. Why did I ride my bike across Iowa? A client in her 80s described participating in RAGBRAI as one of the most fun things she had ever done. I remember everything about that conversation because I believed her. The other day, I met up with my RAGBRAI friends I met in 2010; I can share with you; she was right. It was one of the most fun things I have ever done!
I have always had dogs. It wasn’t until I left home and didn’t have a dog did I realize they were part of my depression and anxiety treatment. My love of Berner’s started when I met one because they look and act like a stuffed animal.
Meditation and vegetarianism?
Meditation is the ‘hot’ thing right now. It is funny how the past repeats itself. In 1970’s Transcendental Meditation, TM was the rage. (The rock band The Beatles were doing it, so it was cool!) While I tried to meditate consistently before then, I couldn’t create a daily meditation until my mid-30s. I have been meditating daily for 24 years. Meditating has helped me heal from traumas, self-medicate my ADHD, and forgive the suffering in the world. The more I meditate, the more being in silence feels like home. I asked to become a Buddhist Minister and join the Triratna Buddhist Order, and having stretches of silence is a healing part of my ordination path.
Mindfulness helped me change my personal story. I can slow down and, in moments, accept what is present. After my father’s death, we became vegetarian. It was hip then. Young dietitian-me needed a vegetarian label, but the present-day-me doesn’t. I am so much more than what I do or don’t eat. I would prefer not to eat meat, but offering the label ‘vegetarian’ feels like an invitation to talk about a topic I no longer want to discuss. I like eating a plant-based diet, but the title ‘vegetarian’ feels too constrained.
I came across an article I wrote in the ’90s titled “Confessions of a Bad Bowler.” The article debunked the idea that we must be good at something to enjoy ourselves. The need to continually improve is overrated. Being ‘bad’ at something is freeing because you have let go of expectations. I am thrilled when my score is in the 40s; for you non-bowlers, a perfect score is 300. When were you last excited and down-right giddy about being terrible at something? We get to be awful at things in life. My family, who are good bowlers, laugh, which is a source of joy in my life. I hope to find other things I am terrible at that are as much fun!
Thanks for listening and getting to know me. I am reading a lot these days, and here is a recent list of books.
- Weightless by Evette Dionne
- Less by Andrew Sean Greer
- The Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. Le Guin
- Crying in Hmart, by Michelle Zauner
- Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given
The following are not beach reads but are books that touch me deeply.
- My Grandmother’s Hands, by Resmaa Menakem
- Awakening Through Love by John Makranski
- Weathering: The Extraordinary Stress of Ordinary Life in an Unjust Society by Arline T Geronimus