Something I unfortunately see a lot in my work as a registered dietitian and health coach is brilliant, beautiful women narrowing down their lives to fit into a restrictive diet category. They jump from fad to fad or swap one extreme eating approach for another, wondering what they’re doing wrong that they can’t stick with these regimens. Energy they could otherwise use to fuel a happy, balanced life gets sapped by that overthinking. So much for being productive at work or connecting well with others.
Many of us in the wellness world will tell you that we’ve been there too. I’ll tell you that in my own life, when I was in my early twenties trying to adjust to a vegetarian diet in an attempt to make mealtimes more peaceful with my then-boyfriend, I definitely experienced that. Because I wasn’t being mindful to meet my nutrient needs (it’s not just about protein), my energy, mood, and cognitive function suffered, and once I was in that malnourished place, my thinking clouded over.
When I went back to school at 23, I struggled so much in my classes and just couldn’t focus. I was also crying every day, but I just thought that was because relationships are hard. Then there was the fact that I was just.so.hungry…I also used to get major menu anxiety when I’d go out, especially in new places. I’d obsess over what to order, weighing the pros and cons of the vegetarian options. It sounds miserable, but I remember thinking that if I just tried harder (whatever that means) life would get easier—I’d do better in school, I’d feel more satisfied with what I was eating, and my boyfriend and I would fight less. If I hadn’t been on the pill, I suspect my period would have been way off too, since staying above 90 pounds felt hard to manage, and even at my height, that’s just too low.
Not surprisingly, I also felt very lonely—I had a few friends, but my social network didn’t even remotely resemble the amazing tribe I have now. I was somehow resigned to living and thinking small. I was too tired to daydream about my career goals. If someone had told me what a rich, fulfilling life I could
(and would) have, I legit would not have believed it. I actually probably would have gotten mad at them for trying to make me feel bad about how I was living my life. I was in such a fog from not being properly nourished, I didn’t even realize I had the option of getting out and feeling better. I thought I
was the problem! A vegetarian diet can absolutely be a healthy choice for someone, but the approach I was taking was not
kind to my brain or body (more on that here
It’s not always easy to see when you’re in it, but a restrictive diet can negatively impact your work and social life. It can feel very isolating, but it’s a struggle familiar to so many women. For this Women @ Forbes story
on how to tell if your diet is hurting your career, I spoke with Robyn Nohling
, FNP-BC, RD, RDN, a board certified family nurse practitioner and registered dietitian.
Robyn Nohling, FNP-BC, RD, RDN, a board certified family nurse practitioner and registered dietitian
Photo Credit: Sabrina Siegers Photography
Robyn’s own health journey with disordered eating, amenorrhea and hypothyroidism has been the catalyst to her career focused on women’s health and eating disorders. As both a Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner and Registered Dietitian, Robyn specializes in helping women heal from hormone & reproductive health issues and recover from eating disorders and disordered eating.
In addition to her private practice, blog and inpatient NP position, she also offers online courses.
In 2017, she opened an online learning center
to bridge her two passions of caring for women and teaching other professionals. Whether she’s counseling, nursing, mentoring or teaching, Robyn cultivates an environment that is safe, nurturing, non-judgemental and full of compassion.
You can read the story (which was named an Editor’s Pick, by the way) over on here
Have you ever struggled with restrictive dieting?
This has been another installment of the Running with Spoons Thinking Out Loud link party, where randomness is the name of the game. Thanks to Amanda for hosting.
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