Monica: Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Keri! You’ve built such an incredible media career on a national stage as a nutrition and health expert, what first motivated you towards working in the health industry?
Keri: I’ve always felt I was born to do what I am doing. My childhood friend tells me she remembers me being in Mr. S’s 7th grade science class and saying, “My body is craving vitamin E, I am going to eat almonds!” Was I that dorky?!? I guess so.
But, clearly nutrition and being good to my body was innate. I’ve always loved all types of food, and always liked to exercise, although there was a time when I struggled with weight that made me “mental.” It was that battle with being “on” or “off” a diet and that “all or nothing” attitude that became so emotionally draining. It wasn’t until my late twenties that I truly conquered the emotional part of eating. (By the way, that’s not to say a Levain Bakery cookie is never eaten after a rough day!)
Monica: I think so many people can relate to that love-hate relationship with food! How do you try to help people redefine that relationship for themselves?
Keri: It’s so important to remember what food actually is. Food is love. Food is history. Food is culture. Food is medicine. Food is delicious. We love it, but we hate what it can do to us. But the fact is, we don’t need to hate it!
That is what I love to help people do — shifting to that mindset versus a love-hate relationship. No relationship in life is ever perfect, but this one can be a really good one. And oftentimes, it’s not just about the food. When people realize that food is not the enemy, but rather other things in their lives that are causing stress that is projected onto food, they can finally get on the path to having a healthy relationship with food. Also, I often talk about flipping the switch. When people change their way of thinking from “I CAN’T have the chocolate cake” to “I CAN have the blueberries”, they are switching from a negative place to an empowered place.
Monica: It’s so important to have that positive mindset, especially when it comes to our health. What helps you stay connected to your happiness, and how does that help you pursue what you love?
Keri: Being happy has always been about spending time with the people I love the most. My kids. My man. My fam and friends. I am my happiest (and healthiest) when I am checked out from all else, and enjoying a simple activity outside with my kids. We recently went to Colorado for vacation and while we were all out biking together in the mountains, I thought to myself, this is really life. This is everything. And when you are happy, you can pursue your passions and live your best life.
Monica: How has that energy translated into pursuing your own passions and growing your business?
Keri: When I first started my practice, I created a very specific methodology that made it easier for me to be the best nutritionist I could be. It kept me accountable (something important as an entrepreneur!), and helped the client to be successful in achieving his or her goals.
As I grew my business over the years, my team studied my methodology as well and became Nutritious Life Certified in order to work in my office. It was a dream from the beginning to be able to share this philosophy and methodology online with other wellness professionals.
My goal has always been to reach as many people as possible and help them, so I started The Nutritious Life Studio as the education arm of my business. We take applications from everyone who has a passion for nutrition, health, and wellness, and wants to help others live a more nutritious life. We have students contemplating a career change in health, to fitness professionals, to experienced registered dietitians.
If I can help others avoid the mistakes I made over the years, teach them my successes to expedite their own, and give them a road map to help them and their own clients reach their goals, then I have truly accomplished my original Nutritious Life mission — to help as many people as possible take their nutrition up as many notches as possible.
Monica: What a wonderful vision of connecting more people with the help they need! What are the key elements of living well that you want to help people adopt?
Keri: While health and wellness relates to food, food is not everything. My philosophy teaches about the 8 pillars of living a Nutritious Life. Drink up, eat empowered, live consciously, love more, nurture yourself, stress less, sleep deep, and sweat often.
Each of them are equally important and when it comes to becoming your healthiest or happiest self you must, must weigh all of these equally. They each connect in a physiological and behavioral aspect. For example, you may have a spectacular diet, but if you don’t sleep and the stress of your job is overwhelming you every day, then you’ll feel awful and have increased cravings because your hormones are out of control. Perhaps the focus for you needs to be meditation and finding a sleep ritual. This personally helps me because I know that even if one pillar feels off, I can focus on drinking water and getting a good night’s rest and I am doing good for my body and ultimately that keeps me calm and happy.
Monica: Absolutely, our well-being is definitely so much more than just food and exercise! Before we go, what is the one thing that you want people to know that will help them thrive?
Keri: Take time to slow down, be calm and present, and just be. It’s the most simple, yet key thing we forget to do daily as we sit and cross things off our to-do lists. When you take that time to regroup, your thoughts and ideas become much more clear.