Strive to eat healthy 80% of the time, not 100%. Depriving oneself of a food you love only makes you want it that much more.
Asa part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Keri Gans. Keri is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Yoga Teacher, author of The Small Change Diet, a Shape Magazine Advisory Board Member, MegaFood spokesperson and blogger for US News & World Report. Gans is a sought-after nutrition expert and has conducted thousands of interviews worldwide, appearing in media outlets such as Glamour, Self, Women’s Health, The Dr. Oz Show, Good Morning America, and FOX Business. The Keri Report, her own weekly blog and newsletter, helps to convey her no-nonsense and fun approach to living a healthy lifestyle.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Keri! What is your “backstory”?
I was working in NYC as a Sales Manager in the fashion business for years when I decided that I was traveling too much, working on too many weekends and needed a change. I had always been passionate about eating right and fitness and felt that a career in health would be the perfect move. I went back to school to become a registered dietitian (mind you, had never even met one before) and get a master’s degree in nutrition. The original plan was to open a small private practice, but I soon learned that was only the beginning. Through networking and being extremely open to new opportunities my business morphed into what it is today.
Can you share your top three “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing?
1. Strive to eat healthy 80% of the time, not 100%. Depriving oneself of a food you love only makes you want it that much more.
2. Find a physical activity that you actually love to do, then make the time to do it.
3. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
When I applied to undergraduate school, long before I became a dietitian/nutritionist, I had applied to a university that had a very prestigious communications program. I did not get into the program and went to another school instead. Fast forward many, many years later, I have now completed my masters, am a past president for the Academy of New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic Association (NYSAND) and a soon-to-be spokesperson for the national Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Association. After all that, I received an invitation from the school I didn’t get into to give a lecture to their students during National Nutrition Month. Talk about life coming full circle. First thing I told all the students is to never give up on their dreams because the unexpected can always happen.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
It is hard for me to share a story about mistakes since I don’t like to dwell on the past. I genuinely believe there are no real mistakes in one’s career, just hiccups that eventually lead us in the direction we need to go.
When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
One of the most exciting things I get to do in my current role is to work with like-minded brands as a media spokesperson. In a world where the consumer is inundated with mixed health messages, I work hard to communicate positive, science-based information around nutrition messages via traditional print, online and social media channels. One of my current partners is MegaFood, a leading maker of premium supplements made with real whole food and added nutrients. Through my work with MegaFood, I’m able to share the importance of consuming a healthy diet and filling nutritional gaps through supplementation. As a Certified B Corp, MegaFood uses their collective power for good to advocate for organic and regenerative agriculture for a healthier, more sustainable future. It’s thoughtful steps of brands like MegaFood that are going the extra mile like this that I believe will help make a positive impact on our world for generations to come.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I agree that no one achieves success without help along the way. But for me, there is not that one person, but instead too many to name. And there are probably even some whose names I can no longer recall. I continue to be grateful for meeting new people who inspire and motivate me in ways that I cannot describe.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Hmmm, a movement? I’m not sure what movement I’d want to start but I would like to see wellness being focused on our children more than it presently is. Remember when recess was mandatory and home economics was a class every child took before they graduated high school? Imagine if more children learned how to cook, grow their own food and engage in regular physical activity? Just think, how healthier our next generations could be.
What is your “3 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- Working for yourself is never a 9 to 5 job! Unless you learn limits quickly you will be working all the time and wish you had a 9 to 5 job.
- Social media is going to change the landscape of spokesperson work. I love being a brand spokesperson but am really not a big fan of social media despite it being part of my job.
- Take some culinary classes. I’ve always known my way around a kitchen but in a very simple manner and a lot of the brands I have worked with over the years have wanted some creative recipes that I struggled with.
Do you have a “girl-crush” in this industry? If you could take one person to brunch, who would it be? (Let another “woman in wellness” know that you respect her as a teacher and guide! )
I really hate to play favorites.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
If I had to pick one, it would be environmental changes. I have two grandchildren and the future of our planet concerns me greatly. I also have a niece who is a marine biologist who is constantly reminding me how climate change is affecting our oceans and not for the better.
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