Today's Spotlight belongs to Lindsay Stenovec, MS, RDN, CEDRD, CLEC. Lindsay is the owner of Nutrition Instincts and founder of the Nurtured Mama Online Community.
Lindsay's career in dietetics started when she got accepted into Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo as a nutrition major. Early in her career, she attended a behavioral health nutrition conference with dietitians who specialized in eating disorders and intuitive eating and she realized that those were her people! She completely fell in love with the science and human aspects of the field. Shortly after, she worked for an eating disorder treatment center for a couple of years and then opened her private practice.
Lindsay always had a fascination about nutrition for moms and how it played a role during pregnancy and child feeding. It was not until she experienced pregnancy and postpartum when she realized how much mothers need wellness services that center around what she specializes in. The idea for a mom-focused online program was sparked during her pregnancy. 2 years later, here she is!
Lindsay specializes in helping moms learn to trust their bodies and improve body confidence while moving themselves and their families towards a wellness state that is right for them. Her expertise, however, is in the full eating experience and exploring how pregnancy, breastfeeding and children impact it. When we initially think about nutrition and the perinatal period we often expect to get lists of foods to eat and foods to avoid, specific calorie and weight goals and how to get your child to eat specific types and amounts of food. Instead, Lindsay supports moms in tuning into their body's needs and exploring how emotions, stress and change can impact their appetite and eating patterns. She uses nutrition information as a supportive tool rather than a trigger for guilt and explore how food contributes to the functioning of our bodies. She also helps moms increase insight into how body image is impacted by the changes experienced during pregnancy and postpartum and help them work towards body confidence.
So what separates her from others in this field? Lindsay's approach is definitely what separates her! She's a “Health at Every Size®” (HAES) dietitian which basically means that she respects all body types, believe we all come in different shapes and sizes and that every human has a right to pursue health in any size, in their own way. She respects the body her client is living in right now - not the one our society says they should have. She does not provide weight loss services because she believes that the focus on weight loss not only reinforces weight stigma but also impedes on wellness efforts and ultimately damages health. She also does not believe there is a weight loss approaches that work in the long-term for more than about 5% of the population. When it comes to motherhood, especially postpartum, it’s important for moms to have the option to work with a practitioner who isn’t going to focus on the number on the scale, feeding the body less than what it needs, or using food/exercise as way to put a band-aid over all of the changes and challenges that come with motherhood.
Lindsay shares with us her 2 greatest achievement as a Nutritionist - her private practice, Nutrition Instincts®, and delivering her son. She took a huge leap of faith when she left her full time job about 3 years ago and worked like crazy to manage three demanding consulting jobs while she established and grew her nutrition counseling business. She was slowly able to let each one of those consulting jobs go and now have what she considers to be a thriving practice. She was able to hire two team RDs in 2015 and just launched a new online program for moms called 'The Nurtured Mama'. She's proud of these accomplishments and very thankful for the opportunity to be able to support women with an approach to wellness that she genuinely believes in.
Delivering her son was, by far, the most taxing physical, psychological and emotional experience she has ever had. She planned to have a natural, un-medicated birth and that’s definitely what she got! She wouldn’t describe every moment as beautiful and she doesn’t really recall a “golden hour,” although her husband is adamant that there was one. She didn’t know she had that level of strength and endurance inside of her and after it was all said and done she remembers this incredible realization that she could truly accomplish anything she wanted– on a physical and mental level.
We asked Lindsay what's the biggest misconceptions she sees parents make with regards to their children's nutrition and this is what she had to say: "I think one of the most understandable misconceptions parents have is that they have control over their child's size/weight and that it is their job to get their child to eat a certain amount of food". She believes that feeding children in the US has become really difficult for many parents. "There is pressure to raise children to be a certain size (a.k.a. thin), alarmist messaging about our food supply that is sometimes not scientifically accurate and is taken out of context and there is a lot of judgment about feeding choices circulating via social media. The stress around feeding can be unbearable and surely shows up in the feeding relationship". That being said, Lindsay gave us her unsolicited advice:
- All children come in different shapes and sizes. Honor the body your child has, not the body society thinks she/he should have. Teach them to appreciate their bodies and care for them. Not sure how to make sense of this? Start with this article (http://www.ellynsatterinstitute.org/cms-assets/documents/99558-588624.ycwhwh.pdf) and begin exploring Ellyn Satter’s resources on child feeding (http://ellynsatterinstitute.org/index.php).
- Your job as a parent is not to get your child to eat certain foods, in certain amounts. Your job is to offer a variety of foods, at consistent regular eating times in a positive environment. Understandably, this is sometimes hard for parents to swallow. I usually get questions like, “Well how will I make sure my child eats enough veggies?” Short answer – offer a variety of veggies regularly, eat veggies yourself, prepare them in unique and tasty ways, and maintain a low-pressure, positive feeding environment. Try not to coax or plead with your child to try/eat a food. I’m not even a fan of the "two bite club". These tactics may seem to work in the short term but is not likely to instill long-term healthy eating. I’ve never met an adult client who says that she eats vegetables regularly because her parents made her eat them as child. I can’t review all of the facets of this feeding approach here (called Division of Responsibility or DOR) so I encourage you can find more on Ellyn Satter’s website (link above), the blog Raise Healthy Eaters (www.raisehealthyeaters.com) and my website.
Lindsay hopes to improve the lives of mothers with her unique approach to wellness. She plans to grow the Nurtured Mama Online Community via her free membership program. It includes access to a closed Facebook group, access to free calls and a member forum where she answers questions about nutrition, body image, child feeding, etc… She is also hoping to expand the reach of her message via eCourses, podcasting, speaking and videos. Stay tuned!
Finally, Lindsay shares her best nutritional tip for pregnant women, breastfeeding moms and toddler nutrition and here is what she has to say:
"My #1 tip for pregnant and breastfeeding moms is to embrace hunger, appetite changes and cravings. You will experience shifts in appetite almost on a daily basis during pregnancy. Practice being aware of it and explore how responding with different types of foods impacts your hunger and fullness. This will likely change with each stage of pregnancy!
Breastfeeding moms typically experience very high levels of hunger and sometimes feel uncomfortable with that. It’s totally normal and a fantastic way for your body to make sure it gets what it needs so that you can heal from childbirth and continue to make milk. Think about how thirsty you get when you breastfeed. It’s a perfect feedback loop – one that rarely comes with judgment. Sometimes it’s helpful to use that experience to support you if you’re ever feeling judgment about your body’s hunger messages.
Finally, cravings. There is a reason why we hear about pregnancy cravings so often – because most women experience them! We don’t totally understand the cause of cravings but the majority of research points towards hormones. Think of them as part of the process. Instead of trying to avoid, trick or ignore cravings I encourage moms to honor them (as long as they’re for safe foods of course). If you’re used to avoiding foods you crave it may feel a little uncomfortable responding to them. I highly recommend reading Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch to get the full picture on how to feel at peace with food. You can also hop on over to my membership program and ask me specific questions!"
For more information on Lindsay Stenovec and Nutrition Instincts please visit their website, http://www.nutritioninstincts.com