Running into Your Purpose: Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Sarah Tells All
In celebration of the last week of National Nutrition Month, we asked Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Corporate & Community Wellness Manager Sarah to let us in on how she started her career in nutrition. If you’ve ever worked with Sarah, you know that she has a sharp knack for supporting corporate clients and strategic partners with nutrition programming that motivates the masses. And when she isn’t working, she is probably enjoying a morning run.
But right now, we are going back in time, to the 90’s to be exact.
Setting: 1998/1999, Medical College of Georgia, School of Nursing, Athens, Georgia
When I was studying to become a nurse at MCG, I could barely even run for five minutes …and I just wanted to do it.”
Sarah started out like many of us, on the treadmill.
I was walking on a treadmill for exercise and I got bored, so I decided to run. The first time I ran, I barely made it for five minutes, and so I set a goal to be able to run for 30 minutes without stopping. I just figured it out on my own, so it took forever, but eventually I got there! When I moved to Chicago in 2001, I couldn’t afford a gym membership, so I started running outside.
If you’ve ever taken your workout outdoors after years in the gym, you know how different this can feel.
Running outside was hard at first, I was so used to the consistent pace of the treadmill. But, I was happy with the 3 miles I had built up to and never thought of myself as a ‘runner’. I watched the Chicago Marathon that year and thought that the participants were insane, I had no desire to run that far.
The following year, my pot-luck freshman year roommate was running the Chicago Marathon. She had recently hurt her knee, and was run/walking, so I thought I’d jump in and run a few miles with her for support. But, without training, and by some dumb luck, I ended up doing 13 miles with her! I was hooked and that day committed myself to running the Chicago Marathon the following year. I trained with a group, but had no idea how to fuel my body for what I was asking it to do for me.
A woman in my training group handed me a Nancy Clark’s Food Guide For Marathoners and it spoke to me. Not only did it help me through my training and marathon, but I loved talking about what I was learning.
That book changed my life. I was ready for a career change, but I didn’t know what it was yet. But I have always been a helper and especially felt drawn toward helping other women who, like me, never thought about pushing themselves to achieve fitness and nutrition goals.
So much of the way we feel and the way our bodies function is related to what we eat. Sarah realized that while many people focused most of their attention on their workout, there was conflicting information out there about how to properly fuel our bodies.
Within weeks of finishing her first marathon, Sarah found herself studying for the GRE exam and preparing applications for Nutrition and Dietetic programs.
I never really thought about being a dietitian, I wasn’t even sure what one did, except in a clinical setting, and that isn’t what I wanted to do. So, I was sort of blindly looking for the right program and based most of my research on location and application deadlines.
I decided on New York City and applied to both NYU and Teachers College, Columbia University. In the end, I chose the program at Columbia because they had a joint Masters program in Nutrition and Applied Physiology.”
Since getting her Masters and becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in 2007, Sarah has dedicated herself to providing sustainable and realistic solutions for her clients, to help them feel and function at their best. She can appreciate a good wine-and-cheese night just as much as any of the delicious Good Measure Meals and knows it’s all about finding a healthy and realistic balance for your body, —and enjoying the journey, even if you don’t have all of the answers!