Meeting nutrition and wellness goals can be a challenge, especially when you already have a lot on your plate. We’ve certainly experienced the feeling of wanting to get fitter, healthier, sleeping more and deciding to put it on hold. Life gets in the way sometimes so it’s okay to take a step back and take a deep breath before jumping back into your goals.
Today we have invited Sarah, a registered dietitian in New York City to speak to us about her unique nutrition practice, how she got started, and motivation tips to help meet your wellness goals.
Sarah is the Founder and CEO of Rooted Wellness, a private nutrition practice that supports women and their families throughout their pregnancy journey (from preconception through postpartum and beyond). She is also the mother of two young children, Ezra who is 5.5 years old and Maya who is 2.5 year olds. In her free time she loves to cook and bake healthy treats and exercise; she especially loves dance cardio and is a huge Tracy Anderson Method fan. She is also an active volunteer and is currently training to become a Planned Parenthood clinic escort.
1. Can you tell us more about Rooted Wellness? What was your motivation behind opening this wellness practice and focusing specifically on women’s wellness?
After earning my Masters in Clinical Nutrition at New York University, I consulted for various health companies. I always loved working with women and helping them feel empowered in their health and food choices. When I was 5 months pregnant, my OB/GYN suggested I counsel patients out of their office and I gladly accepted. Working with other women who were making the transition to motherhood was a powerful experience for me and I was shocked that there weren’t more dietitians that were focusing solely on this population! From then on, I decided that I wanted to create a space to support women during this critical period. And so, Rooted Wellness was “born” about 6 months after I had my son.
2. How do you hope to help women throughout their wellness journey?
I help my clients feel stronger, healthier and more balanced so they can go out and conquer the world! When women feel good in our own skin, we really can do amazing things.
3. If you are comfortable sharing, what has your own wellness journey been like?
My wellness journey has definitely been a winding road! During my teenage years I struggled a lot with my weight and body image. As a young adult and a budding athlete, I made the conscious choice to change my habits and start to live a healthier life. I started to educate myself on nutrition and implement healthier habits - all of which were totally transformative. As I enjoyed the effects of all the healthy changes I had made, living a balanced and healthy life became a true passion - one that I wanted to share with others.
4. Could you also tell us about your own pregnancy experience? Do you think your relationship with and how you viewed your body changed at all?
I had two very easy pregnancies- something I don’t take for granted for one second! Part of the reason I think both pregnancies were so easy is because 6 months prior to trying to conceive, I really focused on reducing my stress, eating a balanced diet and just generally taking care of myself! I went into both pregnancies in a really strong position from a health perspective.
As for body image, being pregnant certainly had a transformative effect. Like many women, I have struggled with body image and its connection to my own self-worth. Seeing my body do something so incredible was very empowering and healing for me and helped shift my perspective. Being a mom has only helped shift that internal conversation further - as I am determined to role model what a healthy relationship with your body can look like for my kids.
5. How do you balance being a working mom? How do you think you will approach the subject of healthy/positive wellness habits with your children?
I am lucky enough to have an amazing support system in place including great childcare for my kids - without which I couldn’t have a career - period! I don’t know if it’s ever possible to have a perfect “balance” - but one thing I do is try to carve out time every day to be fully present with my kids - no electronics, no phones. Even if that’s 10 minutes while dropping them off at school. We also do family dinner most nights - which is also a great time to connect with the kids and talk about the day’s adventures!
One of the big things we do in our home to instill healthy habits in our kids is to be a role model for them! Kids are such sponges, they really do look to us for guidance. We also try to take a neutral attitude towards food - not overly restricting sweets/treats, but rather focusing on “always” foods - foods that fuel our bodies and help us grow “big and strong” vs. “sometimes” foods - foods that taste yummy and are fun to eat, but are special treats. Framing food in a neutral way has really helped my kids take ownership of their health and their bodies!
6. What are some tips you have for those who are struggling to reach their wellness goals?
Often, when people are having difficulty reaching their wellness goals, they know the reason why - it’s just a matter of taking an honest inventory of their entire picture of health. This doesn’t just include nutrition choices – but also how much sleep they’re getting, what the major stressors are in their life, what they are doing for exercise and other lifestyle factors. All of these inputs hugely affect a person’s overall health. You can’t make long-lasting behavioral changes without ensuring all of these factors are in balance.
7. What are some wellness myths (specifically for women) that you want to debunk?
There are so many! But a theme that I often see is women looking to one food or food group to solve their health goals - for example, that eating a specific food will get you pregnant! There are no “magic foods” that will solve any health concerns. Rather than looking at a specific food for the solution, take a look at the big picture to help improve your health - sleep, exercise, eating nutritious meals and snacks, stress - these are all the building blocks of a healthy life!