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Meet Alyssa Callahan of Nourished with Kindness

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alyssa Callahan.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I started my career in health care public affairs in Washington DC, which involved writing policy papers, speeches, media materials, and blog posts for health care nonprofits. Over time, I felt like I wanted to switch careers so that I could help patients more directly. I became a Registered Dietitian to help others who struggle with eating disorders just as my dietitian helped me as a teenager. As an individual with a history of an eating disorder, I know how challenging it can be to find dietitians, therapists, and doctors who understand a difficult relationship with food and body image without expecting someone to “just eat healthy” or “just love your body.” To help more patients, I started Nourished with Kindness, a group practice of incredible Registered Dietitians focusing on patients struggling with eating disorders or other challenges with food and their bodies. Since becoming a dietitian, it has been my passion to help as many people who struggle with food as possible, which led me to write my book, The Mindful Eating Journal, to help readers start exploring their relationship with food and making peace with their bodies.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I firmly believe that everyone should have access to the best care, particularly when struggling with issues as complex as eating disorders. We are one of the few group practices in our area who specialize in this work and are in network with multiple insurance plans. Although we accept insurance, one of our biggest obstacles are the limitations of insurance plans. For example, we aim to get in-network with as many insurance plans as possible, but certain plans are not contracting with more dietitians or do not cover seeing a dietitian for eating disorders or struggling with food and body image. It is a struggle to want to work with a client who’s committed to improving their issues with food, but their insurance plan does not cover it and they do not have the ability to pay outside of insurance. I hope that in the coming years, more insurance plans will see the benefit of working with dietitians to help people feel empowered in their relationship with food and their health.

In working with clients, the more difficult part is always knowing that our culture around food and bodies is not very conducive to eating disorder recovery. I wish we were leading clients to a recovery that our culture would nurture and build on, but that is often not the case because ideas of “good” and “bad” foods and unattainable beauty standards are omnipresent in our society. There is a quote in the recovery community, “In a world that profits from your insecurity, loving yourself is a rebellious act.”

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
We are a group of Registered Dietitians and Eating Disorder Recovery Coaches who work with our clients to meet their nutritional needs, understand true nutrition science, ditch diets forever and make peace with food and their bodies. We specialize in eating disorders, Intuitive Eating, gastrointestinal issues, and women’s health, including pregnancy, fertility, PCOS, and other hormone issues from a weight-inclusive perspective. We take insurance and believe that getting the best care should be accessible and not require financial privilege. We are truly client-focused in our work to provide nutrition therapy and compassionate, whole-person care. We are accepting of all bodies, genders, orientations, races, ethnicities, and abilities.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
I am so appreciative of my team who work so hard to provide the best care to our patients and believe so much in our mission. I also value my clients so much because they inspire me to continue working hard even on the toughest days because that’s exactly what they do in their recovery journeys. I’ve had so many dietitian mentors who have given me time, advice, and guidance as I build this practice, including Elyse Resch, RD, Lauren Anton, RD, Shazi Shabatian, RD, Jennifer McGurk, RD, and Hannah Turnbull, RD. Of course, I also need to give credit to my wonderful family, friends, and husband for their constant emotional support.

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