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Authenticity: Being True to Yourself while Eating, Exercising, & More with Maria Terry


📌Episode Highlights

[06:37] Maria’s History

  • Maria worked as an English teacher and school administrator before deciding to change careers and become a dietitian.

  • She is currently in her first year of private practice as a dietitian. She found the transition challenging.

  • Coming from a large family taught her the importance of connecting with others.

  • People feel seen when they make genuine connections.

[09:07] Maria’s Private Practice

  • Maria dedicates herself to helping people heal their relationship with food.

  • There is currently a gap in the nutrition community in terms of online assistance and teaching others what to eat.

  • Her practice focuses on people's relationships with food at a specific point in their lives. They take into account their patient's circumstances, such as age or prior experience.

  • She also advises people on fueling their bodies for the specific type of movement and exercise they prefer.

[12:08] Letting Go of Diet Culture

  • Diet culture is a systemic issue, not an individual one.

  • There’s more to diet culture than the thin ideal.

  • You may be stuck in your habits around food and your relationship with food; you don’t have to eat the food in front of you.

  • Social media lacks nuance — the answers on it tend to be point-blank.

[15:33] An Unexpected Challenge Leading to Today

  • Maria felt burnt out while teaching and experienced full-body anxiety because of her teaching career.

  • She was in a very dark place until she acknowledged she had to prioritize her health.

  • Health encompasses more than dieting and exercise — it also involves communicating with and understanding your body.

Maria: “The truth is, you're allowed to hit these points in your life when you're 25, 26 or 45 or 56, when you realize it's not worth it anymore–the work, the stress, the expectations, the misalignment.” - Click Here To Tweet This

[21:42] Recovering from Burnout

  • Take the time to think things through and sit in your discomfort.

  • It’s critical to take note of practical health concerns. Burnout recovery isn’t always luxurious self-care; it’s also going to the dentist and checking on your health.

  • Burnout recovery is building a strong foundation for yourself.

  • Yoga was a turning point in Maria's healing journey.

  • Share your discomfort.

[27:20] The Gray Area in Nutrition

Maria: “If you're a dietitian or health provider, anyone in a helper role listening to this, stop answering questions to give the right answer.” - Click Here To Tweet This
  • It is vital to provide context and ask additional questions to provide a thorough response to the questions people ask.

  • Sometimes, the best path to take when answering someone’s question is to provide a question of your own that leads them to more appropriate information.

  • Dietitians need to help people understand and think for themselves.

[33:19] Relationship with Movement

  • Remove the pressure that exercising is the only path to feeling better because of the results it provides, like fitting into clothes or taking pictures.

  • It’s ok to not have all the answers. Learn to realign yourself with nutrition experts and information.

  • Celebrate the you who decided to go out and improve yourself; movement itself is the reward.

  • Movement doesn't make you worthy. Exercise and incorporate movement into your day because you know you're worthy of being cared for.

[40:36] Finding Your Authentic Self

  • We sometimes commit the mistake of shrugging off our authentic selves.

  • Maria's journey to discovering her authentic self involved rediscovering what she enjoyed as a child.

  • Consider what the child version of yourself needs to hear.

  • Finding your authentic self can involve going back to who you were when you were very young.

[47:25] Maria’s Routine

  • Maria begins her day by devoting time to herself — if she has the time, space, and energy capacity.

  • If she doesn't get to do her morning routine first thing in the morning, she'll try to do it later in the day.

  • Create before you consume.

  • She makes it a point to take care of her body and relax at night.

Maria: “Because ultimately when we are in that work, work, work mode, we think: I can handle it. I can deal with it. What if you told yourself: I can deal with it and I also don't want to or I don't have to?” - Click Here To Tweet This

[54:26] This Week’s Processing Prompt

  • Consider what parts of your childhood you can bring back.

  • Processing Prompt: Who were you as a child before anyone told you who you were supposed to be?

  • Actionable Experiment: How can you make movement a reward itself?

About Maria

Maria Terry is a registered dietitian in New Orleans, LA. She was a former English teacher and school administrator before she changed her career to nutrition. Her goal as a dietitian is to guide you toward a better understanding of yourself and break through the all-or-nothing approach to what you eat.

Connect with Maria: Website | Instagram | LinkedIn

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Maria Terry: There are so many ways that I am not good enough, and I am not going to meet these standards that I never set. That allows a person, I think, to say, well, how am I going to take care of me? How am I going to deal with that?

Caitie Corradino: Welcome to Whole, Full and Alive, a podcast exploring the art and science of falling in love with your life, with your story and with who you truly are, underneath your titles, your resume, your relationship status, and your bank account.

I'm Caitie Corradino, a registered dietician nutritionist, certified fitness and yoga instructor, eating disorder recovery coach, Reiki healer, and founder of Full Soul Nutrition, but underneath my titles and resume, a big fan of kitchen dance breaks, early mornings, all things chocolate truffles, world traveling and serendipity. I'm here to share no bullshit stories and actionable tools to help you feel unshakably worthy. You have everything you need within you to feel whole, full and alive right here, right now. Let's get into it.

Hey, welcome back to another episode of Whole, Full and Alive whether it is your first episode, your tenth episode or your eighteenth episode, I am so damn grateful that you are here that you're tuning in that you and I got connected in some way shape or form and you are joining for this episode because it's going to be a really good one.

Before I dive into today's episode, I want to let you know that the whole full and alive toolkit is now available for purchase on my website This is a cluster of modules, journal prompts, experiments, all kinds of things that you can implement into your life today to start cultivating a sense of wholeness, fullness, and aliveness.

With this toolkit, you can focus on nervous system regulation, intuitive eating, energizing exercise, self esteem, self-worth, all kinds of things that we explore on this show in really specific and actionable ways that you can apply to your life, literally today. At first, I was calling the toolkit an online course. Every time I said online course, it didn't sit well with me. I was like, “Why doesn't it sit well with me to be calling this an online course?” I realized, because it's not an online course, yes, there are some videos that you can watch in this toolkit.

But it's not like a course, it's not like you're going to school and sitting down and taking notes and watching a bunch of lectures. It really is a big cluster of actionable experiments and journal prompts. And like kind of like the things I give you at the end of every podcast episode, but like a little juicier and a little more specific and organized in a super intentional way. So the toolkit is organized into three units: Wholeness, which focuses on nervous system regulation and self worth, Fullness, which focuses on intuitive eating and intentional nutrition and eating in a way that's energizing, sustainable and not restrictive. And then Aliveness, which is about intentional energy output.

So things like exercise and other actionable things that you might do that expend energy but ultimately help you feel more alive. So if you're interested in purchasing this whole full and alive toolkit, it's a great accompaniment to this podcast. And it's a great option for you if you're thinking about diving into one-on-one nutrition counseling, one-on-one wellness coaching, but you're not quite ready to take that full step or don't have the resources to take that step yet.

This toolkit is really going to give you a kickstart in focusing on your health and well being in a way that's intuitive, non-restrictive, truly sustainable and authentic to you. I'm so excited about this toolkit. We've gotten great feedback on it so far and I hope that it will serve you. So with that let's get into today's episode.

I have an incredible guest today. She is also a registered dietitian like me, her name is Maria Terry, and she is truly one of my favorite people on the internet. I hate saying that she lives off the internet too, she's also a human but she has the most amazing Instagram page @vitamin_ri. Please follow her. I am so thankful that I've known Maria for a while now because I have personally learned so much from this woman that you are about to meet.

Maria is a teacher turned dietitian so before she was a registered dietician, she worked in education, and boy you can tell because she is so good at breaking down pretty complex nutrition concepts into bite-sized, digestible, tangible nuggets that I think a lot of people can understand. Maria really beautifully combines her background and education, with her incredible sense of humor to provide amazing nutrition education, especially around fueling for an active lifestyle.

So people who like to lift and run marathons and do things like that, and also for people who are just trying to focus on their nutrition in an intentional way, without sliding back into the dieting mentality. So on today's episode, Maria is going to grace us with her wisdom, her beautiful way of explaining complex nutrition concepts, and also with her amazing sense of humor, and just big, big heart that I think you'll be able to hear come through in every single question she answers.

I am so grateful to have her on this show. Without any further ado, I'm just gonna dive right into my interview with the amazing Maria Terry. Maria, thank you. Maria, thank you so, so, so, so, so much for being here today.

Maria: I am so so excited and honored to be here with you, Caitie. Thank you for having me.

Caitie: I love talking to you. So let's get it started. The opening question for my guests is always who are you, and I love to hear about what you do in the world. Also, I love to know who you are, what are a few words you use to describe energy, personality? What's important to you?

Maria: Yeah, this is a big question. Who am I? My name is Maria Sylvester Terry. I'm a registered dietician. I'm a former English teacher and school administrator. I left my career for something that didn't have grading and mental turmoil, for me, and that meant talking about food with people. I didn't expect that it would be me talking about food and how it makes them feel and their parents and how they grew up and what their fears are on food.

I didn't see that coming, but I still welcome it, and it is exactly where I'm supposed to be. So I feel like I'm in my zone of genius as a dietitian. I also feel like it's hard running your own business. I'm a private practice dietitian. Pretty new to it, I'm in my first year, and it has been a roller coaster that I would get in line for every single day and ride it over and over and over again, but it’s still a roller coaster, kind of always wondering when you go upside down, am I gonna fall out of my seat, I know physics says I won’t.

It's a lot of trust in myself. So I'm still learning who I am on that journey in a way. When I think of things that are important to me, connection, I think, is the word that always comes to mind. I thrive when I connected to others. This conversation right now is the best way to start my day. Talking to clients, that's an incredible way for me to start my day. Having that connection comes a lot from being one of five children, so I'm from a big family with lots of cousins.

I really don't know a life where I'm not connected to people and laughing and having a good time with them, or even just being miserable together. Having connection means someone sees me and I see them, and who doesn't need that, who doesn't want that. That's what probably one of my biggest values, and it's ultimately why I left my job for private practice is to feel more connected with individuals.

I had to describe myself, I'd say I'm vibrant, even though I'm wearing a black sweater today. I'm otherwise very vibrant, very light hearted and empathetic.

Caitie: I really, really see you in all of that. You are such a connector. You're so genuine. The way that you show up even on social media, which is really hard place to be authentic in the way we connect with people, you're just right there. I feel like you're always talking to me. I feel like you're always talking to someone, and that's such a cool, cool thing about you. I'm not surprised that you come from big family.

I could definitely, definitely see that. So tell us a little bit more about what you do. What is your private practice focus on? What were you doing before that briefly?

Maria: Yeah, so my private practice focuses on folks' relationships with foods at a specific point. A lot of my clients are coming from already having done Intuitive Eating courses. They've kind of told themselves, I'm no longer dieting. I am not interested in being on that hamster wheel anymore. I don't know if I have the capacity or the knowledge or the practice with trusting myself around structure and having structure that doesn't feel restrictive.

That's sort of where I feel like I'm the bridge troll, like let me ask you these three riddles and see if you're ready to cross. I'm pulled a lot of people's hands going from I know these fears I have. I know these feelings I have around food aren't rooted in any reality other than the fear that I'm feeling right now. So I ask them the questions kind of bring them through to feel like I can eat vegetables on a regular basis and I'm not on a diet.

I can eat salads with salad dressing, and also if I want to order it on the side, because that's my preference, I'm not on a diet. So that is such a interesting group of people, but I find that there is so much need, and there's a little bit of a missed opportunity in the dietetic sphere right now of helping people, yes, unlearn dieting and also how do you feed yourself. My clients are in their 20s, or 30s, or 40s.

I work with clients in their 70s, and there's the same question or the same statement comes up, I can't believe I don't know how to eat. How did this happen? I thought I knew everything. A subset of my practice is also in person here in New Orleans at my gym, which is Crew Fitness, and so I work in the New Orleans community, with corporate wellness. I work with different hospitals.

I'll work with my clients there, so I also have this active population. So we're learning how to fuel. We're learning how to nourish our bodies for movement as recreational athletes so that we can also feel our best and focus on that longevity of our movement, but also our bodies in general.

Caitie: Good, good stuff. I mean, you know I love that, and it's definitely a big part of what I focus on my practice, too. I love how you are really owning the gap that you're filling, I think it's so important. It's hard to talk about structure without restriction because it's so easy to say something that can sound subtly restrictive and subtly diet-y, and you are just the queen of explaining things with such beautiful nuance.

I really, really appreciate that about you and your content, I think, it's so thoughtfully curated. You really do such a good job of helping people who are in that place, yeah, of wanting to find a little bit more structure with their nutrition who have totally fully let go of the dieting mentality. I think that's an important part because there are people who think they've let go of the dieting mentality, but they haven't, unfortunately.

I'm actually curious if you could speak to that for a moment. How does someone know when they've actually let go, or when they've pseudo let go of the dieting mentality? I'm not expecting a point blank answer to that question, obviously, bring on the nuance of whatever comes up for you.

Maria: I think it's a couple things. One is they've actually learned that it is far bigger than dieting and far larger than diet culture. It's rooted in white supremacy and systemic racism and ableism, like sexism, everything. It's so much bigger than what they think. I think when you can come to terms with that, verbal terms, mental terms, you can sit with it and recognize, wow, I didn't have a dog in this fight.

There are so many ways that I am not good enough, and I am not going to meet these standards that I never set. That allows a person, I think, to say, well, how am I going to take care of me? How am I going to deal with that? So sometimes, I get folks that come in with that clarity, and I think that helps. I also think it's a point of stuck and frustration and saying, I've done the thing, where I put cookies in my house for three months.

I've done the thing where I've eaten ice cream every single night, until my stomach hurt and I no longer want it. I hate going to the grocery store, so I'm not able to buy the food I feel like I should have, or that I want to have, dropping the shoulds, food I want to have in my house to nourish myself, because I'm afraid to go. I don't like being in the grocery store.

It reminds me of really bad times in my life, and having really strict about things following a whole 30 protocol, whatever it might be. So there's a point where they can see themselves and what they want to be and how they want to feel around food, but they feel stuck, because they're like, I am just going to keep eating the ice cream, and I don't want to. You know what, they don't have to.

I think that the lack of nuance on social media, I mean, that's also how content goes viral. That's also how people see content is when it is a little bit point blank period, right? It is just right there. Folks tend to think well, if I see a doughnut, I should eat it. Because if I turn it down, I'm dieting. You and I both know that's not what Intuitive Eating talks about. That's not what the principles are.

But the translation of it can sometimes leave us feeling like, huh, so I'd say it's the three. You recognize that this is a system far greater than yourself, and it's not an individual dieting issue. It's not just the thin ideal. You are stuck in your habits, and you feel like I know that there's a different way around this, and I'm just not sure how to get there. It might also just be total confusion.

What am I supposed to believe? How am I supposed to feel? Are you sure if I eat Greek yogurt that's plain and unsweetened that I am not on weightwatchers?

Caitie: Yeah. I really want to underline what you said about how it's not just the thin ideal. It's so important because so many people are like, well, I understand this concept of the thin ideal and how you know I shouldn't be aspiring to the thin body and all that, so why can't I let go of this. It's largely because of that. It's largely because this is a much larger systemic issue.

There are so many freaking layers to this, and we can't just sit here and be like eating disorders are all about the thin ideal.

Maria: Right, right.

Caitie: So yeah, thank you so much for addressing that in such an amazing, beautiful, organized way. So back to you. What is one unexpected challenge or obstacle that you faced in your life that kind of brought you to what you're doing today in work or your personal life or anything?

Maria: I'm sure I think I don't talk about this all the time, and I probably should, because I'd like to normalize or make more space for people to feel like these things happen. I did everything I was supposed to do. I went to school. I wore my uniform. For 16 years, I went to Catholic school. I graduated with honors. I did Teach For America with a teaching degree. If there was an overachiever, it was probably me, and I did a really great job as a teacher.

I was immediately ushered into administration, which is unfortunately what happens in charter schools. They take great teaching talent, and they pulled them out of the classroom. I hated it. They hated me. I told myself over and over and over again, you don't hate this. You can't leave these kids. A lot of savior complex problems here came up for me. In fact, I feel like I drank that Kool Aid. I chugged it.

If there was a beer hat with Kool Aid and the straw, if it could have been a Camelback, it would have been on me. I felt like I was doing what I was supposed to be doing, and my body said no. I had a full throttle anxiety, like full body anxiety takeover, and it took months and months and months for it to manifest into something, but I was in a really dark place.

Something really unexpected that got me where I am is that place is April 18, 2016. I'll never forget that day in my life, where everything was not important anymore. My health mattered, and it mattered because that didn't happen anymore.

Caitie: Yeah.

Maria: When you realize that health is so much more than like all the diets you're on and all the running that I did and all the boxing I did, it didn't matter, and that's a heavy, heavy note to share on a podcast where you're like, I love you. This is fun. The truth is you're allowed to hit these points in your life when you're 25, 26 or 45, or 56, when you realize it's not worth it anymore, the work, the stress, the expectations, the misalignment. It just wasn't.

I couldn't do it anymore, and my body said no. I would recommend that if you are in a place where you are turning off those body communication moments, they will get loud one day. They will come, and they will find a way for you to hear them and see them. It was so unexpected to just be so incapacitated by my own anxiety, unable to leave the house, unable to talk to people, couldn't go to my job.

I was a highly, highly motivated, successful and energized person, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. It can happen to anybody. It's not just like you’re a nervous friend or you’re an anxious parent. Anyone can work themselves to a point where their body says absolutely not. You're staying home. You're gonna figure something out. So getting where I am today came from a place of deep, deep, deep care for my body and deep respect for like, you know what, you are right.

My insights were right. Not my most eloquent answer, because again, this isn't like a fully processed piece I share a podcast, but I share it for you because I know this is a place where I can do that, and I appreciate that.

Caitie: Thank you. Yeah, this podcast really is all about both sides of the coin, really. What do you need to feel deeply on one end of the spectrum so that you're able to feel something else on the other end of the spectrum just like being fully alive. I really appreciate you sharing that because it's something that I admire so much about you is how authentic and inviting and aligned you seem to be in what you're doing right now.

It's so important to know that that didn't come easy for you, that wasn't something that you just have been aligned and energized for your whole life, and you just had this beautiful, easy transition from teaching to dietetics. You just don't know what someone's been through when you look at them kind of on the surface and no one would have ever guessed.

I think that you really went through a lot of pain at the end of your teaching career, even though there are a lot of things that you loved about it, right, like the nuance. You did really love serving kids in a lot of ways, and I know some of it seems to have been rooted in some things you were working on internally, but also I'm sure you did genuinely love it in a lot of ways.

Maria: I did, I did.

Caitie: The nuance there is something that someone would never see unless you share it, and I'm so thankful that you did share that.

Maria: Thanks. Yeah, it’s my pleasure. I think we sometimes just call it burnout, or like you’re burnout. It's like, no, I grieved.

Caitie: Right.

Maria: Leaving my career was so hard. It was just heartbreaking. I get a lot of questions like, was that worth it? I'm a teacher, and I want to be a dietitian now. It's like, well, I mean, I don't know, that's just one hard place to another hard place.

Caitie: Yeah.

Maria: The alignment is where it really has to matter and how you show up for yourself. I feel like if I wouldn't have carpentry, I'd still run into the issue of wanting to work my fingers to the bone like, the hardest working carpenter. They're unlearning urgency and unlearning perfectionism, which I'll never do, but I'm endlessly going to try. That's all part of it. So that was also a big deal for me.

Caitie: Unlearning urgency, I feel like I want to change the name of the podcast to that. That is what I want for all of the beautiful people who listen to this podcast, or myself, too. I'm on that lifelong journey as well. I totally get that. I have so many more things I want to ask you in our limited time together. But before we move away from this, I do want to ask.

You said you re-learn to take care of yourself and really show up for your body as you were kind of recovering from that burnout, which was true burnout, not like casual buzzword burnout. You really were feeling so anxious and burned out. What were some things that you did to kind of crawl your way out of that and move towards a new career?

Because I think there are a lot of people listening to this whose bodies are telling them to get out of their current job, and they're like, well, what would that even look like if I were to move forward with that?

Maria: Yeah, I was very lucky to have already been in an administrative position where my salary was the highest it had ever been in my life. I've never seen money like that. Okay. So I like very logistically took time off. I had a lot. I never took a day off. So I had years of PTO, and I also had short term disability, and was able to utilize about two to three months of time, and then I was able to resign from my job in June.

So I took some time. At the very beginning, it was like I asked my parents to drive me places if I needed to go somewhere. I got all of my appointments in. I started doing the little things like going to the dentist. I went to the gynecologist. I went to the eye doctor. I went to all these places I hadn't been in years because they didn't matter.

As long as I had teeth and eyeballs, why do I need to go spend time to check on them? I have them. It's fine. Spoiler alert, it was not fine.

Caitie: Yeah.

Maria: It's not good. So I did a little things. I asked for help. I went on my honeymoon because of course, this was all happening in the first six months of my marriage, let’s just lay that in. So we went on our honeymoon, which was a beautiful, beautiful trip in Europe, and I felt like I was finally myself again. So about two, three months later, I was like, okay, I'm coming into who I remember myself to be.

I was a yoga teacher in college and in the early start of my teaching career, and I went back to recertify. So I took some of the money that I had saved and put it into a teacher cert and in a make that price even cheaper. I worked at a studio, so I did like an energy exchange and being in that place where I was really asked to show up authentically. Practice is really what served me best. So yoga was a huge part of my healing journey.

I was in a studio where the owners were just absolutely incredible, and they were respectful of yoga. They saw yoga for larger than movement and larger than a studio cash cow, really believed in the full, all the limbs of yoga. So that really supported me and then that gave me some time to recalibrate what do I want to do, where do I want to be. I know I want to be in a helper role. What does that look like?

So in a lot of ways, taking care of myself look like these little tiny steps of doing the things, the little annoying things I was ignoring, and then also taking time to sitting in my own discomfort, sitting in a lot of tears, go to a lot of walks and just suddenly crying and not knowing why, realizing I just had been through it.

I haven't really been through it and not being afraid to talk about it, not being afraid to call all my friends I hadn't spoke to in months because I was too busy to talk to them, and tell them where I was without shame because I felt very bad for not being there for them as friends as a friend to them. That has served me really well.

Caitie: I love that you mentioned going to the dentist first like yeah, it is the little thing. I think people are like oh you need a bubble bath with lavender petals thing and all these things. Healing from burnout looks like really starting from the ground up, building a strong foundation for yourself and making sure you're checking on yourself in the most basic and simple and boring of ways. I really appreciate that you started there.

Maria: I feel like I left something out and it feels like a lie if I don't tell you.

Caitie: Oh my gosh, do it.

Maria: So there was something I did before all of that.

Caitie: Okay.

Maria: I know you've heard part of the story before. I downloaded some Australian influencers, sugar, adrenal detox. I was like, here I go again, with my bullshit. We hit the grocery store and bought all these weird items that now, chemically, I know, aresugar.

Caitie: Yeah, yeah.

Maria: Yeah, I drank Epsom salt, because I thought that was on the agenda. That was on the list. I was like, okay, magnesium, that makes sense. Magnesium is great. Then I got through like three days of it, and I was like, you better get it together, because this isn't it. So I feel like sharing that because I also want to name that I was just like, baby girl, go to the dentist.

It was like, oh, there are products you can buy to make you feel better, and I just want to make a lot of space for that. Yes, even someone who became a dietician, five years after that moment. Yeah, I've been there.

Caitie: So good. Thank you so much for sharing. Yeah, and it's like, there are so many moments where you've embraced intuitive eating, let go of dieting, but then there's something that just like pulls you back in. You're like, oh, wait, maybe this and then it's like, oh, wait, no, that's not it at all. Yeah, having that little blip is so normal, where you go back into the black and white for a second and then reenter the gray.

Maria: Yeah.

Caitie: So I guess speaking of the gray area, like I said, I think you really are the queen of answering hard hitting nutrition questions with so much nuance, and also humor and also compassion. I would love to hear, how do you do this? When someone asks you a question, it's so straightforward. Should I drink Epsom salts? Do I need Epsom salts? Is added sugar bad for you?

These are the questions we get all the time as dietitian. When you tell the Uber driver, you’re dietician, or your uncle, you’re dietician, or like whatever, people are just like, oh, intermittent fasting, what should I do about that? How do you go about breaking down something like that in your content?

Maria: Whoo. When I saw this was a question, maybe we'll talk about how. How? I just wake up, that's just who I am, but that's actually not true. I definitely was a person who would just give the information I knew off the top my head and say, I'm saying this because it's right. If you're a dietician or health provider, anyone in a helper role listening to this, stop answering questions to give the right answer, because that is the pitfall of losing nuance, right?

Right there is like you want to be right. You want to tell that cab driver that intermittent fasting is going to just destroy his relationship with food, like whether or not that's true doesn't matter. The person's asking you a question, because they have a concern, a fear or a curiosity, and it is your role to help them peel those onion layers back. So very infrequently, do I actually answer a question automatically

I often either provide context, like why this thing exists. Why is intermittent fasting a thing?

Why was keto ever a thing? Were you aware of where this came from? Are you aware that protein is more than muscle recovery, right? It's transportation of nutrients. Do you know the basics? Okay, great. The other way I go about it is asking more questions back. So on Instagram, I will actually reply to the person and say, I have these other questions for you first, which is like, is that a lot of labor? Sure.

But I refuse to answer questions without having the information I need to give it my best go, that doesn't mean it's gonna be right. It's not going to be right for every person. So I try to give as much context as I can or gather as much context as I can, so that I can answer wholesomely. Hey, if I'm wrong for you, I have people who will message me and say, well, this doesn't work for me, and I said, that's amazing that you know that. That is a gift.

But as dietitians, we tend to like this is my field. There's so much gatekeeping around nutrition information. It can't be like that. People know their bodies. People know their food. People know their cultures. We can't go into things saying, well, I'm the right person. I'm the expert. I see a lot of new dieticians lean on that. Well, I'm the nutrition expert. Spoiler alert, you're not the expert on the person who asked that question.

Caitie: Yeah.

Maria: So trying to gather more information. I also think what might that person like leave, need, leave it like need to leave that conversation with. Maybe they need a question or some exploration more than they need the answer that keto is bad for you.

Caitie: Yeah.

Maria: Oh, no, I'm not sure I might say, it sounds like you're concerned about your blood sugar. I'm hearing that, and that's such a great thing for you to be thinking about. I might first look and see, how's your fiber intake? Do you eat meals throughout the day? Maybe I'd start there. If you have any questions, there's probably dieticians in your area. You can look them up on your insurance company website.

I try to give them a really solid next step, something to do, because all they're going to say is if you say, oh, this was bad for you. This is good for you. Yeah, added sugar, don't worry about it. It's not bad for you. Is there gonna end up saying a dietitian told me X, a dietitian told me Y instead of a dietician taught me how to maybe think for myself, so that I can process this information.

So that's really my end all goal with answering questions. So again, it isn't just me. When I first thought of I was like, it’s just who I am. I'm very thorough, and it's like, no, this is what happens when you teach middle schoolers.

Caitie: Yeah.

Maria: You learned to dig a little bit first.

Caitie: Yeah. Yeah, I love how you're so clearly integrating your past lives, what you do right now, teaching middle schoolers. Then also, when I first connected with you, your account was a yoga account. It was just so funny to see how much that's transformed, like, so cool.

But, yeah, I can see the ways in which you're integrating skills from those past careers into your work as a dietitian, and thank God. Thank God, we have dieticians that have had past careers, because I feel like a lot of our training is like, oh, you are the nutrition expert. That's why people are like this, right, because that's what's drilled into our brains.

Maria: Yes.

Caitie: When people feel obligated to be like, well, here's why you need to have more than 30 grams of carbs per day, and here's the science behind it, and here's what it does to your brain. Here's what it does to your body. When really what people need is just that question turned like, oh, why are you asking that? I noticed that yesterday. I was recording a Q&A podcast with questions that I got from Instagram, and someone asked, what do you think about this detox tea, and they linked it.

I just like went on a roll talking about why you don't need these products, but then I was like, wait a second, why do you want to detox? Why do you feel like you need to detox? So I went on this whole rant, and then at the end, I was like, wait a second, this is actually the most important thing. Let me circle back, and I wish that I could edit the podcast, but I have that other question first. But it was interesting, because I just had a realization like that yesterday.

Maria: Nice job. That's beautiful.

Caitie: Thank you just throwing gas on my own fire. You also, on your Instagram, talk openly about your relationship with strength training and running, and I sent it to clients because I love it so much. What tools help you navigate your relationship with these activities, which are both notoriously about tracking and pushing yourself and results?

I think there's definitely a lack of people on Instagram who talk about running and strength training with a non diet lens. So I would love to hear just like a few things that you try to incorporate into that content.

Maria: Yeah, with running, a little context is that while I was in my teaching days, my coping skill, my sole coping skill was running, and I felt very firmly if I wasn't training for a race, I wouldn't run. I didn't trust myself to do it for fun or do it for enjoyment, so it had a lot of pressure.

So one element of my relationship with movement that has significantly been, I would say the biggest helper is removing the pressure for exercise to be the thing, capital T, capital T, the thing that's gonna make me feel better, the thing that's gonna make me fit my clothes, the thing that's gonna give me worth, the thing that's going to make me have a great picture to work out to share on the internet, or even the thing that will connect me with others.

I was in running groups. Again, I love connection. I would rely on movement to bring me to people instead of saying like, well, what if I had hobbies. So removing the pressure of it being the end-all be-all was crucial. My relationship with running was really tormented and fueled a lot of disordered thinking around movement and food? We’ll layer in Whole 30. And, you know, paleo that was sort of the era for me of when I was in that place.

I also was doing it sort of backwards. I really wasn't doing it thoughtfully. I started to realize it was okay if I didn't have the answers. So I started hiring people. Later in life when I had money to do so I hired someone to be a personal trainer, even in the pandemic, just I really want to work on my deadlift. I just wanted this big, big, big, hairy, scary goal. He said, Yeah,

I can help you do that non diet trainer, he is a non diet trainer. And it was just so thoughtful and nice to have someone speak the language and give me the correct information for my body. Because all I was doing was hitting up the Google machine, I was following all the accounts on early 2012 Instagram that were like bodybuilding accounts. And learning that like nutrition for running, nutrition for strength training, nutrition for triathletes: all very different.

Important, they're all rooted in the idea that you need to eat more than enough. And I was just constantly chasing the weight loss wheel. So I had to also realign myself with people, actual experts, and information. And then I'm going to steal a little piece from the Nike Run Club app. I highly recommend that guided runs are so great, really. I have not run in four months without a guided run. Wow. Unless I was with like buddies and just it was a chatty conversational run. I have flourished because of their mindset pieces.

One thing Coach Bennett says he's like the Ted Lasso of running. Imagine Ted Lasso in your ear. He says, “Stop celebrating the person at the end of the run. Are you thinking about the person the end of the race you're training for? Are you thinking about the person who walks in your house all sweaty, having done the run? Right now celebrate the person who started thinking about the person that walked out of your house, that put your shoes on that got you ready, that's the person to celebrate.”

I could cry, just saying it is the single most important thing that I've ever heard for my relationship with movement. And strength training was my way out of that not-so-great running headspace. So in so many ways, strength training, what like it wasn't about tracking, it wasn't about these big, heavy pushes to like be better, better, better, better, better. It was more like, “Whoa, look what you can do.”

So I didn't have that relationship with strength training, because it really was the thing I knew I needed. It was like my way out. But in order to re-embrace running, which I have loved. It’s the movement that I love. I had to celebrate the person who said do you want to go on a run today? Not the person that said you did it, you went for a run now you're gonna have a doughnut. And while I was on a run this morning, I was thinking of you. I also took the reward out of the process, like I made the reward in the process.

The fun is the run, the fun is the movement, not what I'm doing after, because that's also a little, it's always about “I”ll run, and then I'll go to brunch. I'll go to CrossFit. And then I'll hang out with my friends and drink at the bar next door.” We have a bar next door. Yeah, it's amazing. It is what it is. Great for gym happy hours. But it also can be turbulent to say, I'm gonna earn. I'm gonna really go through this grueling activity so I can have my fun. Like, it might not always feel easy. I did not say it was gonna feel easy. It can still be fun. It can still be amazing. Say, well, look at me go. So those would be like the main pillars, I think.

Caitie: Yes, taking the pressure off: huge. And I love that mindset shift of you're worthy of being celebrated before you get to the end, like that person who before even went on the run was already worthy. That's something I love to emphasize when I'm helping people explore their relationship with movement. Movement is not something you use to become more worthy. It's something that you do because you know you're worthy, and you want to take care of yourself.

Not when you're done with it, you become more worthy. So that mindset shift is everything. And I love that. And I'm so excited to do the guided runs and training. It's been a new thing for me that I'm trying to, like, explore my relationship with a little bit; actually haven't dove back into running since my more disordered days. So this is like new for me. And it's your contents serving me right now. Wow,

Maria: I didn't know that. It makes it all the more special. It was so funny when I was in grad school, your content was serving me because I'm like, look at this amazing dietitian who's a yoga teacher who likes to do all the things I want to do. And then when I passed the exam, it was like oh, like I feel like in so many ways, my journey, I looked up to you and it's like a wow, it's really special for me to hear that.

Caitie: Yeah. Oh my gosh, that is so special. And you just never know. You just literally never know. You really don't know. You know, it's numbers and likes and comments and engagement. It just says nothing. It says nothing about the impact that you can have on someone by existing and that is a beautiful segue into my last question for you.

One of the things that inspires me so much about you is how you're so consistently yourself. You really never get like you never like put on a white coat and you're like okay, so like, let's go into the science now and be like really professional like, you're just like there. And I'm curious, how do you help yourself stay in that more loose and authentic place? Because I know that being yourself is about just being, right?

To an extent, there isn't a guidebook for how we can be ourselves. Most of it is just about being but there's definitely so many blocks we all face when we try to stay in authenticity. And I'm curious, when you face those blocks, how do you navigate them? I think that would be so helpful for people to hear.

Maria: Finding my authentic self has a lot to do with going back to who I was as a kid, because I think that she definitely knew she was. And I specifically really struggled when I moved to New Orleans, not immediately, I loved living here. And then I realized there was a whole different version of myself just like waiting for me here. And it was me as a kid. Like it was just like, playful, costumed, silly, loud, sometimes obnoxious. Always dancing.

Like, I've been like, holding back this tear in my eye the whole time. And I think, like, to my right is a costume closet. And we're building a house here, we're so excited and like having a space for trying on costumes and like, where am I gonna put on my crazy fun stuff? Yeah, I kind of realized and also I will say that was the version of myself as a kid. When I was in those places, those times, eight, nine, ten years old, I hated myself. Hmm. hated, hated, hated it.

I do love therapy, I'm gonna do a therapy plug. And my therapist has been probably the, one of the most supportive people in my change to find who I am, which aka is like, changed, you go back to I always was, and a lot of it comes back to like, what did that child version of myself need to hear that I remember these memories of being in the car and looking down on my legs and being like, my sisters legs don't look like that. My mom's dead legs don't look like that. Like, I have big legs.

I remember having these painful, painful memories of like, you are different. Your body is different. You don't fit in, you know, it was strange, like from seventh to eighth grade, I was like missing a whole tooth. Like it just I would, it was just strange. Like it just didn't come in. And I just had these awkwardnesses and what I needed was a lot of love, and a lot of acceptance and a lot of silliness, and a lot of play. And I very much was like, I'm running for student government again. I feel like I was like Lindsey Graham serious.

In my twenties, I'm just like, I've got to do it right. And the ways like, I'm a little high pitched into high strung. And as I've come into my thirties, I realized there is a whole person in me that I've turned off, because I thought she was too annoying, too awkward. Her body wasn't good enough, too colorful, too silly. And I'm like, that person is who I am. So when you see me show up on Instagram, like that is me, like really honestly, reminding myself like, this is the dream I always wanted, which was like to be on Saturday Night Live. Have an audience and be silly and be a performer. And like, I love that. I think that's probably what drew me to teaching as well.

I don't have any tools. I don't have a guide book. But what I could say, that might serve some of you is think about when you were a kid, and you were a very vibrant if you have this memory, a very vibrant version of yourself. And maybe that person didn't feel accepted or wanted or needed or love. And I did feel that for my family, but like outside world, not so much. And what does that person need to hear? And can we take her out on a date? Can we put her in a Mardi Gras parade and see how she flies?

Like, that's been so wonderful for me to like, experience that version of myself again. Yeah, there used to be a photo that I resented — a dance photo and a costume. And I would hide it from myself. I never wanted to see it. And I actually did like an inner child journal piece on it, like talking to this photo. And like ever since then, things have been really different for me. Like, oh, I'm gonna keep that in mind. Like, I need to be softer and sweeter to that first like physical version of myself.

Caitie: Oh, my gosh, that's so great. That's a tangible tool.

Maria: Yeah, just sweet.

Caitie: Yeah, yeah. I thought you said wait, I was like, there's more? No, that is such a tangible tool. I think you know, you're like I don't really know what to say. But I feel like that's a really beautiful takeaway and you know, for some people I can speak also for myself, in order to remember a time where I really was like authentic and truly myself, I do have to go way back like because of some weird stuff that happened to me in my childhood. I like the last time I can remember feeling really like myself is like, ah, like three or four.

But when I think about that, I'm like, who was I age three and four? And there's like videos of me singing and dancing. Yeah, and it's just, it's such a beautiful thing to think about. I think you also bring such a lightness to the whole situation as well. Because I think sometimes when people are like, Well, what does my inner child need?

They’re like, she needs to be like, cuddled and nurtured and told that she's worthy and valuable. And she can be the first female president and like, sometimes she just needs play and fun and lightness. You're so right. And that's such an important perspective to bring to this inner child situation.

Maria: Yes. When I was in eighth grade, you had to draw a picture of yourself in the future. Yeah, I was the first. It was like me and a pantsuit. And everyone made fun of me like, like, of course, that's what you did. Yeah. And like, man to like, hang that up and say, I don't need to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. I don’t need to be this serious, but I think that seriousness protected me aligned me with adults. I was very “mature” for my age, like all of these things. And it's like, yeah, well, now I want to be immature for my age. I want to be playful, fun, silly.

Caitie: Yeah. Oh, that's it. Yeah, she didn't like that's not what your inner child needed. Your inner child didn't need the illustration of you being the first female president, your inner child, more, more fun, more play and to be a child

Maria: I represent that.

Caitie: I can talk to you all day. I love connecting with you. So my last question for all my guests is related to morning routines and evening routines. So I love reclaiming morning routines and evening routines. Because I think how you book and your day really matters.

And also, it's gotten way out of hand, way out of hand. Got the 25 step morning routine that starts before the crack of ass. And we're like, okay, we've got to do like five lemon water cleanse. And so I love to ask real people: what energizes you in the morning and what grounds you in the evening, when you have space availability and energy to do it?

Maria: I like that little caveat at the end, because sometimes I go to bed with a full face of makeup. And then I'm in my running clothes for like 14 hours. When I have the time, space, energy capacity, I have a couple things I really like to do. So first thing in the morning, I get up, I play with dogs just play. I connect my music to my speaker and I have my morning, it doesn't matter if it's five minutes or 15 minutes or 45 minutes. I have a morning. I have a time.

I open up the door. So that I know I have morning and I also have a mid morning. And that part has been helpful for me to know if I don't get my morning routine. And now maybe at 11 I will. So kind of blurring the lines there. But I get up. I have some sort of water like you know, fun drink like an electrolyte drink depends on what I have going on. Water first coffee, second, I make breakfast, whatever that might look like it could look like waffles. It could look like a big diner breakfast — whatever I have the time for — and I go outside.

I have had always begged my husband like we need outside furniture. And by the time we would finally make the call it would be too hot and then hurricane season and we don't really have a lot of storage to put furniture out. So we settled on two chairs they got me for Christmas last year. And I just go out and sit in my chair. Big comfy blue chair, and I just sit in it and watch the dogs play fetch. And I have that moment.

Again, sometimes that happens at 11. Like I'll have clients and then I'll do it. But that's been really important to me. It's having this almost like a plant moment like I need to water, fertilize, and get some sun. And that's been really important for just everything. Just starting the day. My old boss used to say create before you consume. And I loved that because I used to just consume social media. I like me to create my morning and I am indebted to her for that statement.

At nighttime, I married to a teacher; Caleb is still a teacher. So we are sometimes working at ten o'clock and sometimes we are falling asleep at nine and we've no idea how we got there. But generally speaking for me, like my skincare routine has been an anchor, because it means like, okay, the next two minutes of your life, you're going to do the most annoying thing, which is taking care of your skin and you don't want to do that. But it's gonna feel really good, I should say and it's going to feel really good when it's over.

So I get in the bathroom and I treat my skin like luxury doesn't mean- it’s not expensive, like not high end stuff. But just taking care of my skin, moisturizing. Brush my hair, take my hair tie out, like let myself relax. I turn on my air purifier. You can hear I'm a very nasally person. And I changed my pillowcase. Such a funny thing, but I have a lot of pillowcases and I change it almost every night.

Caitie: Wow. Nice. Yeah, that's new. That's new. I like that one.

Maria: It comes from necessity because I I learned I was allergic to my dogs. And I was getting- do you remember when I posted pictures of my lips swelling like a Kardashian, I eventually found that I was pretty allergic to my dogs. So I also do my allergy medication. And then I turned my air purifier on, I changed my pillowcase so I can ensure yes, it's a nice clean and happy smelling pillowcase. And no dog hair.

Caitie: Yeah, it just sounds like such a simple little thing that you can do to remind yourself that you're worthy of being taken care of, you know, if I had a client who was allergic their dogs, I'd probably tell them to change their pillowcase to and they'd be like, “Oh, that's such a pain. I don't want to do that. Like I don't need to do that.” And it's like you're, you're kind of worthy of that though, you're worthy of having a new pillowcase every night.

You're worthy of having a moment where you take your hair tie out and just let yourself breathe and relax and put some moisturizer on your face. Those little moments are moments that I know I didn't let myself have when I was addicted to work. I just remember the first time I actually washed my face and took out my hair tie in like brushed my hair and like let myself be in the bathroom and stillness. I was like, “What is this? Like? Whoa.” All my thoughts are catching up to me all of a sudden.

Giving yourself that space just allows you to see hey, where am I at? What do I need? What am I thinking about? What's on my mind? A lot of people don't even give themselves the opportunity to just do that be in that incubator with themselves? I think that's really beautiful.

Marie: Yeah, yeah, it's special. And it's possible. Like it for you I addicted to work is a phrase, I feel like, unfortunately resonated would resonate with me now. And in previous times of my life now is much better. Because I love my work and it loves me. It's also important to know that we are just kind of like brushing things under the rug. Like I have horrifically painful hormonal acne on my chin, that comes in flows with the seasons of the month, right, like that’s just what it does.

Taking care of my skin is like babying an injury sometimes. Right and just saying like, I don't need to, like, grit my teeth and bear it like I can take care of myself. Because ultimately when we are in that work, work, work work work mode. We think I can handle it. I can handle it. I can deal with it. What if you told yourself I can deal with it and I also don't want to or I don't have to?

Caitie: What a beautiful way to wrap up and yes, painful hormonal acne on the chin.

Maria: Yeah. Oh my God, not a good time.

Caitie: Especially with long hair. It just gets- it's the worst. And it is not about anti-aging. It's not about like, Oh, I like it. I think so many people are like, Oh, this is how I stay young. This is how I look like Gwyneth Paltrow. No, this is how I get rid of this painful thing on my feet. I don't have to grin and bear. Yeah. So awesome. Thank you so much for being here. Can you please just briefly know we're really getting down to the wire here. Tell everyone where they can connect with you and how you want people to connect with you and how you want them to maybe work with you if they love your energy like I do.

Maria: Yeah, of course. So you probably if you know me, you know me from Instagram, @vitamin_ri is my handle. You can also reach out to me via that platform to see how to work with me, the coaching programs I offer. I'm offering courses in 2023 doing one in beta right now. And it is just so much fun to be teaching again. So that's really where I'm going to lean in this upcoming year and sharing that gift I love with you. So courses for sure.

If you're in New Orleans ever, you want to hear some recommendations, you want to meet up you want to go somewhere fun, send me a message. But I'd say Instagram is a great way to connect with me. I also have podcasts myself now with my dear friend Lauren Lavelle that's called Rest Days. And we talk a lot about routines and breaking out of all or nothing thinking.

Caitie: So good. So good. I can't wait to tune into that.

Maria: All right, I had a good time.

Caitie: Thank you so much for being here. Okay, so now that you just heard from the amazing Maria Terry, let's go through your processing prompts and your actionable experiment for this week. So based off of the amazing inspiration that Maria gave us, let's say that our processing prompts for this week, which again, you can do in a journal, or you can process out loud with a friend or a therapist or anybody or you can just just think about just think about it for a minute.

The processing prompt for this week is based off of that amazing little nugget Maria shared about connecting with her inner child or not her inner child. I don't like saying inner child; stuff like that intimidates people. Maybe just thinking about you, when you were a child, thinking about yourself, when you had no exposure to other people's opinions when no one else told you who you were supposed to be. And you had this ability to kind of just be yourself in an unfiltered way, who were you in that time? Who were you as a child? And what can that teach you about accessing your most authentic self right now?

So who were you when you were a kid? Or the last time that you can remember being just like fully expressed and authentic? And for some of us, that might be a lot younger? Some of us that might be like, when you were 12? What can that version of yourself teach you about who you authentically are now? And what little pieces of your authenticity might you have lost touch with? And can you get back in touch with them?

Like Maria was saying that she loved dressing up in costumes, and now she just like fully does that for Mardi Gras, and like, goes to town on it? And that's amazing. What pieces of your child's self can you bring back?

And then an actionable experiment: What is one way that you can make working out or moving the reward in and of itself? So not when you're done with the workout, but the workout gets to be the reward, the workout gets to be fun? What's one way that you can make your movement more fun?

Is it getting something like the Nike running app, so that you have Ted Lasso-style inspiration in your ear while you're running? Is it taking some time to curate playlists that you love that you're really excited about that you can listen to while you're moving your body while you're stretching or running or just dancing around your apartment, whatever it is, whatever your movement style of choice is.

Is it getting a buddy to workout with you? What is something that's going to make the workout the reward in and of itself, not just the end of the workout. And with that we are going to wrap up for today. If you enjoyed this show, please don't forget to leave a five star rating. It means a lot and it really helps more people hear the messages of the show. And also if there was an idea shared on the show that really spoke to you, that was really inspiring to you, share it with somebody else, just tell somebody else. Doesn't even have to be about this show. Just tell them about what you learned from it. And, you know, inspiration is even better and even more cemented and solidified when shared.

So I encourage you to share something that resonated with you with someone in your life. I hope you have a peaceful rest of your week. And I will see you back here again soon.


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