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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