Wow! How time has flown. It’s already been a few months since Positively Nourishing Nutrition Consulting officially re-opened and what a great time it’s been! I’ve felt so happy to be flexing my writing muscles again after way too long. I’ve gotten to learn more and more about what it is you need help with, your challenges, the things that you struggle with. I’ve improved so many systems that will better serve you through your journey. And I have soooooo much more I’m planning and dreaming about! But baby steps …
You may be wondering how I’ve gained the tools that can help you navigate the confusing world of nutrition. How I can help you regain confidence and certainty about your eating and food choices.
Today I wanted to take a step back to introduce myself a little more and to share with you how Positively Nourishing Nutrition Consulting came to be, in honour of Dietitians’ Day today.
Let’s start at the beginning
Born and raised on the Canadian prairies, I learned about cooking, food preservation and the many roles of food from an early age. Combining my deep-rooted love of all things Home Ec with a degree in Human Nutritional Sciences started my journey to becoming a Registered Dietitian.
My Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Manitoba both ignited and corralled my curious brain. I have more questions than I could possibly ever answer, more things I want to learn about than I could possibly ever have time (or energy!) to. But a this degree helped me learn how to use that curiosity in a good way. I learned how to question critically, how to find evidence-based answers and how to communicate them to different people in a way that would make the most sense to them.
After the U of M, I completed my 10-month Dietetic Internship in Manitoba with focuses on mental health and community nutrition. Throughout my degree, community nutrition seemed like a natural fit for me. That’s how I came to have the privilege of spending 6 weeks in a remote fly-in community in Nunavut. Internship in general has a way of imprinting itself forever in an intern’s brain, though this special opportunity was especially life-changing for me as a person.
My work in community nutrition didn’t have a chance to continue though as life took me to Ontario soon after completing internship. Enter the race to get a job (especially after 4 years of tuition and almost a year of unpaid internship)!
First role as a ‘real’ Dietitian
As luck would have it, I got my first position at a long term care home (aka nursing home). I’ve loved working with and talking to older adults my whole life and this sounded great to me! At first, I’ll be honest, it wasn’t what I expected. It was busy and I wasn’t able to talk to the residents as much as I thought I’d be able to, especially when I was just starting in this role.
But over time, I grew to love and appreciate it. I got to develop relationships – with residents and with their loved ones. We got to work together, try things, tweak the plan, check back in. Then repeat as needed until we saw the results we were looking for. I knew the residents by name and face. We chatted about food of course, but also about living in war-time England, the family farm, moving to Canada and about how “they just don’t make ’em like they used to”.
I found long term care both challenging and rewarding. I usually didn’t have to be the ‘food police’ and if anything, I needed to speak up so other people wouldn’t be either! I got to work with individuals who wanted to live their best life no matter what their circumstances were now.
The people I worked with often had chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease and/or other age-related concerns … in any combination! Talk about making a customized plan. There are no black and white ways to go about creating a balance between medical advice and a person’s own wishes, especially given all the factors at play during this time of life. Striving to keep quality of life in someone’s plan of care is something I continue to value regardless of my client’s age or stage of health.
During my time in Ontario, long term care work was my constant over 8 years. But I was fortunate to also have other opportunities that continued to feed my curious brain and allowed me to work with a variety of other groups of people. Which ultimately led to where I am now!
I continued to make learning a priority and became a Certified Diabetes Educator, allowing me to be more effective in helping people manage their diabetes and/or complications that may have developed.
I also trained with the Craving ChangeTM program. This has been a particularly enjoyable and beneficial program to offer clients! It’s so full of strategies to help people struggling with their eating. We explore the reasons why we eat, become more aware of our eating triggers and then learn how to effectively deal with these triggers. (Here’s how Craving ChangeTM explains this program). HINT: There’ll be more about how I will be offering this program again for clients in the near future! But, you’re probably going to want to become an Email List Member so you can get insider updates and exclusive offers for this one!
One career highlight though was creating and providing nutrition counselling sessions with adults as part of a research study. The researchers were looking into a medication to help with weight loss in adults with sleep apnea. Although I had many memorable moments in that position, one that sticks out for me was when a client told me (in a surprised tone) that the nutrition section of the experience quickly became his favourite.
This was around the same time that I started seeing clients in a private practice setting. As much as I loved working with seniors, it felt completely refreshing and invigorating to work with people in this way. People who had ‘now’ problems, things we could change in order to prevent worse things from happening. Who had busy lives, families, commitments and a lot more choices to make each day. I had caught the bug for private nutrition coaching and it never left!
A time for pause and reflection
However, as it usually does, life happened and I chose to put private work on hold … though it never left my mind! With news of a little one on the way, it just wasn’t possible to keep the schedule I had built between long term care and private work.
During my time away from my job, I found myself itching to get back into private practice work. I spent so much time thinking of all the different things I could do, who I could work with, how I could make a difference for people. It felt very daunting from that perspective.
Then one day it came to me. Why exactly was I fighting myself with this? Since the beginning, I knew I was best suited to work with adults. I had already spent the majority of my dietitian career working in, and loving, the area of nutrition and aging. I already had the tools to help manage chronic diseases and age-related health concerns. I get satisfaction from work with someone to develop a plan that really works for them and their lifestyle. I take pride in honouring each person’s ideas about what quality of life looks like for them. I feel rewarded when I can share tips and tricks and see that ‘a-ha!’ moment happen before my eyes.
And there is a serious need for healthcare options for people as they age and a stronger system to keep people in their own homes longer. There has simply been not enough healthcare professionals who’ve made a commitment to the health and well-being of adults as they approach their retirement years … healthcare professionals who focus solely on nutrition and aging.
And here we are
That is why I’ve chosen to focus my practice on people with aging bodies. I want to help people regain their confidence and certainty with food and eating as they prepare to enter the next stages in life. To help them untangle truth from sales tactics. To guide them in their journey toward preserving and protecting their nutritional well-being
… for their grandkids
… for their independence and ability to stay at home longer
… for their enjoyment in the retirement years and beyond, having the best possible health
It took me a bit to get to here after sitting with this idea. In part because life happened once again this past summer, bringing us to beautiful British Columbia. But I’ve come to really learn that there are no accidents.
Just like a seed needs time to germinate, this dream of mine needed that time to sit and grow. And to my benefit, the world of nutrition entrepreneurs and healthcare in general, continued to evolve leaps and bounds during this time.
More and more people are taking notice that preventative health is almost more important than managing health problems (see my recent post Food can help PREVENT). The health and well-being of older adults is becoming more of a priority. And telehealth systems have caught up to speed so practitioners like me can offer more convenient services that also lead to better results for clients.
It’s a very exciting time to be working in private nutrition coaching – for RDs and for clients!
A growing profession
I’m really honoured to be part of this profession. Nutrition is one of the youngest sciences but has grown so quickly, probably because of the strong links between overall health and diet. Many innovative women (and men of course) helped to build up this profession over the years, despite the hurdles. So today, on Dietitians’ Day, I’d like to thank all of my dietitian teachers and mentors over the years who have helped me grown both as a person and a healthcare professional by sharing their views, experiences and encouragements.
When I’m not working with clients
… I’m planning so my next nutrition ideas can come to life! I’m also writing articles, preparing newsletters, sharing tips and tricks with subscribers and answering emails/messages.
After hours, I’m chasing a pre-schooler around, exploring our new city and finding ways to cook using the fewest dishes possible. And those times I have a free moment? Coffee/wine (depending on the time of day), Netflix, crafting, reading … probably in that order too!
Although I am a person first and a dietitian second, there are reasons I’ve found my calling in this career. I get to use food to bridge the old ways and the new times. I get to be a teacher, a helper, a scientist, a coach, a trusted source of information, a listener, a guide, a writer, a cook. Best of all, I get to work with real people who have real struggles … and I have the honour of being invited to walk alongside them on their journey.
Thanks for letting me share my story with you. I look so forward to hearing your’s!
In case you missed that hint up there, you’re probably going to want to become an Email List Member so you can be the first to hear about new programs I’m planning and receive exclusive bonuses and promos for them!
And if you think you’re ready to get started on your journey:
Angela Hubbard is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) with 10 years experience working in the field of nutrition. Her work focuses on empowering people with young minds and aging bodies as they enter their retirement years and beyond. In her off time she loves swapping recipes, creating and exploring Northern BC life with her young family.