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As the daughter of a physical therapist, niece of an RD and familiar with the importance of movement and nutrition from a young age, Kait Reid, MPH, RDN, CHES knew she wanted a career in health promotion. She did gymnastics for 17 years, continuing through Division I college athletics as a student athlete. 

Majoring in nutrition, exercise and health science, she ultimately decided to follow in the footsteps of her aunt to become an RD. Her early career aspirations were to work in the field of sports nutrition. In the seven years it took to complete her undergraduate degree, post baccalaureate program, a master’s degree and her dietetic internship, she served as the director of operations for the University of California, Los Angeles gymnastics. It wasn’t until that job working with students on the UCLA campus that she saw the need for nutrition education outside of athletics and how much freedom and possibility could exist in alternative sectors.  

Reid likes that being a dietitian causes her to have a holistic approach to health. She considers herself not just a dietitian in her day job, but rather a “health-focused person” in everything she does. Health is woven into her everyday eating, interests and things she does with her best friends and family. 

“It’s not all about nutrition,” said Reid, whose partner is a chef. “We are food people. We love cooking, buying, eating and enjoying food. It feels like a rich and in-depth part of our life. … The greatest wealth is health and I believe that so deeply. Being a dietitian, I have this view or vantage point on health and how it can be this tool for making our lives better. But I also know, it’s not the only important tool.” 

From her initial years in higher-ed health education to her transition into the realm of entrepreneurship, Reid’s dietetics trajectory embodies a steadfast commitment to personal growth and professional excellence. Below is the full interview. 

Q. Describe your various jobs. 

A. As founder and CEO of Nourished Being, I do one-on-one nutrition, health and life coaching. My clients in the one-on-one space are folks who have struggled with making health behavior change, they’re tired of or stuck jumping into diets and programs and they struggle (as we all do) with limiting beliefs. I teach them how to have health and wellness on their terms. The reason I became a life coach is because early in my career, I found I was spending so much time talking about stress management, misbeliefs and the universal struggles of being human. I do inner child work and shadow healing work and I’m able to blend that with my knowledge and expertise of health. Health is so much about our mindset, beliefs and how we take care of ourselves. 

I also do corporate wellness. I contract with a number of different companies. I sometimes have up to 300 people in workshops all over the world. I’ve taught in Singapore, the UK, Spain, Australia, Taiwan and more. So that’s fun! I also work with a health and wellness tech startup. They’re providing a platform and service to companies and brokers. When you work for a company, you have your employee benefits, you have your insurance. But what about general wellness? This company is filling that gap by providing interventions for improved wellness culture, educational workshops and challenges. All taught through the tech platform. I generate content for that platform and also teach the workshops. It’s been a tremendous experience. 

Q. Why did you want to work in dietetics? 

A. My original inspiration was my aunt, Heidi Diller, who’s a dietitian. My mom is a physical therapist. I considered both career paths, but ultimately, I decided to go the nutrition route because I felt there was more flexibility and more ways to work with people. It’s not been a career without challenge, though; dietitians are underpaid and you’re fighting that battle both practically and psychologically. I went away from being an employee and started my own thing because I wanted more freedom in how I spent my time and less limitations in my salary. I’m so glad I bet on myself. 

Q. How did you launch your own business? 

A. When I got my master’s and I finished my dietetic internship, I got a great first job. But ultimately, I was like, is this it? It felt constricting in terms of professional growth, my schedule and my salary. I wanted the ability to make my own decisions, make my own schedule and really not have somebody dictating what my daily work was. Some people really like that. That wasn’t my path, and it was terrifying to make the leap into entrepreneurship. I didn’t know what it was going to look like, but I knew deep in my soul that the idea of having my own thing was exciting. While I was at this impasse of not being happy with my current W-2 job, I was thinking about going to medical school, law school or getting an MBA. I was looking at all these programs. But I did not want to go back to school; I felt defeated by that idea. I then hired a life coach through a friend, which led me into doing life coaching myself. For a year, we worked on all these things that I work with people now: limiting beliefs and seeing all the possibilities for how life can look. 

I never had a clear business plan from the beginning. I had ideas. Then the COVID-19 pandemic happened, and I started teaching online doing corporate wellness workshops. It’s a good funnel for working with people one-on-one. I’ve never thought of myself as a counselor or clinician. Always as a coach. I think that comes from my background in gymnastics and having worked with so many coaches myself. The corporate wellness and the one-on-one coaching worked well together, and I’ve been able to expand my work to other corporate wellness companies. Four or five years in, I’ve put some strategy into this business thing, but it wasn’t there in the beginning. 

Q. What has been the biggest challenge for you as a dietitian working in the industry?  

A. I think personally the biggest challenge has been to learn and own my value as a professional. I think when you get out of school and your first salaries are well below what other allied health professionals are getting paid, it’s a psychological obstacle that you have to unlearn. Everybody’s process is different. But personally, I thought my value was a prescribed salary range, because that was the career I chose.  

Professionally, the amount of misinformation in the nutrition space, fad diets, hyper-fixation on trends and social media, the biggest challenge is easily combatting all of the garbage that’s out there. The fads and misinformation go in trends, but I get some of the same questions: How do you feel about fasting? How do you feel about juicing? I like answering those questions and providing science-based clarity, but sometimes the way the questions are worded makes me wonder, how did they get here? How did they arrive at this level of misunderstanding to ask this question? I’m just here standing on my soapbox trying to help people understand how it all works. 

Q. What is one thing you wish you had known before starting your career in dietetics? 

A. I wish I had known how much business and marketing skills would be required to be successful as an entrepreneur. Knowing what I know now, I wish I would have gotten the dietetic undergrad degree and then an MBA as a master’s. Coming out of school, the skillset of being a dietitian alone is not enough to quickly parlay that into a career with some upward mobility. It’s definitely enough to get a salaried job, and if that’s your jam, more power to you. You can definitely create success as a W-2 employee. But from what I’ve found, being successful in entrepreneurship requires a lot more than what we learn to become RDs. 

Q. Has there been anything specific that helped you move forward in your role? 

A. I’m still very much on the path of finding what inspires me and finding my goalposts for where I’m aiming. That’s a long process and a continuing process. The other thing that was inspiring was my own inner knowing about wanting to forge my own path. It’s been a hard path, and there have been a lot of times I have been like, “Forget it, I’m just going to go get a salaried job.” But ultimately, I’m inspired by my own conviction. I’m going to make this work. I think many business owners will tell you one of the biggest keys to success is continuing to show up. I will be successful just by continuing forward on this path and continuing to figure it out as I go. 

Q. Is there a program or initiative that you’re most proud of? 

A. I haven’t made an official announcement yet, but I do have a program coming out later this year that a friend/colleague and I put together during COVID. It teaches the skill of how to make a healthy, tasty and balanced meal without many ingredients or a recipe. It was inspired by my ability to whip up a meal. If you were to come over to my house and I had practically nothing in my refrigerator, I could come up with a meal that’s nutritionally balanced and flavor balanced. People would say to me, how do you do that? How do you make a meal out of nothing? My friend/colleague also had that skill. I’m really proud of our program. Another thing that I’m proud of is my corporate workshops. I’ve developed many. They’re engaging, they’re helpful, they’re full of good content and I get really good feedback from them. It’s been a labor of love and I’ve enjoyed perfecting that skillset. 

Q. What misconceptions about dietetics/nutrition have impacted the way you do things? 

A. There is so much to say about this. Nutrition is misunderstood. We also have a broken food industry. Then there is diet culture, which is vicious and pervasive. I was a victim to diet culture early on. I had an eating disorder, suffered immensely and approached health from a very rigid and unhelpful perspective. I constantly felt like, “Ugh, I have to take care of myself.” It felt like such an exhausting chore because I held it as so black and white. Many people think wellness and self-care is a chore. You have to work hard to do it “right.” It’s exhausting to believe and behave as if there is only one right way to do it. When we approach wellness and health as a to-do list item, it becomes a stressor. It’s yet another thing that’s weighing on you along with all the things you have to do, all of your responsibilities, adulting, working, etc. It’s weaponized as yet another place we feel we’re falling short. It doesn’t have to be like that. When we meet ourselves where we are at, taking care of yourself is not a chore, it’s a practice. When done holistically, it’s built into your life and functions to support you. Rather than trying to do this one-size-fits-all approach, you can learn to customize your behaviors and remove personal barriers when possible. Unfortunately, there is one other massive thing that needs to be mentioned here: social determinants of health. Zip code, access to healthcare, race, socioeconomic status, education and other factors are largely outside of our control, especially for marginalized groups. While there are many things that clients can do to improve their health, there are other parties who are responsible for improving and maintaining population health. I always keep that in mind in working with individuals and groups. We need to be having conversations that are bigger than the individual. 

Bio: 

Kait Reid, MPH, RDN, CHES has been working as a registered dietitian for eight years. She has a background in health education, exercise science, sports nutrition, culinary arts and spiritual psychology. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in nutrition, exercise and health science, a postbaccalaureate in nutrition and dietetics from the University of New Mexico and her master’s of public health from the University of California, Los Angeles. She completed her dietetic internship at the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. She also is certified as a health education specialist, a certified lactation educator counselor and has completed over 900 hours of study in spiritual psychology. Prior to launching Nourished Being almost five years ago, she worked as a health educator for UCLA, where she helped launch the UCLA Teaching Kitchen and served as adjunct faculty at Santa Monica College. She has held various leadership positions at the local and state level with the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico, she resides with her partner, and they split time between their home in Santa Rosa, California, their sailboat in Mexico or in their fully off-grid campervan. She is a full-time nature lover who fosters dogs when not traveling. 

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