Health and Happiness: An Inside Scoop on Libby Parker

On July 19th, Nourish SLO will be hosting Libby Parker, MS, RD for our summer Wellness Workshop - Born to Eat Intuitively. Libby is a local Dietitian and author of "Permission To Eat: A practical guide to working yourself out of an eating disorder during college, while celebrating the awesomeness that is you!" Libby's private practice in SLO, Not Your Average Nutritionist, specializes in helping young adults and performers recover from eating disorders. Find her at www.NotYourAverageNutritionist.com or get social, @DietitianLibby.  


At the workshop, Libby will discuss with us the concept of Intuitive Eating, the difference between hunger and appetite, the physiological body systems that control hunger and fullness, and most importantly, how to enjoy food without controlling calories or dieting. We are so excited to host Libby, and to hear more about her new book, Permission To Eat


We wanted to ask Libby a few questions so that we could learn more about her. Read on!  


What is your favorite part of your job? 


Watching the progress that happens over the weeks with my individual clients. The little "ah-hah" moments when you see mindset shifts is inexplicable. It's also just fun to play detective and figure out what is really going on or what is causing something else to occur. Every day is different, and that keeps it interesting.


How did you get started in this field? 


Short answer - my very first client after getting my RD credential was a girl coming to Cal Poly who was relapsing in her eating disorder. She sent out an email to our local dietetic association looking for a local RD, and I replied. She was the reason I got into eating disorders (I started doing a lot of research and getting mentors), and why I got a business license and started my private practice! I've had several other jobs along the way, but my practice has been going since that first client in 2012.


What is an anti-diet RD?


In a brief description, "anti-diet is" a "movement" or term adopted by professionals, such as dietitians, that focuses on getting away not only from "fad diets" but diet CULTURE as a whole. The talk about needing to change our bodies or "be good," the cultural desire to be the thinnest or whatever the descriptor du jour. Instead, anti-diet professionals focus on individual health and well being, which may not conform to society's body-standards. Anti-diet does not mean anti-medical-diets (medical nutrition therapy, for you nutrition professionals out there). Of course, there are specific evidence-based medical diets for disease states that need to be followed for best health (ex: diabetics do need to pay attention to carbohydrate timing and amounts), and we do want people to eat their veggies, but the idea of anti-diet eschews the mentality that the body shape/size needs to change. In a quick summary, "anti-diet" means not conforming to society's limited definition of diet culture (how we "should" eat/look), but takes an individual approach where all foods can fit in a healthy way of living. A great blog post on this topic: https://christyharrison.com/blog/what-does-anti-diet-really-mean 


Where did the inspiration for Permission to Eat come from? 

I actually didn't set out to write a book, initially, but I think most writers will agree - when there is a book in you, it has to come out. Permission To Eat (PTE) was a compilation of education, stories, and worksheets I was using with my clients. I noticed I was giving the same education over and over (even among the different eating patterns, the messages were the same), to a point it felt almost scripted. 

Because of diet culture shaming them for eating their favorite foods (or food at all), many clients would literally ask me for "permission to eat" [food]. Hence the title.


The first month of the book release has only confirmed the fact that PTE was needed. The reviews on Amazon, as well as what people have told me in-person or messages have expressed how different this book is from other recovery books. It's described as more conversational (not a dry-textbook, or difficult to understand), current with information (we talk about apps, instagram, and more), and gives real exercises to stop food behaviors that I use with mt clients. Check out the reviews (and purchase PTE) HERE.


What is one daily or weekly practice that keeps you mentally, physically, and/or emotionally healthy? 


For me, acting/dancing/singing is my therapy. Going to rehearsal, or being in a show, lets me leave my worries at the door as I become someone else for a few hours (my acting site: www.libbyparker.weebly.com). Other than that, getting outside, even just to take a few breaths and look at the wind in the trees nourishes my soul.


Join us on July 19th from 6-8 PM to learn more. Tickets can be purchased here. We can’t wait to see you there! 




Jessica McLin