1. Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Communications from University of Miami
2. Master’s of Science in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from Columbia University.
3. Registered Dietitian
4. Lisa Hayim, MS, RD
What made you choose this field as a career?
I feel like the field of food and wellness actually found me! I remember when I began college, I attended orientation and met with a guidance counselor. I told him the only thing I was interested in was being a nutritionist. He told me about the required rigorous coursework: chemistry, biology, and anatomy and physiology to name a few. I struggled with chemistry in high school, and didn’t have the confidence to pursue this route. When my college years were dwindling down, I realized I didn’t have “a plan” after graduation. There was nothing that truly made my heart sing. I had been vegetarian for about 3 years then, and still felt the passion for health and nutrition that began to brew much earlier. I looked into programs, and realized that this was something I could actually do. Knowing it would be a long, arduous journey, I jumped in with two feet!
I like your mantra, Eat Real and Be Mindful,” consider the overeaters out there who have a hard time understanding that concept; how would you go about changing that mindset and have them live that healthy, balanced, and fulfilled life?
The first thing I like to do, is remove the blame and guilt from my clients. A lot of people feel shame about their (over) eating habits, and it creates a negative cascade that can result in various health issues. I feel that “over eating” is a function of the society we live in- we are glutinous, fast paced, and have never been taught to truly identify our satiety cues.
Being Mindful, specifically eating mindfully, is a skill to be honed over time. It can never be mastered, and that’s the beauty of it. We are all works in progress. Understanding that it’s a process helps people realize there is no such thing as “failure” as long as you get up and try again.
I like that you have this organic approach to healthy living and your close relationship with your clients; it doesn’t seem contrived or “just a number” relationship. How do you counsel clients that do not complete the goals you set for them, and for the clients that do achieve those goals, does the relationship continue?
Well, during an initial consultation, I do not not create the goals for my clients. Rather, they create them for themselves. I ask the clients their 3 top goals they wish to achieve. I feel that a goal and motivation to change must come from within. It doesn’t matter how much they are paying me, if I create a goal they don’t believe in, then I am responsible for setting them up for failure.
I will not leave a client until they are content with our process. Not everyone will lose the amount of weight they initially told me they wanted to, but I can guarantee they will come out with so much more- improved self worth, self confidence, and a better understanding of food and nutrition.
I foster good relationships with all my clients, but part of that process does mean letting them fly. If I hold their hand for too long, they will never learn to use the skills I have taught them. It’s emotionally hard when a client is ready to fly, as I no longer get to check in with them daily, but it also means I have done a good job. Many of my clients keep in touch, or sign up for the “dietitian on demand” option, which allows them to email or text me whenever they need, without having to schedule an appointment.
I love your website, and love that the ingredients to your recipes are easy and not impossible to find, but how do you “un-complicate the science of nutrition?”
Like I mentioned above, the science of nutrition is hard. Yes, I got through chemistry and biology, but it was not easy. I like to say that I put in the work, so that my clients don’t have to. So many times experts, in any area, become so well versed in their jargon, that they are unable to explain it to the public. I try to stay away from confusing words, and break things down as simply as possible.
When it comes to my recipes, I break it down VERY simply. I didn’t grow up cooking, and didn’t have a mother who knew either. When I began living on my own, it became a necessity. I remember googling recipes and following these long precise step by step directions, that called for 10+ ingredients. I hated that- it was stressful! When I finally got a bit used to the kitchen, I realized that its okay to mess up a recipe, or play around with it, and that the experience itself can actually be a stress-reliever, rather than a stressor itself. We all have that creative license to exercise!! Plus, if you are using real whole foods, fresh herbs and flavors, as my recipes do, there is really very little you can do to mess it up! My recipes, just 5 ingredients or less, provide my clients and readers with the confidence to give it a go.
After years of talking about body image, most people seek to resolve their eating habits on their own by trying fad diets or by picking up a magazine and tries some random celebrity diet. How do you go about convincing that client to follow your nutritional diet and sticking to it?
By the time most clients see a dietitian, they are fed up with the shakes, the cleanses, etc. They are ready for something new. When I discuss my philosophy, eating real and mindfully, clients are delighted. It takes no convincing, but rather has them responding with “how soon can we start.” I explain that when we eat real food mindfully, we nourish our bodies and actually don’t have to make any sacrifices by cutting out our favorite foods. In fact, you can even add previously sworn foods back in! The recipes I provide are delicious, filling, and customized to fit the taste preferences of each client. In addition, I provide them with the skills to make choices that allow them to dine at restaurants, enjoy holiday dinners, and even stay afloat at special occasions.
Is your clientele more women than men? How do each really think about their bodies?
Right now, I have more females than men. I think both genders struggle with the same sorts of things. We are all fighting against the same culprit- high calorie, nutrient deplete, processed food, and therefore we are all suffering from the same symptoms (bloating, fatigue, weight gain, indigestion, etc.).
Now that your passion has become a successful business, what do you do to keep a fit body and mind.
It’s more important than ever to keep a fit body and mind. Keeping the business together takes a lot of clarity. I try to get cardio in at least 5 days a week - even if it's just for 30 minutes. On days when I have more time, I incorporate strength training and yoga. At this point in time, I am getting the most stress relief from preparing dinner each night, and sharing them on my blog. I guess work has its perks!
For a total body tune up you have to do workout routines that you love and hate. What is your least favorite workout routine and what is your favorite?
I would never do any workout routine that I hate. I learned this long ago during a spin class in NYC. I was sweating and hot, and quite frankly, miserable. I was counting down the seconds it until it was over. A few days after, I was at the gym on the stair master. I was blasting music through my head phones and started feeling really good. I got a rush of happiness, or some euphoric unexplainable feeling. Yes, I was feeling this good, while climbing a never ending stair case! In that moment, I asked myself why I would ever attend and pay for a class that I dreaded. Instead, I found workouts that I enjoy, and began doing them everyday. I would even look forward to going to the gym, and force myself to take rest days. Whenever I start to get bored or annoyed, I switch it up! I think a lot of times we think that it exercises has to to be so rigid, complicated, and dreadful. I recommend each person to find what it is that works for them. The important thing is to just make sure you move everyday.
So you love desserts, what is your absolute favorite dessert?
Hard question!! Growing up I was a huge chocolate lover - chocolate cake, chocolate soufflé, chocolate ice cream. Lately my preferences have shifted, and I crave more flavors similar to vanilla, and flaky deserts like apple pie!