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Conversations with the Inspiring Dina Garcia

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dina Garcia.

Dina, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I think food was always a challenge for me. As a kid, I loved to eat. I mean, who doesn’t? Similar to the story of many young girls, I felt the pressure to be unrealistically thin and started dieting before I even became a teenager. Something that’s hard to do when you like to eat. After years of cycling through diets, I had a terrible relationship with food and would often binge and stress eat as a result of failed diet attempts.

In hindsight, I realize that my obsession with food and dieting along with a perfectionist mindset, sent me to college for nutrition and dietetics to essentially become a professional dieter. In my mind, I thought if I could make “healthy eating” easier for myself I could also make it easier for other people. At the time, my idea of healthy eating was nothing short of a pseudo-diet.

After gaining about 20 pounds and becoming prediabetic within my first year as a registered dietitian I had a wake-up call. Knowing what to eat and fiercely working to control what I was eating just wasn’t working. Eventually, I realized that I needed to work on my relationship with food. Though I was still self-conscious of my weight gain and wanted to lose weight, I was more concerned about developing diabetes.

To start my recovery process I ditched my scale and started focusing on fueling my body with foods that made me feel good. At the same time, not feeling guilty when I did indulge. Along the way, I have discovered intuitive and mindful eating and developed many of my own strategies to help clients end the diet cycle and have a healthy relationship with food.

Before I opened my practice in 2013, I worked for eight years as a clinical dietitian in a number of hospitals and dialysis clinics in California, Indiana, and Miami. I always knew I would start a private practice, I was just waiting for the right place to call home.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It definitely has not been a smooth journey starting a business. In fact, I would say that being an entrepreneur has challenged me to grow as a person more than anything I’ve done in my whole life. If you want to succeed you have to look yourself in the face, acknowledge your weaknesses and figure out how you are going to deal with them. For me, that involved a lot of self-discovery, digging deep, and making some paradigm shifts within myself. It also meant letting go of perfectionism and delegating things that I wasn’t good at or didn’t want to do.

For those just starting out, don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. It’s always harder on the inside than it looks on the outside. Work on your journey and avoid comparing yourself to others.

what should we know about Vida Nutrition and Conscious Living? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
For people fed up with the diet culture, Vida Nutrition is a nutrition therapy and conscious living center that provides the client with DO-able solutions to living a healthy and mindful lifestyle, an integrative approach to health, and heart-felt coaching from dietitians and hypnotherapists who have been in their shoes.

We strive to provide judgment-free, empathetic coaching so clients can open up about their relationship with food and we can help them find the best strategies for living their best life.

For good reason, society often focuses more on the problems rather than the opportunities that exist, because the problems need to be solved. However, we’d probably also benefit from looking for and recognizing the opportunities that women are better positioned to capitalize on. Have you discovered such opportunities?
There are opportunities all around us. We just need to work up the confidence to pursue them. As women, we often wait until everything is perfect before we move forward. Say yes and figure out the details later, that’s what men often do.

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