Hey there! My name is Samara (Sam) and I am the registered dietitian nutritionist behind G & G Nutrition Co.
A few things about me: I love cheesecake, deep dish pizza and rescue dogs. I worked in school nutrition for 6 years and hospital nutrition for 3 years before I had the courage to leave my full-time job and open this practice.
I’m passionate about helping people take steps towards the healthiest versions of themselves while also nurturing their relationship with food.
Health is a value, not a goal.
When I started this practice in 2017, I quickly found that the typical “eat less, exercise more” health advice doesn’t actually get to the root cause of nutrition and wellness obstacles. Almost all of my clients came to me in the same boat: they approached wellness changes through restriction (ex: “here are all of the things I’m not allowed to eat anymore”). They defined their health by a goal weight. They tried to follow a diet to achieve that weight. Maybe they were successful with this short-term, but they eventually found themselves back in the exact same place. They were stuck in a never-ending cycle of guilt, shame and yo-yo dieting… and they were not improving their health.
I love using the intuitive eating approach to help clients end this cycle forever. When we can shift the conversation from weight loss to health-promoting behaviors, we can focus on building healthy habits that can last a lifetime. Food is meant to be experienced and enjoyed, and there’s room all foods in your diet while still pursuing wellness. While most traditional diets focus on the WHAT (eat this! eat that!), intuitive eating focuses on the HOW and WHY. By peeling back the layers of why we are making certain food and body movement choices, we’re able to truly address wellness obstacles and improve long-term health.
Health is not a number on the scale.
I will never forget a defining moment in my career. A client was brought to tears at the beginning of her initial consultation when she realized I was not going to make her step on a scale. She said the idea of weighing herself had made her so anxious that she almost cancelled the appointment.
While I always hold space for discussions about weight and the desire for weight loss in my office, I also recognize how counterproductive and damaging it can be to define health using a number on the scale. There are mountains of scientific research that show (1) health is tied to behaviors, not weight (2) improvements in health can be made independent of weight loss and (3) focusing on weight loss is ineffective at helping people improve health. I wish the medical community would get on board with this. Bodies have a healthy set point weight range – they settle in this range when there’s a good balance of caring for ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally.
Passion for PCOS
I became interested in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) after seeing client after client struggle with symptoms. I share in my clients’ frustrations when they are handed a prescription for birth control and metformin, and then they are told they need to lose weight. The “lose weight” advice is a distraction from discussing how hormones can be balanced through diet, lifestyle and supplements.
I’m here for Every Body
In addition to helping people with PCOS, I am also passionate about providing weight-inclusive nutrition care. We live in a culture that places value on body size, and it’s so painful to see clients experience weight stigma and weight bias. Every single person deserves happiness and respect in their current body, regardless of body size. I use a HAES-aligned approach to work with clients in all body sizes. Our discussions center around caring for yourself – the topic of weight only comes up when my clients bring it up or want to talk about it!
- BS in Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise, Virginia Tech
- MSEd in Health Education, Virginia Tech
- Didactic Program in Dietetics, University of Alabama
- Dietetic Internship, Utah State University
- Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
- Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist, State of North Carolina
- In progress – working towards my Intuitive Eating certification!