Shena Jaramillo, MS, RD
Imagine you’re a human being living on plane earth. Everywhere you turn whether it be a supermarket, your physician or social media, you receive messages about your body- and exactly how it fits or doesn’t fit into the status quo.
Have you ever felt like:
- You are slaving away trying to create a body to serve someone else’s needs and desires?
- You’ve lost yourself in the noise of restriction or uncontrollable food intake?
- Your new “lifestyle change” is really just a trendy way to disguise a “diet”
- You don’t know how to eat- because you’re not sure how what you put in YOUR body measures up so someone else’s expectations?
- You’ve wasted 80% of your brain space trying to figure out what to put on your plate day in and day out?
What do you think it would be like to take a day off?
Hi. I’m Shena.
Before I am a dietitian, I am first and foremost an anthropologist. A cultural critic. A health activist.
Once upon a time, I experienced what I like to call my “diet culture” initiation ceremony. The spectators might describe it as a “weight watchers.” meeting.
I was instantly hooked. I wanted to BE like those women collectively collaborating on all of the reasons why their bodies were so bad. Holding each others hands across the threshold of body dissatisfaction.
All at once I had a new family. Every member was just as lost as I. I learned about easy to follow restriction rituals, and was offered a million promises that everything in my life would be better if I simply worshipped all the foods I did or didn’t put into my mouth!
The ironic thing was- I actually wasn’t even attend the meeting to lose weight! My 21-year old nieve self wandered into the auditorium hoping for permission to examine the group for a capstone course in cultural anthropology.
I was NOT prepared for the way diet culture was about to slap me around that day or for the next decade to come.
I longed for the collective community centered around shrinking the size of my body.
The noise in my head and from those around me at the meeting was LOUD and vibrant. “JUST GET SMALLER! Everything will be OKAY!”
I was so intrigued by that diet culture babtisms that messages from the meeting like “Ask for a box up front at the restaurant, so you can immediately pack half away” and “never keep chips in the cupboard” intricately layered themselves into an evolving eating disorder for years to come.
Cookies started having bargaining power. The number on the jeans around my waist suddenly had a big voice. I traded my free will in for mediocre salads.
I was so entranced by diet culture that day… I became a dietitian!
Soon I had all the power in the world to count my calories without ever even touching a label, “clinically” analyze every ounce of fat on my body, and feed my eating disorder like a CHAMP!
The scariest thing about my eating disorder was that I actually wasn’t even aware I had experienced one.
I didn’t stop to think about my past eating behaviors until several yars into working as a dietition in delving more into the eating disorders specialty.
My eating disorder went unnoticed to me and the world despite the fact that I:
- Had irregular lab values including electrolyte imbalances and dangerously low blood pressure (my doctors always mustered sevral hypotheses as to what could be causing the problem. Never ONCE was food restriction mentioned!)
- Lived in a body well below a BMI of 18.
- Experienced multiple bouts of rapid weight loss (more than 15% of body weight in a 3-6 month time span).
- Regular hypoglycemia leading to inability to walk, see clearly, stand up, and in extreme cases speak.
- Actively didn’t eat more than 600 calories for days on end (sometimes while working 12 hours shifts of constant fast-paced movement).
- loss of mensus
- NEVER being able to get warm.
- Swapping spectrurm ends and feeling like I physically lacked the ability to put my food down. I would finishing something along the lines of an entire pan of spaghetti, half a loaf of garlic bread followed by dessert while still feeling unsatisfied physically and emotionally.
None of us are free from diet culture. It weasels its way into our hearts and souls like a two faced snake. Disordered eating comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, socio-economic status, and education levels. Eating disorders do not discriminate. The more we build awareness around the dangers of diet culture, the more we have the power to divest. I can help with that!
There are three things in this world I know I’ve truly lived and breathed.
- What it feels like to wither away in my own body and build myself out of that.
- Feeling like there will never be enough food on the plate.
- How to adequately nourish myself with plants.
In addition to helping others learn to love and trust their bodies, I have been plant based for 20 years (well before my eating disorder started talking).
I’ve been teaching teaching others how to adequately nourish both the mind and body with plants for the last decade. Without restriction. Without judgement.
While I will NEVER push a plant based lifestyle on you (and we will always chat about if it’s an eating disorder talking) – If this is already your jam you’ve come to the right spot!
My plant based lifestyle does not stem from my presumption that it’s the “holy grail” of diets (cue diet culture hazard!). I rather simply love a good hug from a cow!
In my free time I serve as vice president of a non-profit animal rescue called Kittitas County Friends of the Animals, where I rescue and rehabilitate orphaned and feral cats.
I would love to connect with you- but please know as we do that I am raw! I tell hard truths, I break fast rules and I love the word “fuck,” Especially as it pertains to food rules and diet culture.
If this is how you vibe- we should be friends! Welcome my friend, to the unraveling of what truly takes place here on planet earth in westernized society- and liberating ourselves from it!
Welcome to your first day of food freedom!
- B.S. Nutrition and Dietetics
- B.A. Psychology
- B.A. Anthropology
- Dietetic internship: St.Louis Veterans Affairs hospital
- M.S. Sports Nutrition and Human Performance
- Eating Disorders
- Plant Based Nutrition