Hi! I’m Caroline, a yoga-based nutrition therapist (RD) & writer, helping people develop joyful relationships to food & body.
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Caroline L. Young, MS, RD, LD, RYT Hello there! I’m so glad you’re here. On this page, I’d like to share a bit about myself: I’m a dog mom, yogi, daughter, sister, niece, cousin and friend. I was born in Tampa, FL but was raised mostly as a “Joisy” girl up in Short Hills, NJ. We moved to Newnan, GA in 2002 and I found my home (for now) in Atlanta in 2012. I say “ya’ll” but I think that’s about as far as my southern accent goes. A piece of my heart will always belong in Spain, as that’s where my maternal heritage is, and being there always lights me up. Professionally, I am a registered dietitian nutritionist (RD or RDN) and hold a MS in nutrition from Georgia State University’s Coordinated Program in Atlanta. I am a nutrition-focused journalist and hold a BA in communication with a journalism focus from Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL. Last but definitely not least, I am a yoga teacher (RYT), trained at a Kripalu affiliate, Discovery Yoga Center — also in beautiful St. Augustine. What do the letters mean? MS – Master of Science in Nutrition RD – Registered Dietitian LD – Licensed Dietitian RYT -Registered Yoga Teacher I have completed two trainings to support my nutrition counseling work: Attuned Eating Mastery Training for Non-Diet Professionals Mindfulness-Based Yoga Therapy Training in Eating Disorders “Whole” Self Nutrition You may be wondering — What does she mean by “whole”? I love the word whole. And it’s how I aim to live my life, and help my clients to live theirs. I strongly believe in tending to all aspects of ourselves — mind, body and spirit — the whole self. Physical health is just one aspect of our health. It’s important, of course, but not more important than our emotional, mental and spiritual health. Why Yoga? I found yoga when I was 10 and walked in to my mom’s room to find her standing on her head. I thought it was totally weird and laughed at her. But I was intrigued by it, that’s for sure. It wasn’t until later during my freshman year of college that I started my own practice, and never looked back. Once I started going consistently, I noticed shifts in myself, on a much deeper level. I felt less anxious, at ease and more comfortable in my own skin, and more connected to my true, joyful, whole self. Throughout college, I practiced yoga and dabbled in meditation on a steady basis. By the time I graduated, it had become such a mainstay in my life that I knew I wanted to teach others about this amazing world of yoga I had discovered. I’ve taught at several studios in the Atlanta area since 2012, as well as a drug recovery center. Currently, I am focusing on weaving yoga into my counseling work and teaching on retreats. I also practice regularly in my little home studio/office and in some great studios around my Atlanta neighborhood. In a few words, yoga is not just a work-out. On the contrary, it is actually a work-in. The physical postures (or “asanas”) are essential and amazing, but they are also just one part of yoga. A yoga practice is not just on the mat — it’s also living a spiritually- and emotionally-nourishing life. Yoga has the power to help us peel back the layers of conditioning (or garbage) that we no longer need. It can serve as a reminder of our wholeness – our strength, resilience, and connection to our higher power (if we have one) and the entire universe. Yoga gets us out of our heads and into our bodies! My Nutrition Philosophy Extremes on either end of the spectrum are not healthful, and I believe all food groups should be included in a person’s diet. We must eat for fuel, as well as for pleasure. A (mostly) well-balanced and non-restrictive diet will help to nourish our bodies, minds and souls. At its foundation, a balanced diet meets our physical needs, but it must also meet our cultural, social, mental, emotional and spiritual needs. While eating nutrient-dense foods like vegetables, fruit and whole grains is necessary for optimal health, eating a piece of cake or ice cream is equally as necessary. And we aren’t better or worse for eating certain foods. Yes — it is the nutrient-dense foods that promote long-lasting energy and focus, and may help in the prevention and management of disease. But we must allow ourselves to enjoy other less nutrient-dense foods that we love, too. Placing restrictions on our diets can lead to other issues like overeating, preoccupation with food, fear of food, disordered eating or full-blown eating disorders. Diet restrictions are life stifles. While they may seem to provide more control, they actually do the opposite — they control you. In many situations, food is what brings families and friends together, and it should be enjoyed thoroughly. I firmly believe that a balanced and healthy diet is one that allows you and me to live a free and vibrant life. Eating is one of many forms of self-care. I believe in and follow an intuitive, anti-diet, health-centered (versus weight-centered) approach to eating and movement. Our bodies know what they need – we just have to be willing to trust and listen (which often takes a lot of un-doing and de-conditioning). I believe in whole-self wellness, which is an inside-out (not an outside-in) process. How I Got Here The driving force behind my passion is my own past struggles with disordered eating and exercise. I have a deep desire to help others heal their relationship to food and their bodies, as I learned to heal my own. I spent years of my life, on and off, relying on some form of disordered eating or exercise behavior to cope with hard life situations and feelings I couldn’t manage healthfully at the time. I had to be uncomfortably and brutally honest with myself, in order to receive deep healing (and professional help), and to re-connect with myself and my body, in a peaceful, freeing way. This work enabled me to continue my life’s journey as the woman I was truly born to be. While my healing process was one of the most challenging parts of my life, it is 100% worth the freedom I experience today. I promise you, lasting recovery from disordered eating and eating disorders is possible. My Work – Now & Then I see clients of all ages (males & females) struggling with eating disorders and disordered eating (including those who just want to stop dieting and find a sustainable and joyful way of eating and moving). I am actively taking on new virtual clients in my own practice, Whole Self Nutrition, LLC. And I am taking on new in-person (Atlanta area) clients at Marietta Counseling for Children & Adults – a group therapy practice. I lead monthly meal or snack groups, co-lead two to three yoga & self-care retreats each year and write on a freelance basis. Previously, I worked as the Intensive Outpatient (IOP) dietitian at an adolescent eating disorder treatment center, where I also led weekly family meal & nutrition groups (I currently work here on a PRN basis). Earlier, I worked as a dietitian in an inpatient setting on a women’s trauma unit of a mental health hospital, and in an outpatient setting of a substance-abuse facility — also working with their eating disorder populations. I am trained in a non-diet approach to nutrition and mindfulness-based yoga therapy for eating disorders. I integrate yogic philosophy, yoga poses and breath-work directly into my counseling work, on a case-by-case basis. My client work integrates yoga (both physically and philosophically) and nutrition (from a non-diet, intuitive eating approach) into a healing, nourishing package. As a freelance RD journalist, my goal is to serve as a reliable source of sound nutrition advice and to help bring clarity to nutrition issues of concern. Here is one of my articles on Yoga & Mindfulness and eating disorder treatment. Through every area of my career, I hope to help people better understand the powerful link between nutrition, and physical, mental and emotional health. More than anything, I hope to empower people to be at ease in their skin, to relax around food, and to live whole, vibrant lives.