Gisela Bouvier is a fellow badass dietitian, speaks Spanish and owns her own business in the sunny state of Florida.
A little about Gisela
She completed a Bachelors of science from the Florida International University in Miami, coordinated program and did full internship for 2 semesters, and graduated in 2008. She also has her MBA from St. Leo University which she completed in 2014. Gisela is also the co-creator of the Mindful and Instinctive Eating Practitioner (MIEP), with Amy Sowards, MS, RD . They wanted to showcase how mindfulness is so important. Gisela states, “It’s the only way to flourish intuition, we are born with this but how do we tap into it?” Amy and her created this certification and are now on their 4th round of classes, which are 8 weeks long. MIEP is recognized by the academy of nutrition and dietetics, and provides CEU’s. For more info check out their page.
On Growing up Hispanic
“Mindfulness and intuition is not something as hispanics we think about. Our cultures are diet filled and in one instance we are told to clean our plate but if you gain weight, you get criticized for it, it's so backwards! ”
Gisela been an RD for 10 years, and got into nutrition because of her struggles with an eating disorder, which started in high school. She remembers comparing her body to others at the young age of FIVE, yes you read that right, FIVE. In high school she learned how to count calories and restrict. She always felt bigger than her sister and had a lot of body issues and did go to therapy. But senior year she took a dual enrollment class in fitness and wellness. Immediately she knew this was what she wanted to do, she wanted to teach other women about nutrition so they wouldn't suffer like her. She thought it would be her saving grace. Unfortunately, this was not the case, the more she learned, the sicker she became.
She ended up going to a few treatment centers and they were very much about an exchange approach, which turned out to be very triggering. In Gisela’s words, “ she ended up manipulating one center” and leaving the other because it was just not for her. Finally, after a year and a half of being a Dietitian, she had to take medical leave and went to a center in Miami, that did a mindful and intuitive eating approach. She completely thought they were NUTS. She describes being the worst patient because she wanted to know her numbers and she felt like she had not learned this in school so it just couldn't be right! She would constantly look at things and shout out calorie values. But it helped push her in a way that for once she had to become the patient.
She had help from a team that included a therapist, psychiatrist and dietitian. And this was where she began to fall in love with the mindful and intuitive approach. It took many years in her recovery for her to realize this, and when she started her business she began focusing on weight loss (and there is nothing wrong with this!), but she realized she wasn't being authentic. Gisela started diving back into the things she had learned and realized she had found her knew calling, she realized what was missing was connecting with humans. It is about asking the right questions and digging deeper and this is how her one on one counseling business began.
“From their she realized she could impact so many people in one room”
She then unexpectedly fell into the corporate wellness world when she was asked to speak at a company and for the first time they heard about this mindful eating approach and immediately realized this was what their company needed and asked Gisela to run their wellness program. From there, she realized she could impact so many people in one room.
Now Gisela only focuses on corporate wellness BUT her business also specializes on Facility Healthcare menu analyses and reviews, and makes sure they are complaint with state regulations. And she gets to travel the country doing this. Um how cool is that? Because to be honest, I did not know this was a thing! SO RDs and RDs2Be there are definitely other jobs out there where dietitians are needed and we just don't always know about!
Everyday is different, and works from home a lot. She also does a lot of pitching to companies and Universities about wellness program opportunities or workshops. And teaches barre classes! So everyday is different.
On her views with the dietetics world and diet culture
Gisela states, “there is so much confusion!” Even in the space of mindful nutrition, so her goal is always to ask: What is this doing for you? How is it affecting you? What’s the positive and what is negative? Nutrition is very individualized and we have to learn to see the grey areas. With no judgement and doing what is best for each individual client.”
On the infamous thin privilege instagram post
For so long she was afraid of speaking about the grey area she sees. But she wanted to let people know that she just doesn't like labels. All stigmas are very real, but feels like the more we focus on it in a negative way, the less positives we are making from it. We should focus on people as individuals not labels, this will help make a greater impact. If we want to get rid of weight stigma, we should neutralize our words. If we want to be inclusive, we have to be inclusive for everyone.
It’s challenging because she is not guaranteeing weight loss in the wellness world. and many companies want and seek numbers. It is also hard to shut down to be a mom and a wife when you have a long to do list and finding a balance.
On her favorite fast food
PIZZA. Loves to add veggies and toppings on her pizza. Always her go to. She had to work on this during her treatment because this was one of those foods that caused fear, but she is so proud she can finally enjoy it.
Overall Gisela and I both agree we as dietitians need to come together and build each other up as a profession, because when people see us fighting, people do not know what to believe. If we want to elevate our profession, we need to stop the bickering among us. And find some common ground. Each one of us can provide a client what they need and we each have our niche. The overall goal is the same, to help people become healthier.
Check out Gisela’s website: Gisela Bouvier Nutrition to learn more about her and her philosophy!