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April 18, 2024 67 mins

Ashley Koff RD - renowned dietitian and founder of The Better Nutrition Program - reveals how childhood struggles with weight, anxiety, and bullying led to a cycle of extreme dieting in a quest to be skinny and perfect. She gets candid about hiding in other people’s stories to avoid being seen. When she let go of chasing perfection and allowed herself to be vulnerable she was able to celebrate her own story. Ashley explains how ditching diet dogma and healing her digestive system impacted her career. She charts the evolution of her “Better, Not Perfect” approach, and shares how freeing yourself to focus on the next better choice is the key to sustainable change. Ashley and Tess discuss the value of personalized nutrition, and the importance of partnering with a practitioner to find solutions that fit your specific situation. Ashley recommends using a mixture of anecdotal and clinical data to inform appropriate diet and lifestyle changes. She also stresses the value of defining success in your terms in order to set markers and track progress. Ashley closes with the power of having a diversity of friends who can advise you in different ways.

KEY TAKEAWAYS 

Value your story: When Ashley embraced her uniqueness and vulnerability she allowed others to “see” her to create more meaningful relationships. 

Define success your way: By letting go of the need to compare herself to others, Ashley started defining success her way - which made her a happier person and a better practitioner.  

Better Not Perfect choices: Ashley stresses the futility of chasing perfection, and how meaningful change and impact occurs as a result of focusing on the next better choice. 

Find a curious practitioner: Truly personalized nutrition empowers you to make informed and appropriate changes for better health. Find a practitioner who wants to understand your whole story. 

Assemble your cabinet: Ashley tells how she learned from Steph Carter the importance of having people in your friendship circle who can counsel you in different ways. 

SOUND BITES

“The issue with ‘perfect’ is that it’s done. It can only be perfect for a moment, then what? Part of letting go of perfect was feeling better and being empowered to know what was better for me. I realized that ‘better, not perfect’ choices and balance were going to make me happy. We're learning and growing and wanting to be better all the time. We're never done.”

“Injustice drives me. Nutrition is a form of justice. I'm correcting an injustice by saying that this is something that we should all know how to do. When I figured out that nutrition could fix things, I realized I could help lots of people fix themselves.”

“People come in and tell me all the things that they do wrong. I challenge people to tell me something that they're successful with, something that is good. Successful people see themselves as successful. Start as a success because if you see yourself as a hot mess or a failure it is much harder to actually do something.”

“Instead of setting goals, I invite you to ‘experiment’ with something to see how your body responds. Let's see what your body is telling us and make decisions from there. We decide together - What are the markers of success? Instead of thinking that you're a failure if something doesn’t work, we've actually just learned that you are not going to respond to that thing.”

“We tend to focus on the one thing that eludes us. I was doing what everybody told me I “should” be doing, and yet I wasn’t happy. There was a moment where I said, “I don't actually want to be you, I want to be me!”

“It took me a long time to realize that in trying to look a certain way I had actually pushed people away from...

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