We had the good fortune of connecting with Allyson Balzuweit and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Allyson, as a parent, what have you done for you children that you feel has had the most significant impact?
This is the million dollar question, and one that I think about often. After establishing myself in a career in Dietetics and pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Health, I made the decision to take a pause from work and stay home with my children during their younger years. This coincided with a relocation from Northern Virginia to Atlanta, so I also left my connections and contacts behind. While I always managed to pick up some contracting gigs at health clubs, private consultations and later in a very part time job in Public Health working with HIV/Aids patients, my focus was to be around for my kids, and I was extremely fortunate to have that choice. It wasn’t easy and I always thought about the next chapter as far as how I would truly use my professional skills down the road to really make an impact in my community. Looking back, it was also a very unbalanced time between life and work, and I probably would’ve been happier if I’d achieved a better balance earlier on. The truth is, I love the field of nutrition and I love how diverse it is with endless opportunities to share information and practical strategies with people who are eager to learn. I’ve always wanted to own my own business, partly to be in control of my schedule but also to be able to choose the types of people I want to work with. There’s nothing I love more than a motivated client who’s ready to implement realistic changes. I was lucky to fall into an opportunity at Functionize Health and Physical Therapy. They were seeking a dietitian to add value to their clients’ experience in a balanced, functional approach to health and wellness. As a contractor, I was in control of my time and was challenged to begin to ramp up my business and start my own practice, which has allowed me to branch out into the greater Atlanta community. It’s certainly a work in progress, but it’s in full swing and I’m proud that my kids are seeing this side of me. It’s still a challenge to work from home (especially now with Covid precautions and distance learning), but I think it’s a gift for my kids to be able to see that I’m driven in other aspects of my life, and to understand that I can be a good mother and simultaneously have a passion and drive to educate and guide others on their journey to optimum health at the same time.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I’m a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist that offers customized nutrition support to motivated clients seeking assistance in achieving a balanced approach to healthy eating. I’m not your average dietitian…I love meeting clients where they are and learning the ins and outs of their current situation. I will not hand you a pre-fab list of what to eat and what not to eat. I never ask anyone to do something outside of their comfort zone or lifestyle preferences. If you hate to cook, I won’t try to convert you to become a chef. If you love to eat out, I’ll help you navigate menus to select reasonable options. If you hate broccoli, you don’t have to eat it…although, I might just be able to dig up a recipe that will make you LOVE broccoli. Just sayin’! I’m a busy Mom of 3, and I fully understand the challenges that a busy life brings to the table when it comes to healthy eating. I’ve learned and completely value the importance of not trying to be perfect. Nothing ever is, and if that’s the goal, we will fall on our face ever. single. time. I partner with my clients in a supportive and encouraging way that also allows for setbacks, because that’s simply part of life. I am an all in kind of girl. If you have a goal, it’s also my goal to help you make that happen, and I will be 100% honest about what I think a reasonable goal looks like when it comes to nutrition, meal planning and eating joyfully.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Let’s be honest…I’m a Mom and when I moved to Atlanta, I had a newborn and it seems to have never stopped! So, we didn’t get to experience many of the hot spots outside of marriage and kids. Now that we’re living in a pandemic, my itinerary is totally different compared to what it would have been before. But, let’s pretend this Covid thing was non-existent, shall we? I’m assuming my best friend would also have her kids in tow, so we would for sure hit a Braves game and hang out at The Battery. The Georgia Aquarium and definitely a stroll on the Georgia beltline would also be high on my list. We could pop into Ponce City Market for a cocktail, a bite to eat at Bellina Alimentari and even a little shopping. I would also be sure to hit up some of our other favorite restaurants like Muss and Turners, Local Three and Redbird, which are all fairly close to our house, but we would also make a trip to Fritti for pizza after letting the kids run around Piedmont Park. At the end of the week, we’d venture out to Lake Lanier, where my parents recently moved to, and rent a boat for one last hurrah on the water.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Lauren Sok at Functionize Health and Physical Therapy has inspired me to build my business and reach beyond my comfort zone. The way she supports and encourages her team has not been lost on me, and even though I’m not on her staff, she has continued to invest in me and my business by including me in staff development activities, goal setting retreats, and sending referrals. Her fearless leadership and risk taking are inspirational and I will always be grateful that our paths crossed.