We had the good fortune of connecting with Caroline Young and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Caroline, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Balance is a tricky topic and one that I am honestly still learning about. I do believe that there are times in our careers when work needs to take up more time than what may feel good, in order to help us get to the place where we want to be. Personally, there was a time in the recent past when I was working in multiple places and feeling drained often. There wasn’t a whole lot of time to feed other areas of my life like relationships and my passion for travel. The thing is – I knew that time would be short-lived and that it was what I needed to do to hone clinical skills and build relationships – so I could get to a place of finding more relative balance. I say “relative” because I think balance can be fluid and not be another thing to feel pressure about finding in life. However, I strongly believe that we (humans) are whole – hence the name of my business (Whole Self Nutrition) – and in order to be truly healthy, we need to feed all parts of us. I want to practice what I preach, and show up for my clients as a whole person who is nourished mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Otherwise, I’m not going to be able to help them do that for themselves. Someone once told me – “You can only take your patients or clients as far as you’ve gone” – and I really do believe that. And now that I am working completely for myself, not constantly feeling spread too thin and taking time to nourish the rest of me outside of my career, I have clearly realized I am a much better provider, which is what really matters. Living in a society that says we have to do as much as possible to be worthy, it’s hard to trust sometimes that taking breaks and tending to ourselves will help us show up more completely, more joyfully and more grounded, than if we are trying to pour from empty cups.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Whole Self Nutrition, LLC, is a virtual private practice that I created to help people find freedom and peace around food and in their bodies. I offer both nutrition counseling (one-on-one), nutrition or yoga/mindfulness groups and wellness retreats (retreats are in-person). As a trained yoga teacher and registered dietitian, I fuse Western and Eastern philosophies. I integrate yoga and mindfulness techniques directly into my nutrition counseling, so my clients learn breathing techniques, meditation and other yoga practices alongside their nutrition therapy. Whole Self Nutrition counseling is for anyone who is in recovery from an eating disorder, or who suffers from disordered eating and is ready to let go of a hard relationship with food. I believe in an all-foods-fit approach to nutrition and operate from a weight-neutral lens. My journey to creating Whole Self Nutrition was not an easy one – it started with becoming a yoga teacher ten years ago and knowing that I wanted to do more with my yoga training. Once I decided on graduate school to become a nutrition expert, I spent three years in chemistry and anatomy classes, as well as completing an unpaid internship. While it was difficult, I am so glad I went through it, so I can be where am I today. I want the world to know that you do not have to live your life at war with food and your body, and this is why I started Whole Self Nutrition. You can find freedom and peace in the body you’re in right now. I believe this because I struggled with my own food and body issues, and made it to the other side. I believe this because I have watched many clients and patients do the same.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’ll focus on food for this question since that’s kind of my thing! I would take them to different neighborhoods on different days so they could get a taste of each one. That is what I love about Atlanta – it has something for any mood, any vibe and any preference. I’d probably start with Buckhead and take them to Gypsy Kitchen to have some wine and tapas on the rooftop near sunset time. For brunch one day I would take them to R.Thomas Deluxe Grill to say hello to the parrots and eat some eggs, bacon and pancakes. Another day, I’d take them to West Midtown to have drinks on the JCT Kitchen & Bar patio, so we could listen to some live music. Then we’d head over to The Optimist and eat some delicious seafood. One day we would go down to Ponce City Market and let our moods dictate which place we get lunch in the food court – I love Marrakesh Mediterranean Kitchen. We’d also have to go to Krog Street Market in Inman Park for some lunch or dinner at Yalla. If you can’t tell, I’m all about that food.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There have been several people who have helped me on my journey thus far. There is a fellow registered dietitian, Tracy Brown, who has about 10 years or so more experience than I do in the same work. She mentored me and led a training I took that was pivotal in my career as a nutrition therapist. My parents, Leslie and John Young, have been nothing but encouraging and helpful to me along the way. My friends who went through grad school with me continue to express their belief in me – Alisha Virani, Lisa Janik and Letal Garber. My friend and colleague Amanda Marks has helped me open doors that have changed my professional life for the better. And I am forever grateful for all of the people who I have worked with and continue to refer their clients to me. Last but not least, I am endlessly grateful for all of my past and present patients and clients, who continue to show up, do the hard healing work and teach me more than I could have ever imagined.
Kasey Keown Patterson (headshot)