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Meet Trailblazer Danielle DeGroot

Today we’d like to introduce you to Danielle DeGroot.

Danielle, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Growing up, I struggled with my body image and weight, as many women do. I had always enjoyed dance, yoga and being active, but it wasn’t until right before I went to college that I decided to change my diet. I was meticulous with my diet and lost a lot of weight. Physically, I felt great, but mentally I was obsessed with food and didn’t have much of a social life. During college, I finally had enough of the struggle and decided to change my major to nutrition, so I could learn the science behind food. I completed a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics and went on to complete my Master of Science in Nutrition and Wellness. I then sat for the exam to become a Registered Dietitian. Today, I have a much healthier and happier relationship with food.

In a similar fashion, my love for the physical aspects of yoga grew, but I wanted to learn more about it. That’s when I decided to become a Certified Yoga Teacher. I combined these two passions and careers to creating Dietitian Gone Wild, a holistic health business. I offer nutrition counseling, meal planning and yoga for one-on-one consultations or for corporate and community wellness events and programs!

My social media following increased largely in part due to a reality show I was on. Although my intention going on the show was unrelated to my passions and career, I try to use the social media presence to promote things I am truly passionate about and believe in.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Honestly, to become a dietitian, you do have to go through a lot of hoops! Once you complete an undergraduate program, you must match with an internship program and those can be highly competitive. After the completion of an internship, you must sit and pass the RD exam.

Learning to start a business on my own was a bit of struggle, as well. I had no idea where to begin! I managed to figure it out with the help of a lot of internet research and some helpful friends. I’m still learning as I go!

There were also the struggles of being on a reality show and having a large social media following overnight. For instance, learning to deal with the infamous “trollers” and trying to separate my business and who I am as a person from the TV persona.

My advice for other women looking to become a dietitian would be to get work experience while in school to make yourself a prime candidate for an internship. I’d also advise anyone who wants to build their social media following to prepare themselves with thick skin and know that it may take some time. It can be quite difficult to build a large social platform organically, but then you will have a group that’s following you because they truly are invested and interested in what you are putting out there.

If you’re someone interested in becoming a yoga instructor, I’ll let you know there was a time I never thought I was good enough to be an instructor. I’m still learning as I go, but I’m really proud of myself for going for it and accomplishing that goal. I love teaching now!

Overall, the best advice I can offer is to just start where you’re at and always remain a student. Continue to learn and grow as you go.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Dietitian Gone Wild – what should we know?
I currently work full time as a Registered Dietitian for a dialysis company, part-time as a yoga instructor and I work part-time with Dietitian Gone Wild doing events, consulting and social media influencing. I’m proud of all of these for different reasons, but Dietitian Gone Wild is my baby as it’s something I created purely to fulfill my passion. Despite being a dietitian, I don’t believe in diets. I do believe that being mindful, in diet and through yoga and meditation, are the keys to finding balance and living a holistically healthy lifestyle.

So much of the media coverage is focused on the challenges facing women today, but what about the opportunities? Do you feel there are any opportunities that women are particularly well positioned for?
Women do face many challenges, but we are strong and pushing back! I feel like there are so many opportunities women are well positioned for. We’re nurturing and empathetic, but also strong. I think women can find a way to excel in pretty much anything we want, but from my personal experience, women stand out in the health and wellness field because of these great qualities.

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