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About Melissa

REGISTERED DIETITIAN | CERTIFIED INTUITIVE EATING COUNSELOR

MY Story

I began my career as a Registered Dietitian in a hospital setting, but soon realized it wasn't the right fit for me. The idea of lecturing patients about nutrition while they were dealing with medications, pain, fear, sleep deprivation, or simply wanting to speak with the doctor and be discharged felt devoid of meaning. Please don't misunderstand me; acute care Dietitians provide a valuable service. I just knew that wasn't the path for me.

Moreover, I have numerous regrets from my time counseling patients with a weight-centric approach. Looking back, I can now see the harm I caused and the shame I unintentionally elicited among my patients. It makes me cringe whenever I reflect on the days when doctors would consult me to provide "weight loss education" to a patient... and I would comply. Oh, how much I've learned since then. I'm immensely grateful for the supervisors, colleagues, and other professionals who have guided me towards embracing Health At Every Size®, Intuitive Eating, and the anti-diet philosophy that I wholeheartedly believe in.

 

Just as I contemplated leaving the nutrition field, I decided to give it another chance and accepted a position at a Behavioral Health facility. Serendipitously, I found myself working on the Eating Disorder Unit, where I remained for over three years. It was there that I rediscovered the very essence of why I became a Dietitian in the first place: the meaningful work and the profound connections with my patients. Witnessing the transformative power of food in their lives reaffirmed my interest in the nutrition field and I knew I was onto something good.

 

However, I couldn't shake the feeling that I was merely scratching the surface with my clients. There was something missing, something obscured by the constraints of the level of care I was providing. Once my patients progressed and expressed readiness to delve deeper into the impact of food on their relationships with their bodies, social connections, movement, and every aspect of their lives, they would discharge. I realized it was time to follow them into the outpatient arena. In 2019, I joined an outpatient eating disorder Dietitian group practice, and since then, I've never looked back. It's a privilege to walk alongside my clients in the outpatient setting.

In 2022, I completed training to become a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. I started to notice a profound shift in the impact of my sessions with individuals. I felt more empowered to navigate the depths of the harms caused by diet culture and guide my clients towards authentic health. To extend my reach and help more individuals, I founded Relinquish Nutrition Counseling, LLC. Together, let's RELINQUISH... Dieting. Eating Disorders. Food Rules. Body Shame. And work towards something more. 

If I could have named my practice an entire sentence it would’ve been “Relinquish & Rediscover Your Authentic Self, A Peaceful Relationship With Food & Your Body, And So Much More, LLC.” That name was a little too long for all the business licensure forms. So let’s RELINQUISH… and all that follows.
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Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor

Bachelor of Science in Nutrition & Dietetics

Morrison Chartwells
Dietetic Internship

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Providing Medical Nutrition Therapy Since 2014

Eating Disorder Clinician
Since 2016

Voted Prince William's
Dietitian of the Year 2021

by InsideNoVa

Voted Prince William's
Dietitian of the Year 2024

by InsideNoVa

Melissa's Nutrition Philosophy

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