We had the good fortune of connecting with Katy Zanville and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Katy, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I decided to take the biggest risk of my life and change my career at 30 years old. I was working at Sprinkles Cupcakes as their General Manager and, while I loved working for that company and spent 10 formative years of my life with them, I wanted to pursue a career that I was more passionate about. At that time, I had a bachelor’s degree in nutrition but did not want to get my credentials as a registered dietitian (RD) because I didn’t feel like I fit in with other RDs. It wasn’t until I started seeing like-minded dietitians in the anti-diet/intuitive eating space that I decided to go back to school, get a master’s degree in nutrition, and start on a new journey as a registered dietitian. When taking a risk, I outweigh the pros and cons. I could have stayed in my food service role, with the security and benefits it provided, but I was not feeling satisfied or energized with my day-to-day responsibilities. With my new career as a non-diet dietitian, I experience the joy of helping people find satisfaction in food and eating while living healthy, well-rounded lives—to me, that is priceless.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
In 2008, I graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in nutrition and culinary science. I never felt like I fit in with the other dietetic students, however. While they were counting calories, writing down every morsel of food that they ate, and shaming me for not eating leafy greens every day, I was more interested in thinking about what I was cooking for dinner that night. Or where to find the best chocolate chip cookie. I saw no shame in eating dessert. Case in point, after graduating from college, I started working at the original cupcake bakery, Sprinkles. I often (and I mean often) got asked how I could work at a cupcake bakery after studying nutrition for 4 years. My answer? Why wouldn’t I? My philosophy is that all foods fit and no food should be labeled “bad”. After 8 years of working as the General Manager at Sprinkles and traveling around the country opening up new bakeries, I felt that I hit a wall. I wasn’t feeling challenged and I missed learning. It wasn’t until I discovered Intuitive Eating that I decided to change careers at 30 years old and finally become a registered dietitian. I had found my people. Intuitive Eating rejects the idea that you need to follow external diets telling you what, when, and how much to eat. We are all born with the innate guidance telling us what our body needs for optimal health. Intuitive Eating also helps people find peace with food and movement in a way that is not restrictive or rigid. Health is also not determined by the size or weight of your body, rather it is based on how you feel and your health behaviors. While in graduate school, I stayed on as the Recruiter for Sprinkles and worked as a part-time assistant to a media dietitian. I became a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and trained with the founders of Intuitive Eating, Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole. This training and my decision to get a master’s in nutrition sets me apart from nutritionists people might see online. Dietitians need to complete a core curriculum in addition to 900 hours of supervised practice. I completed my dietetic internship at the #4 hospital in the country, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where I worked with patients with different health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, renal disease, and eating disorders. If I obtained my credentials when I graduated from college in 2008, I don’t think I would have been as satisfied in my career as I am today. I think it’s so important to find a niche and passion within your field, especially when you are working with helping people. I currently see clients virtually through a group private practice called Nashville Nutrition Partners while also doing consulting and speaking engagements through my business, Katy Zanville Nutrition.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Full disclosure—I just moved back home to Los Angeles after spending the last ten years in New York City. I definitely miss the pizza and bagels from New York (sorry! they are the best!) but I was happy to learn that Prince Street Pizza just opened up in LA. I’m not as up-to-date on the cool new restaurants and bars, so I’d stick to the classics. I would want to give a well-rounded experience to my visiting friend by showing them how vast LA is. I love to go hiking in Malibu and if the weather is right, a dip in the Pacific. Cameron Nature Preserve at Puerco Canyon has free street parking, easy access to trails, and a gorgeous view. Perhaps a bite to eat at Neptune’s Net or a delicious fruit cup with lime and salt from a street vendor. We would take the PCH back and drive through Santa Monica, preferably with the windows down. We have to hit up Grand Central Market and eat our way through from vendor to vendor—pupusas, ramen, donuts, 5 avocados for a dollar. Next, we would soak up some art at the Broad Museum, stroll through Olvera Street and Chinatown, and end with shopping for Japanese groceries in Little Tokyo. Hopefully, we are hungry again and can grab a French dip sandwich at Philippe’s. Lastly, I would want to show them around my hood, The Valley. Coffee and tea from Coffee Fix, tacos from Birrieria San Marcos, Greek food from The Great Greek, and a cozy drink at Foxfire Room.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Personally, my family was incredibly supportive during my career transition. The encouragement I received from my aunt, parents, and sister during this time helped me stay sane and focused at a time when everything was up in the air. I’m also grateful for discovering Intuitive Eating, a book and movement started by two registered dietitians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. This approach was a game-changer to me and I never would have become a dietitian if I didn’t find this non-diet community.
Other: For nutrition counseling, check out my group private practice: https://www.nashvillenutritionpartners.com/