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Conversations with the Inspiring Emily Marr

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily Marr.

Emily, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My story is a pretty long, deep, and personal one- one that I hope to share in detail one day, but just not now. But I’ll give you the short version…

Hello! My name is Emily and I developed anorexia nervosa at the age of 13 that almost took my life. Looking back, it is hard to digest the fact that I was so young. To rewind, I grew up playing competitive soccer and was a dancer. I am a middle child, with an older brother who was born with down syndrome along with being completely deaf. My brother has always been very attached to me, and I found him always wanting to go to me vs my parents – so, I became my parent’s little helper. Through my perfectionist tendencies, people pleasing, “healthy eating” to be a better athlete (or what I thought), and the pressure I put on myself to help with my brother, I developed an eating disorder. I had learned the correlation between food, nutrition, mental health, and the power food and looks hold over society, and unfortunately the power it held over me.

Five years later, I had to pick a major for college. I knew I wanted to be a registered dietitian and work with mental health and eating disorders. I majored in food science and nutrition, and later on decided to minor in psychology. Luckily, through undergrad grad school and my dietetic internship, that never changed. I volunteered as a school mental health counselor, coordinated the first-ever national eating disorder awareness walk in my college town, worked in an eating disorder treatment facility post-undergrad, joined an eating disorder professionals group in grad school and lastly, did my masters project on primary care professionals lack of knowledge and understanding on how to screen and treat eating disorders. So, I would like to thank my past- even though I would not have chosen it- it happened for a bigger purpose and brought me the passion, heart, and love for this field and this career path!

Not going to lie- typical United States public education and my dietetic internship were rough advocating for eating disorders, intuitive eating, health at every size, and more. Our curriculum is so diet focused, calories in versus calories out, formula/calculation based, fat-phobic, etc. I hope to change that one day. I look up to all the other intuitive eating and eating disorder dietitians out there so much, and I am always trying to learn more and increase my skills in this field. I hope to never stop learning, growing, and helping others do the same.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Does anyone ever have a smooth road? Haha! I think if everything was smooth or easy, everyone would probably not be who they are or where they are right now.

Honestly, for me, the hardest times came after school- once you know you’re in the real world for good. Yeah, I had plenty of hard times before that, but I think when you can fall back on school, parents, guided structure… it’s a little different.

I always had dreams, big lofty goals, what I was going to do in the world of nutrition and mental health- but dreaming, and actually doing it are two very different things- and that fact was definitely slapped in my face once I was out of school.

School and my internship set me up for one path – clinical/hospital work- something I NEVER wanted to do. I did not learn other options. i.e- how to build a private practice, how to network, how to advertise yourself, how to set up insurance (for yourself and your clients), all the rules, regulations, and time that has to go into it.

I do not know about you readers, but my parents/family are old school- you get a structured 9-5 job that takes care of everything for you. You go to work and come home and you’re done. Well, I did not want that – my parents did not understand that concept and that there were other options.

So yeah, that has and still is my biggest struggle. Being my own advocate- to my parents, to everyone, to myself. Fighting for what I want, understanding this is a new, long, difficult process that is going to take time. Reaching out to anyone and everyone to make connections and learn from them. Taking it one day at a time and having faith in myself and the process… that my baby steps are good enough- I WILL get to where I want to be, and I am not going to let anyone else stop me… and you shouldn’t either!

Remember- it’s okay to ask for help, it’s okay to be making slow progress, it’s okay to be different or want different things than your family or friends. This is YOUR life; YOU decide how to live it!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into marrvelouseats nutrition story. Tell us more about it.
I’m currently working part-time at an eating disorder treatment center, a few substance abuse treatment centers, and trying to get my private practice off the ground.

My heart lies with mental health and nutrition- specifically eating disorders/disordered eating (orthorexia, “clean eating,” obsessive eating, etc.), anxiety/depression in regards to food, intuitive eating (and finding out what that actually means to you), and body kindness/ body positivity (learning to love yourself at every stage of life).

We all have our own unique journey. Whatever your past maybe, I’m here to show you that you’re not alone and hopefully help you gain confidence in finding your way to a better, happier, healthier life- emotionally, physically, socially, and beyond!

There is more to life than food, and there is more to food than calories!

I am not going to be the nutrition/food police- I am going to be your supporter, your cheerleader, and your friend. I am here to help you find balance, and learn to love yourself, life, and food again!

Who do you look up to? How have they inspired you?
I have many people that inspiring me- different people for different aspects and times of life… BUT there is only ONE woman that will be my forever and always an inspiration, and that is my mother.

Ok, this may be an obvious choice, but honestly, my mother is the strongest, kindest, most hard-working, passionate, and determined person I have and will ever know.

Let me try to explain why…
1. There was a lot of complications with my mother’s first pregnancy. My brother was not supposed to live through birth, but he did, and they found out he had down syndrome. Then, after a few weeks of being home, they found out he was 100% deaf- no earpiece would ever work. The first few years of his life were filled with sickness, doctors, physical therapists,… and the death of my dads dad (so much at once… plugging my dad too, love you always!)- but my mom never gave up, and my brother surpassed all doctor’s expectations.
2. My mom had to deal with my eating disorder- but she did all the research, gave me all the love and support, and NEVER once gave up on me.
3. My mom has to deal with my kind crazy extended family- she organizes all the parties, never forgets anyone’s B-Day, buys all the gifts- and is always there to help, support, talk to, and love everyone- she tries so hard to always be everyone else rock. I do not know how she does it.
… sorry that was long-winded. I can go into more detail, but you get the idea. My mom is my role model, my hero, my biggest supporter, my best friend. I hope to be half the person she is one day!

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