Connect
To Top

Inspiring Conversations with Cat Dillon, RHN

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cat Dillon, RHN.

Cat, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Like myself, many health + behavioral practitioners have experienced some sort of wellness issue of their own. My journey began pretty early in life, and it started with food and fitness.

AGE 8 – I started cooking, teaching my mom how to use healthier ingredients that I heard about on public television.

AGE 13 – I found the gym – Pam’s Figure-tique! (Laughable now!!)

AGE 15 – Dance became my best escape!

AGE 17 – I became a fitness instructor and started my own business.

I had dreams of becoming a food scientist, and it was all so wonderful. Until it became obsessive.

It was the Jane Fonda era. “Slender” was IN! Fat was BAD. I became obsessed with macrobiotic dieting and limiting my fat intake. I counted my calories on a yellow sticky pad.

As an only child in a home with an alcoholic parent, I lived in a constant state of fear. My disordered eating patterns were born out of this highly chaotic childhood. I controlled food when I could control nothing else. My school days were traumatizing, and I was threatened, bullied, teased, and ignored throughout middle and high school. I developed ways to keep myself busy, my mind occupied, and my feelings of body insecurity hidden away in a dark corner of my being.

Fast forward to my college years, where I was studying nutrition and dietetics at SFSU. Yet here I was, underfed, bloated, itchy from chronic eczema, and constantly getting sick! I was filling up on chalky pastel-colored TUMS, slathering myself in topical steroids, not knowing (yet) that the only person truly committed to finding the root causes of my maladies would be ME.

With one degree completed, I stepped right into a master’s program in nutrition. But something felt wrong, and I knew that the unbending old-school methods being taught were not what I needed. I changed gears and began pursuing a new and better calibrated dream. It wasn’t until I decided to separate myself from the conventional and non-individualistic nutritional science model that things began to click.

So I went to culinary school to become a chef.

I explored all of the sensual and artistic aspects of eating. I learned about classical French cooking, breads, and pastries (which was amazing), but at the same time, began to let go of the idea that food’s beauty and importance was only found in foie gras and mille-feuilles.

I leaned in to celebrating food, pouring all of my passion into meals with a wide array of colors and nutrients. And just like that, I began slowly letting go of my obsessive behaviors.

My 25 years in the culinary industry was rewarding + successful but brutal. The sleepless nights and crazy work hours were so out of alignment with the balance and wellness I was always looking for. My desire for something different landed me in Vancouver at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition.

While there, I added a beautiful array of holistic education to my tool kit, which broadened my scope AND provided me with even more insights into how I could heal my own gut and skin issues.

The philosophy of holistic nutrition is that our health is an expression of the complex interplay between the physical/chemical, mental/emotional, and spiritual/environmental aspects of one’s life and being. Holistic nutritionists approach health and healing from a whole-person perspective.

I went on to receive my advanced Registered Holistic Nutritionist designation and later my certifications as a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner, Transformational Life Coach, and Food and Spirit Practitioner. I finally felt a higher level of confidence when addressing all aspects of my clients’ (and my own) personal health and wellness issues.

Not only did I begin seeing results in my clients’ body measurements and lab results, but in their self-awareness, confidence, balance, creativity, productivity, and life satisfaction as a whole.

One thing always leads to another, right? I didn’t stop there.

I became fascinated with the energetics of food, breathwork, and meditation. With the neuroscience of mindfulness and stress reduction for health, creativity, and production. As a trauma-informed holistic nutritionist, I am deeply sympathetic to (and keenly aware of) the nervous system’s role in our health. My own struggles enabled me to ask about and investigate the connections between adverse childhood conditions and wellness struggles, and I place a deep importance on this aspect of whole-person wellness as a result.

My life today is so full, vibrant, and satisfying. I get to wake up each day and use my hard-earned superpowers to help others create a solutions roadmap for their gut, mood, and weight issues…and I do it by looking at all dimensions of their person.

The food component of my work is where I truly stand out from the “healing crowd”. I am here to equip others with the ability to know and understand the ingredients they use, how food makes them feel, and how to feel in control.

It’s amazing how much better people feel when they know how to shop and what to stock. There is so much food/wellness pressure and tension for folks at every stage of health. I am here to take the struggle away from “trying to live more healthfully” by working together with my clients to rebalance their internal and external environments.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Never a smooth road! I wouldn’t have want it to be … I love challenges and find boredom easily.

I guess my most memorable challenges was when I first started cooking in an all male kitchen and worked my way up the totem pole. There were lots of interesting attitudes about being “fresh out of school” and a girl. That was short-lived because I ended up loving working with “the dudes”.

One challenge I’ll remember forever is starting my nutrition practice and having 0 business knowledge. How do I find clients? What am I going to charge? Do I have enough knowledge? What do I say in a consultation??. I’ve worked through a lot of it, but I will say I am humbled daily by so many great minds in our wellness field.

Collectively, us health entrepreneurs rarely feel that we’re happy where we are in our businesses. We want to serve better, be unique, have the most up to date research, skills and insights!

Staying hungry, though, keeps the excitement. It keeps us going, reading, learning about ourselves and finding new ways to help our community! Now I have a full practice with amazing clients and am in the process of writing my first book.

I never thought, or felt confident, that I could organize, produce and host my own online summit with 26 global experts! What a task.! And now I’ve done 5 of them… Honestly., I surprise myself much of the time! hehe

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am a trauma-informed holistic nutritionist, meaning I am extremely aware of the nervous system’s role in our health. My own struggles enabled me to ask about and investigate the connections between adverse childhood conditions and wellness struggles, and I place a deep importance on this aspect of whole-person wellness as a result.

I help others create a solutions roadmap for their gut, mood, and weight issues by looking at all dimensions of their person using written and lab assessments, honest dialogue, food and mood journaling, and a step into somatic exercise.

The food component of my work is where I truly stand out from the “healing crowd”. As a chef and nutritionist, I am here to equip others with the ability to know and understand the ingredients they use, how food makes them feel, and how to feel in control.

It’s amazing how much better people feel when they know how to shop and what to stock. There is so much food/wellness pressure and tension for folks at every stage of health. I am here to take the struggle away from “trying to live more healthfully” by working together with my clients to rebalance their internal and external environments.

Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
Something surprising that most people who know me and my work is that when I was 23, I taught English on RAINY summer in a rural village in Kyoto. I fell in love with the people, culture and FOOD!!

I even got to experience home life in Maizuru (including miso soup and fish for breakfast), learned how to make okonomiyaki (Japanese-styled seafood pancake), slept on traditional tatami, experienced a flood, a fire AND was introduced to iced coffee in a can.

Contact Info:

Suggest a Story: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in Local Stories