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Exploring Life & Business with Jourdain Watkins of Jourdain Watkins Nutrition

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jourdain Watkins.

Hi Jourdain, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
When I was a teenager, I suffered from an eating disorder. This not only introduced me to the profession of dietetics but also gave me the drive and passion for helping others overcome what I did. It was a long road to get where I am now, running a small virtual private practice.

After graduating from Northwest Missouri State University, I applied for a dietetic internship at The University of Kansas Medical Center, but I didn’t get accepted. It was one of the first significant road bumps I faced and made me question if I was going in the right direction.

I ended up moving back to Kansas City anyways and starting the master’s program at KUMC, hoping that this would boost my application the following year. Thankfully that year of hard work paid off because the next year, I was accepted. I continued to take classes toward my graduate degree while also completing the internship. I also worked part-time at a health care agency during these 2 years.

These were some of the most challenging 2 years I have faced. I relapsed with my eating disorder from personal and family conflicts, suffering from mental health, and the overwhelming pressure of grad school. I felt like a fake, spending my days learning about and educating others on nutrition while I was actively destroying myself. Thankfully, with the help and support of my then fiancé, my friends, and a wonderful therapist, I was about to come out of that time on the other side.

This only further drove my motivation for wanting to help others in their recovery and other areas of health and nutrition. I was set on the path to achieving this until we were faced with a global pandemic in the middle of my internship. So many opportunities were no longer available, and the health care landscape was changing rapidly. I pushed forward with virtual classes and online internships. Eventually, I sat for the national registered dietitian exam at the beginning of September, and to my surprise, I passed on the first try! I cried in the exam room full of total strangers. It was one of the first moments where I didn’t feel like an imposter, and I overcame so much to get to that moment.

Searching for a job at the height of the pandemic was challenging. I was applying for jobs every day, but I was getting very discouraged with such few job postings and so many people also needing jobs. After getting married that same September, I was ready to dive into a full-time job in nutrition.

And then, to add to it all, I got pregnant. I was so happy and blessed, but I was sick for months and unable to get out of bed. This put the job search got put on hold.

But after the birth of my daughter in the summer of 2021, I realized how much I craved a job with flexibility, the ability to work from home, and being able to spend time with my daughter. That is when Jourdain Watkins Nutrition was truly born.

After years of talking to my friends and family, I finally got the courage to start my business. Having my practice happen virtually is what truly made this possible. It has been an actual passion project. Making educational posts on Instagram, using my gen z humor to connect with people through TikTok, and building up a loyal client base has been more rewarding than I could ever imagine.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned? Would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It hasn’t always been a smooth road. My challenges with my eating disorder recovery lead to my almost dropping out of my dietetic internship. Without the support I received, I am not sure I would be a dietitian.

And starting your own business from scratch always has some struggles along with it. From figuring out the business side of things to trying to not get discouraged by slow growth. All of that coupled with figuring out motherhood and trying to navigate a global pandemic has made this a challenging journey.

That being said, it is all worth it when I see a little lightbulb of change happen for one of my clients.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Jourdain Watkins Nutrition?
Jourdain Watkins Nutrition is a virtual private practice. I focus primarily on disordered eating, body image, and diet culture recovery. But I also enjoy working with families, children, and pregnant and postpartum individuals. My goal is to support clients as they work towards their goals. I will not give them a copy and paste nutrition plan, but I will help guide them as much as they need. I love building a bond with my clients. When discussing disordered relationships with food, it can be hard to open up to someone truly. But when I can share my journey with them, it allows for a space where they can be open and vulnerable with their struggles.

Are there any books, apps, podcasts, or blogs that help you do your best?
My number 1 book recommendation is Intuitive Eating by Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole. I recommend this book to everyone I work with. This book opened my eyes to so many things personally and professionally.

Some other books that guide me and my nutrition practice are Sick Enough, Fearing the Black Body, and Killer Fat: Media, Medicine, and Morals in the American “Obesity Epidemic.”

I am also an avid lover of podcasts. Some of my favorites and ones I frequently recommend are Maitnence Phase, Food Psych, and Unlocking Us with Brene Brown.

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Taken By Tehya

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