Author Archives: Robyn Kievit Kirkman

My Interview with Jessie Diggins

I recently read Jessie Diggins’ book, Brave Enough, which is about her life, sport and recovery from an eating disorder. I have been captivated by her story ever since, which led me to want to interview her for EDAW.

Jessie’s legacy is that she was the first to win a cross-country skiing gold medal for the United States, capturing the title in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games. Just a few years prior to her win, however, Jessie was battling bulimia. With the help of her family and The Emily Program, she entered recovery.

Jessie spoke to me from Europe where she has been training for the World Cup. She shared wonderful lessons pertaining to food, nutrition and recovery – and life in general – during our conversation. The following powerful messages from Jessie are the most notable to me:

  • “I remember learning that my eating disorder was not my fault,” Jessie shared. Imagine that – feeling as though you are somehow to blame for this disorder. Jessie described the shame and guilt attached to her ED, which is all too common in my ED clients.
  • “You do not have to be perfect to achieve happiness, be worthy of love, and achieve success in life.” Jessie says this self-acceptance actually helped her let go of striving for perfection and helped her win the Olympics!
  • “Reaching out for help is a show of strength!” Yes, Jessie! I 100% agree. Reaching out for help and support on your path to ED recovery is incredibly brave.
  • “Take time for self care.” Jessie talks about what she likes to do for fun including spending time in her vegetable and herb garden, cooking, and remodeling her Boston-area condo. Right now she is currently planning her wedding! Taking time to tune into your passions and tune out your ED are therapeutic.

Jessie truly is ‘Brave Enough’. Listen to my full interview with her here.

Joyful Holiday Eating


Can eating during December while at holiday parties at home or work, and neighborhood or religious organizations be joyful?

For all of my readers, I certainly hope so! One of my current clients who is trying to lose and maintain weight to keep from succumbing to a genetic predisposition to diabetes, thoughtfully signed his latest email to me ‘Sincerely and staying away from desserts, Kevin.’ I definitely laughed at his humor and sarcasm!

If one of the ways to commit to daily, healthful nutrition and exercise is all or nothing- we’re missing something and this just might be the ‘joy’ of this particular season.

In a past newsletter I referenced a dietitian I know professionally who suggests to her patients struggling with overweight to ‘Look to thrive during the holidays’ – instead of depriving oneself. Going into a food situation with a positive mindset helps in two ways.

Positive thoughts about food help you respond to others comments positively. Thus not succumbing to food or body shaming. Positive mindset also sets the tone and allows you to attract even more positive – that’s win-win during what for some is a tricky time of year.

If  you’re wedded to a ‘diet’ of sorts over the holidays, look here at another past newsletter I wrote suggesting putting fad diets in your stocking but choosing only those with credence for being healthfully sound and achieving results. This year’s top diet winners, according to US News & World Report, are here.

Try to keep the true fads or cleanses at bay this month; although most of the time these begin in January! Stay committed to your own personal exercise plan, maintain healthy food in the house, when asked – bring healthy food to work and to parties (and then eat it yourself!), opting to enjoy what’s offered realizing that this time of year is short and does not last.

If you’re in the mood for a personal gift to yourself, choose a MisFitor a FitBit to keep track of your steps. An even less expensive method to tracking steps is an app for your phone measuring the same. Getting in 10,000  steps a day (every day!) with or without other exercise on top is key for weight loss and maintenance.

In our home, there are always clementine’s and apples on the kitchen counter in December (studies show if the fruit is out the kids will eat it!). We are an active family with exercise a part of our daily routine.

I need to keep variety in my weekly exercise plan to avoid boredom so my week looks like P90X and/or Insanity (aerobic class), Pilates, Barre, hot power yoga, another lifting/stretching/aerobic exercise session and a lot of walking – so about 5 days a week for at least 1 hour a day!

I also strive to get in 2 liters of water a day in addition to the tea I love in the winter months and am totally committed to a total of 5 fruits and veggies a day in addition to the right amount of protein, fat & carbohydrates otherwise throughout the day to fuel my body and mind. Commitment, yes. Obsessing, no!

If you’re thinking of beginning a new nutrition program for yourself or your family OR working with what you have already started, I do offer gift certificates and would be more than happy to help you treat  that special recipient (or yourself!).

Wishing you and yours all the joys of the holiday season!