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Hidden Gems: Meet Mary-Catherine LaBossiere of Defy Nutrition

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mary-Catherine LaBossiere.

Hi Mary-Catherine, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Growing up, I was a competitive athlete. In fact, I started competing at the age of 8. At that time, I was considered obese for my age. I channeled it as being the stronger of the girls, but in reality, my weight resulted in bullying and being told I was too slow, too fat to be a competitive athlete. I started paying attention to what I was putting into my body in middle school, but then took it too far and struggled with an eating disorder during my high school years.

While battling my own self-image issues, I lost a family member to a missed cancer diagnosis. She previously was told things like, “Well, if you just lose weight, XYZ symptoms will go away.” When the doctors finally found malignant tumors throughout her body, the oncologist identified that they had been growing for 1.5 to 3 years.

This family member was my mom, and she was eating everything I did. How was it possible that while I was at my lowest, unhealthiest weight, my mom – who was following the same diet and exercise regimen – could be dismissed as just too fat, just eating too much, and as a result, growing sicker by the day without anyone noticing? At that point, I decided I wanted a career on the prevention side of health. I used the unexpected loss of my mom to propel me forward.

I earned my degree in nutrition, became a registered dietitian, and then earned my master’s in public health. I became determined to never dismiss someone based on their weight, but instead to learn about them, their lifestyle, their family and then come up with an individualized nutrition plan. Today, I own and operate Defy Nutrition, where I treat each individual like the unique person they are and help them with their health goals through balanced, whole food nutrition.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I suppose it depends on how you define “it.” If we’re talking about the entrepreneurial journey, I would say it’s more of a rollercoaster ride than a smooth road. I’ve learned that there are always peaks and valleys to entrepreneurship. One day, you’re riding the high, as you help a client finally break through the diet mentality and attain food freedom, no longer labeling foods as “good” and “bad” but instead focusing on nourishing their mind and body. Another day, you’re struggling; I went to school for nutrition and public health, not business.

I’m a one-woman show. Some days it’s exhausting to do it all, from bookkeeping to social media to blog posts and actually showing up for clients. That being said, I embrace this rollercoaster ride because being a business owner has allowed me to show up as my best self and have the greatest impact on my clients’ lives.

We’ve been impressed with Defy Nutrition, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am a registered dietitian, and my business is Defy Nutrition. I specialize in emotional eating and helping individuals eat like human beings again. I also have my certificate in integrative and functional nutrition, so that I can help individuals with a variety of inflammatory and digestive issues.

I am most proud of the fact that I embrace food as part of the bigger picture and truly take an individualized approach – whether that’s through nutrition counseling or meal planning. For one client, that may look like eating an anti-inflammatory diet. For another client, it might be going through a fast-food menu together and figuring out which items fit best for their goals.

At Defy Nutrition, I help clients create sustainable habit changes and ditch the drastic, sure-to-fail-you diets that leave you feeling defeated. I offer individual nutrition counseling, customized meal plans, and group workshops. Workshop topics vary – from performance nutrition for military and first responders to fueling workouts for local gyms!

What matters most to you? Why?
This is such a tough question! On a daily basis, of course, my family matters most to me. I’m a wife and dog mom and wouldn’t have it any other way! In terms of the big picture, I value health – mental health, physical health, spiritual health, etc. I believe that to best take care of others, we need to prioritize ourselves. I also don’t want to just live a long life, but instead a healthy, high quality life.

Contact Info:

Image Credits

Timber and Spruce Photography, Mad Faith Photography

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