When human trafficking first came on my radar, I was in a state of disbelief + shock with a pinch of rage followed by a generous side of helplessness. But now I’ve shifted into a space of “what can I do and how can I help change this situation.”
I feel it’s our responsibility to do good in the world #OprahGoals and that our acts of generosity, kindness and love have a definite impact on the fabric of humanity. So why (!!!), how could this trafficking be a thing I innocently thought. It still plagues me that in my hometown of all places, the FBI has declared #ATL to be among the worst cities in the country for human trafficking. In fact, Atlanta is the number one city with the highest Sex Economy Income at a staggering $290 million per year. One of the talented Buckhead therapists I refer clients to is very active in the human traffic awareness community. She educated me that the Waffle House on Piedmont in Buckhead is where the majority of transactions to take place. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Trust me, you’ll never drive by and look at it the same with this awareness now.
As a previous bariatric dietitian* I worked with hundreds of clients who struggled with a disordered relationship with food directly related to the mental, emotional, and/or physical abuse they endured at a young age. And 95% of human trafficking victims experienced sexual abuse as children while the average age of a girl who enters into prostitution is between 11 and 14 years old. I don’t know about you, but I was having the big talk with myself at the tender age of 12 to put away my beloved Barbies by the time I turned a teenager. So I can’t imagine my 14-year old niece or ANY GIRL for that matter, being forced into sex prostitution at all. It’s just so heart-breaking and inhumane.
There are three areas of severe unbalance in our modern world I have always felt called to donate to: animals, the environment, and most recently human trafficking. For over twenty years I’ve been donating annually to Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) as well as various local animal rescue chapters. I don’t say that to be boastful because it’s usually only 5-7% of my annual salary and clearly not where I would like my level of benevolence to be, but it’s a start in the right direction. I share this with you for several reasons including:
a) I believe in business disclosure and transparency
b) for you to get a better understanding of my human and professional integrity
c) so that I can connect with others who share similar paths and
d) I feel that it is beneficial for future clients to understand where a portion of the money they pay for my services goes.
Some background on me and how I got to where I am: I am so incredibly grateful that I (finally) had the kahuna’s to leave a cushy, lucrative job in corporate America to earn a living following my true soul’s passion and purpose. I think the deeper, more spiritual side of why I struggled with food was because I knew from a young age that I was supposed to help a lot of people. Instead of cultivating that intuitive wisdom and doing the deeper (much harder) work, I made the choice to numb that unsettled feeling with food + other addictive tendencies to hide. To play small. To play safe.
That worked until I had my big personal epiphany/painfully hard reality check about where I was in my life which BTW happened to take place in my bathroom mirror one day after work. I have a story about that moment in time I’ll share someday.
And my personal journey, oh, it’s colorful with a lot of interesting stories and learning lessons, has shaped this passionate desire to help others cultivate true peace with not only food, but also their amazing body so they can connect to themselves on a more intentional and mindful level.
I want to take the opportunity in this blog space to personally thank each April 15, 2019 participant for joining the 30-Day Mindful Eating Challenge. I just donated 5% of the profits from the challenge to Beloved Atlanta (a local non-profit organization committed to helping women thrive after being subjected to prostitution, trafficking and addiction). It’s a baby step in the right direction. As the Nutrition Atlanta 30-Day Mindful Eating Challenge grows, I am excited to strive towards my personal and professional goal to “be the change” even on a small scale. So for both the participants and corporation currently in the middle of the challenge, a BIG thank you for your contribution to making our world a better, more mindful place!
Let’s all do our part to be the change we wish to see,
*I still enjoy working with pre- and post-op weight loss surgery patients. Instead of prepping them for surgery teaching them diet behaviors, I focus on cultivating sustainable mindful eating skills. This paradigm shift helps them either lose the weight naturally and avoid surgery OR they are 110% prepped for the pre and post-op experience in a more mindful manner.