LIVE LIFE WITH LEXY PENNEY
Updated: May 23
Lexy Penney is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Body Image Coach, and yoga teacher in Boston, MA with a mindful and intuitive eating approach. She helps people heal and transform their relationship with food and their bodies to live their best lives and feel empowered. It’s her absolute passion to help people make peace with food and improve their body image so they can focus on more important things in life like chasing their dream job, falling in love, and saying YES to the life they want.
Can you talk to us how you got into your current career?
I grew up with a close family member in a larger body and was horrified at how he was treated by society, his doctors, and even other family members. This means I learned at a young age that the world is experienced differently based on your body size. I went to school to become a dietitian to help prevent people from being in larger bodies but what I learned along the way in my career is that we actually need to focus on something else as healthcare providers. Which is creating empowering, safe spaces for people of all sizes to find healthy relationships with food and their bodies. No one ever became their best selves through shame, blame, guilt, or bullying! In working with clients, we prioritize helping them develop a healthier relationship with food and their bodies and de-prioritize the importance of weight loss. This may sound contrary to the mainstream message and that's because it is! Our society is obsessed with thinness at all costs which results in LOTS of people doing lots of disordered things with food to try to fit unrealistic body ideals they were never meant to fit. When clients heal their relationships with food and their bodies, they are TRULY able to live their lives to the fullest. I want more of that for people and our society
. The short of it is that I became a dietitian, worked in various settings (hospital inpatient, outpatient oncology, sales, and more) and opened my own private practice in 2017. I've never looked back! I love my job, what I do, and working for myself SO much! What is your most proud moment?
Honestly whenever a client messages me that they went out to dinner and ordered exactly what they wanted and enjoyed it, or they wore a bathing suit to the beach, or started dating or they stopped obsessing over food and feel more present in their lif, those are my proud moments! I'm just so happy for them! Lots of people say they won't do x y or z until they lose weight. Or they can't focus on anything else but obsessing over food. But by helping them develop more positive body image and a healthier approach towards food, they end up doing all those things and more instead of letting how they feel about their bodies or food hold them back from living their best life. I don't want people getting to the end of their life and thinking, "I wish I lived more fully." What have you struggled with that you were able to overcome?
I'm a sober alcoholic (sober since March 2014, whoo hoo!) and this is probably my biggest struggle that I've overcome in my life so far. There's such a huge stigma around alcoholics and a lot of assumptions around what it means to be an alcoholic. I hope to break some of that stigma by sharing my story openly and honestly. Towards the end of my drinking I was in a jetski accident in Mexico and almost died. It was really bad. It was hard for me to admit I had a problem and accept help - especially getting sober at age 25 - but it's literally the best thing I could have ever done for myself. I thought getting sober at 25 my life was over, but really it was just beginning! I became a yoga teacher, opened my business, have traveled a TON, went skydiving, and now i'm going back to grad school to become a therapist. When I put my recovery first, remarkable things happen in my life and I know i'm just getting started! My biggest advice to anyone struggling with alcoholism and addiction is to hold on, pain ends and ask for help! How are you staying motivated this year?
I've changed my focus away from motivation actually. I've worked with clients for over a decade on health behavior change and have read pretty much any book I can get my hands on that talks about habits which has informed my approach to motivation. I think humans in general struggle with motivation, but especially myself. I rarely feel motivated enough to do anything honestly! I'm more into the idea of discipline but not in a militant way, more so a supportive "this is going to make you feel better or move you forward" way. I combine this with values work aka: "how are my actions lining up with what I say is important to me and what small daily shifts can I make to align those better?" I'm also a big fan of what's called "habit stacking" which is pairing something you may not be super excited to do (for me - cooking) with something you DO like to do (listening to music.) In a simpler sense, in work and my career specifically, what keeps me motivated/disciplined to keep moving forward is the light that comes on in someone's eyes during our work together. It motivates me to keep creating resources, tools, programs, and support options to help as many people as possible. Also organization is key! I use a Passion Planner that helps my ADD brain stay organized and moving forward without overwhelming me. Did you ever have a routine that you had to break or implement to keep you on track?
Yes! I'm a HUGE fan of my morning and night routine. Keep in mind - in my drinking days these looked like a HOT MESS! So no worries for wherever you're at (the reader!) It took me years to develop a supportive morning and night routine and I obviously have my phases where i'm not as on top of it, but that's okay, that's life! My morning routine starts actually the night before when I put my phone in the other room (like the kitchen) and set my actual, real alarm clock for the next day. With the invention of social media it's SO easy to just pick up your phone as soon as your eyes open and scroll. But then you're letting social media impact how you start your day and how you feel going into your day which I don't like. Right when I wake up, I brush my teeth obviously and then go make a coffee. I prefer french press or pour over because it feels more intentional than a machine but that's just me! I either go out on the porch or sit on my couch to drink my coffee with no other distractions. This is my time to just get centered, check in with myself and how i'm feeling, think about my day, and set any intentions. Often times I get business ideas during this time! Then I meditate for 5-10 minutes, and again - lots of business ideas come up during this! Then I read a few pages of a spiritual or self-help book, journal for a bit, and then start my day. At night after I put my phone in the other room, I like to make tea and read an actual physical book before bed. It helps me wind down and drift off peacefully! Biggest tip you can give someone just starting out?
a.) Try to have some sort of financial safety net. I know people in the career world often say to just jump and the net will appear but for me personally I needed a financial safety net (some money to fall back/live on.) I needed this for a few reasons. One, it allowed me to be truly creative and work from an inspired place. If I was worrying about money I would've felt too stressed to create. Two, it allowed me to make smart business decisions vs. just working with anyone or taking anything that came my way. I saved about $10-15,000 and lived on that for my first few months getting started and it made a huge difference for me. B.) Don't wait until you're ready. You will probably never feel ready. There may be certain logistics you need to figure out (money, time, etc) but don't let how you FEEL about getting started (nervous, anxious, not ready) hold you back. Just start anyways even if you don't feel 100% ready! Who gives you the best advice when it comes to your career?
My dad! It makes me tear up when I think about how much he has helped me. He's my #1 fan, biggest cheerleader, and SO supportive. He's always believed in me especially when i've had a hard time believing in myself! He's been in business for himself for 49 years (since he was in high school!) and so he's been SO helpful with advice from all angles. I've also worked with a few business coaches and done a few coaching programs. Huge shoutout to Laura Schoenfeld's NBA Program for helping nutrition professionals attract, convert, and serve their clients in ways that align with their values and the kind of business they want to run. Are there any upcoming projects you're working on that you can share with us?
Right now I'm building out an online course that mimics the exact process I bring 1:1 clients through. It will allow people to work at their own pace, on their own time to develop healthier relationships with food and their bodies. I'm super excited about that! Career mantra?!
I have 3 I think haha! Help as many people as possible Life is too short to measure peanut butter. Don't wait for imposter syndrome to go away because it probably won't. Just keep moving forward and following your gut - it will never steer you wrong. Where can the readers follow all of the moves you're making?
Instagram! It's where I'm most active: https://www.instagram.com/lexypenney/