Hi there! I’m Rachael, a registered dietitian who really, really, really loves food. My motto? If it looks good, eat it. That’s right, I eat everything with no food rules. Well, except for papaya. I really hate papaya. It's my goal as a dietitian to help you live a life free of food rules too.
Overall, I have developed a peaceful relationship with food. But that wasn't always the case.
My parents instilled a love of food in me at a young age – they were foodies before foodie was even in our vocabulary. They exposed me to lots of new flavors and cuisines. With the exception of a month-long stretch when I only ate foods starting with the letter “P,” I was a very normal eater.
Despite this, I fell victim to diet culture in my teenage years, thanks to a combination of anxiety, perfectionism, and poor body image. Later as a nutrition student, and then dietitian, the pressure to eat “perfectly” only grew more intense. While my eating habits looked like that of a normal college student on the outside, on the inside I was constantly wrapped up in shame over what I should or shouldn’t eat. Looking back, I feel grateful that it never spiraled into a more serious eating disorder. I really think it was my love of food that saved me, along with a deeply rooted understanding that food is more than fuel.
Thankfully, with my background in psychology, I quickly realized as I started working as a dietitian that rules, guidelines, and rigidity wasn't the answer. The key to real health and wellness was dropping the obsession with the number on a scale, nurturing a healthy relationship with food, and making food choices from a place of nourishment and pleasure, not deprivation. I learned everything I could about intuitive eating, eating psychology, and body acceptance. That’s when I began to integrate these non-diet approaches into both my practice and my personal life. Somewhere along the way, I made peace with food.
In 2014, I launched my private practice as a place to focus on non-diet nutrition and wellness. I use a mind-body approach that incorporates nutrition, self care, and body acceptance. Through compassion and creating a safe place for all bodies, I want help others redefine health and discover their own path to wellness and food peace.
Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, is a Columbia, SC-based nutrition therapist, certified intuitive eating counselor and nationally-recognized food and nutrition expert. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Human Nutrition and a Bachelors of Art in Psychology from Clemson University. After completing her dietetics internship at Emory University, she worked as a clinical dietitian and, later, as the outpatient dietitian for a large medical center where she provided individual nutrition counseling and led multidisciplinary disease management programs. In 2014, Rachael opened her private practice, where she specializes in intuitive eating, disordered eating, women's health, and digestive disorders. She also runs the popular food and wellness blog The Joy of Eating. As a trusted voice in the dietetics field, she collaborates with like-minded brands for recipe development and nutrition communications. She is active in her field, currently serving as the president of her local dietetics association, and previously served as the newsletter editor for the Nutrition Entrepreneurs dietetic practice group.