Who is Megan Salazar, RD CSSD?

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Photo courtesy of Afton L Dains Photography

I realized the other day that I haven’t really taken the opportunity to introduce myself and give my background to you. I have a lot that goes into why I do what I do and how that impacts everything.

Currently, I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with Board Certification in Sports Dietetics (CSSD).  I have a Bachelor in Dietetics from the University of Northern Colorado, as well as a Bachelor in Psychology from the University of Colorado (GO BUFFS!). I have 6 years experience with coaching individuals towards their goal of weight management, sports performance (like Half and Full Ironmans), gut health improvement, disease management, and hormone balancing.

But 10 years ago I was just starting my second Bachelor degree (the dietetics one) which led me to where I am today. The reason I started that degree is because 12 years ago I had just been diagnosed with fibromyalgia after multiple tests to try to figure out why my hands (especially my left) were constantly tingling and sometimes in pain. The doctors started me off with muscle relaxers and nerve blockers, all while I was downing NSAIDS (like ibuprofen) on a daily basis with no knowledge or education of what that could do to my body. I kept going back to the doctor complaining of the side effects of the meds (like insatiable appetite and weight gain) to which they responded with the testing. They thought I might have Multiple Sclerosis, so off to the MRI I went. That came back negative, so a trip to the neurologist was next with an EMG and nerve test. Inconclusive. So the neurologist insisted that I had fibromyalgia.

Mind you, I have little medical knowledge at this point, but from what I understood, fibromyalgia was a catch-all. To me, it was a we-don’t-know-what’s-going-on-but-can’t-call-you-crazy-so-here’s-a-diagnosis-diagnosis. Not to undermine people who do have issues consistent with fibromyalgia, but it was a brush off to me. I was devastated.

I had been discussing all of these issues with my dad, a very knowledgeable family physician who tried the Adson’s test (in short – hand on pulse while hand is down by side, then hand is raised above head to see what happens to pulse). My pulse went away quickly and completely. This is more indicative of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome – which would also explain the tingling/numbness/pain. Main therapy is muscle activation/relaxation of certain muscles surrounding the shoulders. So while I am still in constant pain, I have learned better ways to deal with it – like chelated magnesium for muscle relaxation and curcumin to reduce inflammation, along with stretching, massage, and strengthening of the supportive muscles.

After all of this, I decided to make a change to my nutrition and started a popular weight loss program. I lost some weight on this, but decided that I didn’t really like the quality of the food that the program was recommending, so I started tracking my own calories with even more success – losing 30 pounds through it all. At this point, I was hooked on the process and knew that this was a new career path that I wanted to take (since my current one in the finance industry wasn’t very rewarding). I went back to school while working full-time to get my second Bachelor in Dietetics. It took me a while to get into an internship, but I fully enjoyed my varied experiences in a dialysis center, within a hospital, writing for a vegetarian group, working in a long-term care facility, and finally working in a school disctrict. It was the work within the school district that ignited a passion in teaching others what and how to eat properly. In that position and at my first job in a long-term care facility, I began to have a growing passion that I wanted to impact adults in order to impact the families around them.

For the next 6 years, I worked in a large fitness facility doing nutrition coaching of a variety of adults and metabolic conditions. I increased my knowledge further by learning how to do resting and active metabolic assessments using an indirect calorimeter, assessing someone’s basal metabolic rate or their heart rate zones, respectively. I also did some independent study to pass the test to become a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD).

In those 6 years, I also went through the joy (and pain) of having 2 kids. Along with working full-time, I was pretty well exhausted – my sleep was starting to suffer, I wasn’t losing the weight after my second like I did after my first. I tried going low carb, then tried keto – only to have these back-fire on me with blood sugar that was on average too low. This can actually be more detrimental to health than high blood sugar. In this blood test, there were several indicators that my zinc was too low as well. I decided that it was best for MY body to implement more carbs again and once I did I began to gain back normal function again, in addition to losing some weight. Right now my goal is to grow a healthy baby, due in February 2019.

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Photo by Afton L Dains Photography

 

My own experience with my health has taught me over and over that there is not one right diet for everyone. And that there is a time and a place to implement certain dietary challenges – whether it be to improve blood levels or to decrease weight. Factors that affect this time and place are stress, lifestyle, time, personality, and desire.

This brings me to where I am today – I am committed to helping women get out of the revolving door of diets through science-based behavioral coaching. Including myself, so many women try several different types of diets to not see results, have the weight come back or gain more weight than they lost initially. I want to help them, and YOU, stop the cycle. Sorting through all of the information (and much of it misinformation) out there can be exhausting and you need someone by your side to walk you through the fire.

Published by Megan Salazar, RDN CSSD

Megan Salazar is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with over 8 years experience with coaching individuals towards more healthful lives. She loves sharing the potential greatness that individuals can achieve through food, movement and lifestyle. When she's not working with individuals or learning more, she is at home with her husband, 3 kids, and 2 dogs. She loves cooking, baking, and exercising.

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