Business Story: Jennifer Neale, Registered Dietitian

by Dawid Furman
Jennifer Neale, Registered Dietitian

What’s your business and who are your customers?

I am a Registered Dietitian and the owner of Nutrition IQ Inc., which offers virtual nutrition counseling and dietetic services across Ontario, Canada. I specialize in women’s health, Intuitive Eating, and helping women repair their relationships with food and rediscover the joy in eating. I use a weight-inclusive approach in my practice, and I believe strongly that weight is not indicative of overall health.

In addition to one-on-one virtual counseling, I also run a group program called the Nourished Mama. The Nourished Mama is designed to walk busy moms through the process of Intuitive Eating. This program teaches moms how to become Intuitive Eaters, how to apply the principles of Intuitive Eating to family meals, and how to eat in a way that feels nourishing and sustainable. It also provides access to an amazing community of other moms who are along the journey with you so that you can learn together and feel supported as you ditch dieting for good.

Explain your experience and how you use it to help clients.  

I am a Registered Dietitian and Certified Intuitive Eating Counsellor in Ottawa, Ontario. I have a Masters Degree from McGill University and I’m a member of both the College of Dietitians of Ontario and the Dietitians of Canada. I became a Dietitian in 2012 and have been working in various sectors within the world of dietetics ever since. This has included working in community health and diabetes education, private practice, insurance, workplace wellness, and software development.

In 2017 my daughter was born. This changed how I practice Dietetics. After suffering from my own eating issues in University, I did not want my daughter to grow up in an environment that prioritized body size above all else. As a result, I now use a Health at Every Size® approach combined with the principles of Intuitive Eating in my practice.

Now a mom of two, I use my expertise as a non-diet, weight-inclusive Dietitian and Certified Intuitive Eating Counsellor to help clients achieve their health goals in any body shape and size. I am very passionate about helping other women, especially other moms, find food freedom and rejoin the table. I wholeheartedly believe that if you want to raise intuitive eaters you have to do the work yourself first and be an example.

What areas do you practice in?

Eating Disorders & Disordered Eating, Emotional Eating, Intuitive Eating, Mental Health, Mindful Eating, Sports Nutrition, Weight-Inclusive.

Tell us about yourself. For example, what first got you started working on your business, and what motivates you each day to do what you do?

I am a Registered Dietitian, Certified Intuitive Eating Counsellor, and mom of two. When I first opened Nutrition IQ in 2013, it was a mere two months after graduating with my Master’s Degree. I had no experience running a business, but I knew I didn’t want to do traditional clinical or food service dietetics. Thankfully, I had a lot of help from entrepreneurial family members.

When I first started my business, I was still working other jobs, and Nutrition IQ was very much a side hustle. However, after my daughter was born in 2017, I decided to give Nutrition IQ my full attention. At that time, I also did a massive pivot in my business, moving away from weight-loss counseling and toward intuitive eating. This felt really scary, but as a Dietitian, I had seen first-hand how harmful weight loss attempts could be. As a mom, I knew how detrimental they could be, particularly to young girls and their self-image. To run my business effectively, I needed it to align with my values as a professional and as a mom.

Now, what keeps me going in my business is the knowledge that I’m helping women reconnect with themselves and, in turn, sparing the next generation from harmful diet culture messaging at home. I work with some amazing women, both one-on-one and as part of my group program, The Nourished Mama, who are showing up every day to unlearn diet culture and spare their kids from years of dieting. They inspire me every day to keep going. I’m very proud of the fact that I am building a business that’s making a difference in the world while also aligning with my values as a professional and as a mother.

What’s your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I think my biggest accomplishment has been building a business that really aligns with my values professionally and personally. Niching down and working with very specific clients who I know I can help has been so important not only in my branding, messaging, and identifying the services that my business offers, but it has also helped my work-life balance. I don’t need to be a jack of all trades, and I don’t need to take on every client that walks through my door if they’re not a good fit for me.

What’s one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

It can be challenging to turn off my business brain. I have new ideas for my business all the time, so it can be a challenge to set boundaries around work and personal time. When you own your own business, there’s always something you feel like you should be doing, and when you work out of your home, work is never that far away. It’s important to set aside time that’s specifically for personal or family time and allow yourself to take vacations. This allows you to recharge and come back to work feeling refreshed.

What are the top 3 tips you’d give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Don’t look at what everyone else is doing. It’s important to examine what skills and lived experiences you bring to the table and build your business in a way that feels authentic to you.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Having a business mentor or people who will help you along the way is incredibly valuable. You want to look for someone who will give honest feedback, not just tell you what you want to hear.
  3. Set boundaries around your time. You need to be able to turn it off and recharge. If your burn out quickly, so does your business. If it means moving a little slower, so be it. Sometimes you get the best inspiration while resting.

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Company name: Nutrition IQ

Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada








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