The Practitioners at Soolman Nutrition LLC

Jonah Soolman

RD, LDN, ACSM EP-C, NSCA-CPT

  • Registered Dietitian
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist
  • American College of Sports Medicine Certified Exercise Physiologist
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Personal Trainer
  • BS Human Nutrition, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • BS Mathematics and English, Tufts University

At 20 years old, my definition of exquisite nutrition was including a small bowl of iceberg lettuce with my dinner. As co-captain of my Tufts University tennis team and with three Boston Marathons already behind me, I was active enough to more than make up for eating whatever I wanted, right?

Shortly thereafter, a health scare inspired me to consider what I could do to take better care of myself. Ultimately, I departed my research analyst position with the U.S. Department of Transportation in order to reenter academia at the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a focus on nutrition.

While studying nutrition, I earned multiple personal fitness trainer certifications and coached clients at a couple of local gyms. Although I no longer work as a trainer, my experience in that capacity deepened my understanding of physical activity, which enables me to better help my patients today.

After earning my nutrition degree, I completed an accredited dietetic internship at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Interning at this Harvard Medical School-affiliated institution afforded me opportunities to work side by side with some of the world’s best practitioners in clinical, community, and research settings.

As a Registered Dietitian, I help individuals with a wide range of backgrounds and medical conditions reach their goals. My patients span nearly the entire life cycle, all the way from teens to the elderly. They come seeking guidance for a variety of nutrition-related issues, including eating disorders, disordered eating, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and blood sugar concerns.

Most commonly though, I work with people who have tried numerous diets and are sick of seeing their weight temporarily drop only to inevitably rebound. Fed up with failing diets and being at war with food and their bodies, they come to me because I offer the antithesis. By taking the focus off of weight and rules, we can form a new and more peaceful relationship with food based on satisfaction, flexibility, and health.

In the female-dominated field that is dietetics, in which 97.5% of Registered Dietitians are women, males are a rarity. Given that, although I certainly work with people of all genders, I see many boys and men who feel most comfortable working with a fellow guy.

When I am not working, I enjoy getting outside and moving by body. In addition to time spent playing NCAA tennis, my proudest athletic achievements include riding my bicycle from Seattle to Boston for charity and running up Mount Washington on four separate occasions.

Trying new restaurants is also a hobby of mine, as are keeping my favorite ice cream shops in business with frequent visits and experimenting with my own cookie recipes (with varying degrees of success), all evidence that a healthy relationship with food and enjoyable eating can actually be synonymous.

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Joanne Levy Soolman

MS, RD, LDN

  • Registered Dietitian
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist
  • MS Nutrition and Health Promotion, Simmons College
  • BA Psychology, Brown University

I have been a registered dietitian for over a decade, specializing in helping patients with disordered eating, chronic dieting, binge eating disorder, and body image. My work with patients centers on helping them find peace with food and their bodies through Intuitive Eating (IE). I practice through the lens of Health at Every Size (HAES®), a paradigm that posits that bodies naturally come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and that all bodies are good bodies deserving of respectful care.

The passion for the work I do is the product of my own food and body image struggles for much of my life. From a very young age, I became indoctrinated into diet culture, learning that only thin bodies are healthy and deserving of love and respect. For much of my childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood, I felt ashamed of my body and dieted to try to make it conform to what society believed was worthy, healthy, and acceptable. Inevitably, with each bout of restriction, my weight would eventually rebound and I would feel so much shame.

While I always had interest in nutrition and health, much of what motivated me to pursue a dietetic career was to try to find the answer I was looking for regarding weight. After initially getting my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Brown University, I eventually returned to school to become a registered dietitian, completing the didactic program in dietetics, a dietetic internship, and received my Master of Science in Nutrition and Health Promotion from Simmons College.

Upon completing my education, I worked as a registered dietitian at Cambridge Eating Disorder Center’s (CEDC) residential and partial hospitalization treatment programs. At CEDC, I helped clients with anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorders, as well as clients with a variety of disordered eating habits, to establish healthier relationships with food.

Once I left CEDC and joined my husband, Jonah, in private practice, my eyes were opened to HAES and IE by way of a colleague, and it was like a light bulb went off. I began to realize how toxic diet culture is and how our society prizes thinness at any cost. I delved into all of the HAES, body positive, and IE material I could find online and in various books. I attended workshops and lectures and even spent three weeks at a HAES/IE retreat. I learned about weight stigma and how it causes severe disruptions to the health of people living in larger bodies. I started listening to podcasts, connecting with other HAES and IE practitioners, and before I knew it, my mindset had shifted significantly. HAES and IE spoke to me like no other paradigms or approaches, and once I learned that they are also both backed by scientific research, I was a convert.

My favorite thing about doing the work that I do is helping my patients discover life beyond dieting and body shame. I love to see my patients come to the realization that their bodies were never the problem – our society is. I savor the moments when patients return to eating the foods they once loved as a child but, had not allowed themselves to eat up until now, and relearn how to connect with their bodies’ wisdom.

If you are tired of the restrict-binge-shame-repeat cycle, there is a better way. You don’t have to constantly be at war with your body – you can befriend it. And I would love to help you do just that.

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