Talking about food and diet can be emotional. Talking about behaviors is usually emotional. But talking about body image is always emotional. If you are looking for a clinician at Integrated Care Clinic, there is a good chance you are wanting care around these topics. You are in the right place. Take a minute to hear from Joy Metevier, the newest member of our team. We have asked our new dietitian to give us a brief peak into the “why” behind her passion for working with clients on their road to recovery.
How did you come to work at Integrated Care Clinic?
I am hungry (pun intended) for a team of like-minded caregivers, and Integrated Care Clinic offers that. I have worked in many different settings, both
internationally and locally, and I have found myself often the odd-woman out. For a long time I have asked the questions, “Is it really in the best interest of this client to put them on a low calorie diet? Doesn’t this client need more support from a mental health professional? Is anyone noticing the effect of weight stigma on this individual?” Dietitians are often front and center of the public messaging, “THIN IS BETTER! PURSUE THINNESS AT ALL COST?” – frankly, I could not be a part of that any longer. My clinical experience along with my internal wisdom has been telling me for years that this is not the way. I knew there were others who not only felt the same, but were providing effective, evidenced based alternative treatments to clients of all shapes and sizes. So I started looking. And I am lucky enough to have found the Integrated Care Clinic team.
Where else have you worked?
I have had so many unique and challenging experiences. I started my career as a dietitian for the US Army. Soldiers and their family members were the first population I was privileged to work alongside and those years offered me a solid nutrition foundation. This also started my interest working with eating disorders, which are more common among Military populations than civilian populations. The strong emphasis on body fat and weight standards pushes Soldiers and often their children and spouses to adopt disordered eating and exercise behaviors. Next, I moved to the Philippines and then Costa Rica and worked in the non-profit sector. My family and I spent 6 years providing support to NGO workers who suffered from PTSD and other trauma related injuries from working in austere environments. I again found myself treating eating disorders as the thin ideal and western diet industry has expanded its reach outside of the US. The work was very rewarding and heart breaking as families found themselves struggling with various anxieties around food and thinness without the support of their home culture. My family and I relocated stateside during the pandemic and I have been a licensed and practicing in the state of Florida as an outpatient Registered Dietitian for the past two years.
Tell us about your family
Hey! One of my favorite questions. My husband and I have been married for twenty years. He is a therapist and almost done with the PhD! Our shared desire to facilitate healing in the lives of others has been a foundation of our relationship. It has been beautiful to watch that grow. We have four sons and a Golden Retriever, my ally, Daisy. We live on a small pond up in north Pasco County away from the hustle and bustle.
Surprise Question: What did you have for dinner last night?
Cheeky question. No secrets or shame here. We had frozen chicken nuggets and waffle fries and a bag of really tasty fancy coleslaw from Target. Yep. 100% full disclosure. Dietitians get put on ridiculous pedestals. But I am just a typical working woman, who wears many hats and sometimes I find that frozen nuggets are the best form of self-care. My goals for family meals are simple: nourishment, pleasure and connection. Frozen nuggets hit all those goals. We also shared a few pints of Talenti gelato and watched a Disney movie after dinner. Ask me again tomorrow, and you will get a totally different answer. When I say, “All foods fit” to my clients, I mean it. I walk the walk.
What Do You Plan to Do Next in your career? Any areas you’d like to learn more about?
I am always expanding my skills as a facilitator of change. Most dietitians working in this field will tell you, we know where patients should be headed on the road to recovery, but how do we get them to walk alongside us, that is the harder question. I am hungry (there is that pun again) for workshops and training that will give me more tools in my handbag. I want to employ curiosity and disruption, with a balance of gentleness and invitation. I want to help patients set down their mal-adaptive ways of using food, control, exercise, etc. to soothe themselves. I want to model and offer alternative ways of being in the world. I also love group work. As pandemic life fades away, I look forward to using those skills again, especially as a part of the Integrated Care Clinic team. I consistently find myself amazed at the wisdom and kindness patients are able to offer each other in group settings.
What brings you joy outside of work?
I enjoy group exercise classes at the YMCA. The playfulness of music, the connection with others and the embodied movement really gets me going. I am trying to become a gardener, but we live on an unruly and wild piece of land and gardening in the sandy Florida soil is daunting! A few times per month I participate in a social dancing club in Tampa that offers old-style partner dancing such as salsa, swing, hustle, etc. It feels silly, but I have to remind myself that intentional play is necessary and part of self-care. As soon as I hear the music (I mean Disco music…come on! That just has to get you going!) I am transported and the weight of daily life floats away.
What are you most passionate about?
I live on the conviction that each individual, in health and wholeness, brings a gift to the universe. As an eating disorder dietitian, I get to help people become more of themselves. Dieting is a life thief. Striving to be thin sucks time, energy and joy away from a person. I want women and men to feel the invitation to, “Take up space.” I want my clinical practice to invite more of the authenticity, uniqueness, wholeness, fullness, and largeness of a client to show up in the world. I get to sit back and watch. I bear witness to the journey. It is powerful and life-giving work.