How Registered Dietitian, LiLi Hayim, Does Self-Care

I’m Lisa — aka LiLi on the ‘gram. I’m a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s Degree in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from Columbia University. 

Sure, I got a fancy degree from a fancy uptown Manhattan University but lemme let you in on a secret – I’m not a girl with an Ivy League brain, but I am most definitely a girl with an Ivy League work ethic. I work hard for what I’m passionate about, and being a RD was always the goal. The result (after an initial rejection from grad school – side note: you’ll see rejection is a constant theme to my life!) scored me blue gown and a diploma I can show off.  

I was so proud to be part of the RD-to-BE process, especially at a school like Columbia. I soaked up every little drop of info, completed my internship at North Shore LIJ (now NorthWell Health) — did I mention I got rejected the first time applying there, too?  

Prior to my acceptance, I spent an entire year working in food service in the basement of a hospital. Every day for a year, I walked out of my Manhattan apartment at 4am in my uniform — a grey button up blouse and fireproof (yes, seriously) pants — to arrive to my 6am shift in Long Island. All day long I was berated by supervisors and angry, uncomfortable patients. I walked around the hospital wearing a hairnet, and came home each night smelling like chicken meatloaf – yes, that’s a real thing we serve our patients in ‘health care.’  

I spent two years at the hospital, the second year completing my dietetic internship. As soon as I passed the RD exam, I was so fricken ready to set fire to the world and open a private practice.   

My job now

Flash forward to three years later and here we are. I get to spend my days doing what I love — helping people live their most full lives by ditching food rules and learning to LISTEN TO THEIR BODIES!

Human stuff is hard, and in my opinion, one of the ways our brains protect us from painful truths is shifting the focus on things we think we can control – like diet, food, and body image.

Our hyper focus on these things hold us back from living fully — you cannot count calories and obsess over your weight while also living your richest most meaningful life.  

My Instagram is the place where I get to tell all — I get to be me, share my story, empower others to live fully. I am passionate about breaking down barriers and the stigma around mental health and therapy.

But my mission — my reason for this earth — that’s to show people that there’s a better way to live than the one they may know.

My online course F*RK THE NOISE FUNDAMENTALS has allowed me to help hundreds learn about my modern mindful eating philosophy.  

I like to live my life by this motto: Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Biggest lesson I earned in my twenties: It’s all small stuff. 

This is still a challenge for me: Mornings- most mornings I need to put the work (meditation, yoga, movement, etc) in to feel like the best version of me.

My self-care toolkit includes: Therapy with a professional, yoga, dancing, journaling, reading self-help books, facial massage, self-cupping (and professional cupping), advocating for myself/what I believe in, building/sustaining boundaries, saying no and yes to the right things. I could go on here….

The first five things I do when I wake up are: Stretch my spine in cat + cow, put my workout clothes on, facial massage, brush my teeth + rinse, drink 16 oz of water.

My favorite way to unwind is: Putting my phone away and being present (whether that be with someone else or doing something alone).

My go-to dish to make (or buy) when I want to feel good is: I make a kale Caesar salad a lot at home! 

My favorite workout involves: Yoga and breathwork. 

The one book that has changed my life: Don’t sweat the small stuff- it’s all small stuff   notice a theme? 

The one podcast I’m always listening to: Amy Brown’s 4 things – she keeps it light! 

When I splurge, it’s on: Skin care and shoes.

Most affordable, essential self-care product I can’t live without: My rumble foam roller. 

Craziest thing I do for self-care: I don’t think anything is crazy but maybe others would see chanting by myself as crazy? I don’t judge me for what feels good + I know works to help me be my best me. 

Best apps on my phone for enhancing my life: Not a tech person, but I like HeadSpace for meditation 

Favorite piece of advice given to me: Lower your expectations – it sounds negative, but is actually positive.  We shouldn’t expect much- from anyone, or anything. What we’re met with (Reality) is always enough and sometimes you’re met with excitement when you get more than you expected.

When I’m stressed out, this is my go-to: Breathing, lowering my shoulders, palo santo, dancing. 

Feel-good song that is always blasting in my car: Anything from Hamilton or The Greatest Showman 

My advice to women struggling with self-love is: You were created for a purpose. You may not have tapped into it just yet, but I assure you that when you were put on this earth to do something big.  

Self Love isn’t necessarily loving yourself every day, but it is showing up every day as you are.

You are enough. 

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