Rachel Laughlin, MS, RD

Registered Dietitian & Certified Yoga Instructor who assists clients in building healthy relationships with food & their bodies through mindfulness.

Rachel is a registered dietitian originally from upstate New York who currently practices in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Syracuse University. After completing her degree and internship, she continued her education by earning a master’s degree in exercise physiology from Ithaca College. In 2011, She completed her 200-level Yoga teacher training based on vinyasa principles. Rachel believes that the mind-body experience is critical for a healthy relationship among food, movement, and the body. Using mindfulness principles, she assists clients in achieving healthy, balanced relationships with food and their bodies. She is dedicated to helping repair broken relationships with food and the body, and, if possible, to preventing negative associations before they develop.

Operating as usual

Rachel Laughlin, MS, RD

[01/19/18]   Wow, another year has come and gone, already! I hope that 2017 was a wonderful year for you and your family. As you enter the New Year you may be considering some self-improvement goals: losing weight, losing fat, exercising more, or some other self-improvement/health improvement. Often these goals are driven by outside influences – “I think I should, that is what everyone else is doing” or “there are a lot of deals/advertisement for these products/services so it must be worth trying.” But I wonder what you really need? From a medical/health standpoint do you need to lose weight, lose body fat, and/or exercise more?

In order to achieve your self-improvement goals you may be considering new products, new programs, and/or new diet regimens. Often popular diet regimens, exercise programs, and/or diet products do not help and some can actually cause more harm than good. Research has shown that early dieting and other unhealthy weight control practices in adolescents (or observed by adolescents from parents/peers/other adults of influence) lead to an increased risk of weight gain, overweight and eating disorders. Most popular diets are nutritionally inadequate and include certain foods that people would not normally choose to consume in large amounts. They may also promote quick weight loss, limit food selections and dictate specific rituals, use testimonials from famous people, or claim to work for everyone. They often recommend expensive supplements or make no attempt to change eating habits permanently. Many are critical and skeptical about the scientific community. Some may even claim that there is no need to exercise!

I have been a practicing dietitian for over 10 years and I have never observed any of the above to be effective for long-term health and wellness. In fact, I have observed - as the research has shown - more harm than good from these diets.

I often see adolescent clients that have developed concerning eating habits because they have observed an adult of influence following an inappropriate/unbalanced nutrition regimen and they become confused about what their body needs. I hear from adolescents who hear adults/peers talk about their own bodies in negative ways who then wonder if they, too, need to be concerned about their body size or shape.

So before you get too caught up in your weight-related self-improvement goals this year, consider if the goal is really necessary or is really the result of society’s unrealistic weight expectations and lack of appreciation for the natural variety of body shape and weight. Try to remember the more effective method for finding a healthy weight: move regularly in ways that you enjoy and include your favorite foods in your regular diet in moderation. For support and education in achieving a self-improvement plan that will work for you, contact Rachel. I hope that you find happiness, health, and peace in the New Year.

As of January 2, 2018, I have opened a new location! This new location will allow me to expand my appointment offerings and provide a more convenient location for clients from Grand Rapids. I will be able to accept limited insurance at this new location as well. I will continue to partner with Dr. Sue Dilsworth to see clients at Heart’s Journey Wellness Center (HJWC) in Allendale, MI.

I will see clients at the Allendale Office Thursday and Friday by appointment. I will see clients at the Grand Rapids location Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday by appointment. I will also continue to provide TeleHealth services using secure HIPAA compliant technology.

For more information, please visit my website or contact me directly! Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you for your support and I hope that I can continue to work with you in 2018!

Winter time and the holidays can be stressful for anyone, but they can be especially anxiety-inducing for those who struggle with an eating disorder. Because so much of our holiday celebration involves food and eating with others, people with eating disorders may struggle with pressure to appear normal and worry about what others might think about their eating habits or appearance. If you are in college, this may be the first time seeing your family after being diagnosed, and that uncertainty can be troublesome. However, your progress and well-being does not need to suffer during this season. Here are a few tips to help you stay on track:

-Prioritize self-care -- Your number one priority is to take care of yourself, and if that means saying “no” to situations that will exacerbate your anxiety and jeopardize your well-being, then that’s okay! Be sure to set aside time every day to take care of yourself, whether it be taking a bath, reading a book, spending time in meditation, or being present in a restorative yoga practice. By taking time to wind down and relax, you are better equipping yourself to handle the stress that the holidays can bring about.

-Establish and utilize your support system -- Think about the people in your life that you feel you are able to go to for support, and let them know in advance that you will contact them if things get rough. If you feel that you don’t have at least one person to turn to for support, then research eating disorder groups in the area, or online/telephone support groups. Don’t isolate yourself--share your thoughts and feelings with those that care about your well-being. In addition, utilize that support system! Ask your family to hide trigger foods while you are visiting, or make suggestions to include more comfortable food for you in family meals.

-Plan ahead -- If you are staying with family and triggering food is a concern, bring a bag of your own food that includes realistic substitutions for triggers. For example, as suggested by Psychology Today, substituting an apple for a slice of pecan pie is likely to leave you feeling unsatisfied, while a handful of dates dipped in almond butter may hit the spot. It is also important to identify possible problems you might face at get-togethers (comments about your appearance or how much/little you’ve eaten, etc.) and think about how you might counter them. Creating an exit strategy for stressful situations may also be helpful.

-Set yourself up for success -- Don’t set rigid or unrealistic guidelines for yourself. Instead, create baby-step challenges that are more doable and appealing than intimidating. Allow yourself to work on one thing at a time. For example, if you are in a challenging social situation, it’s okay to stick with eating food that you feel comfortable with. However, if you’re in a safer environment with people you trust, then challenge yourself to eat an appropriate portion of more intimidating food. Be careful not to overbook yourself and take breaks when needed.

-Nourish your body -- Stop what you’re doing for 20 minutes at least three times a day to eat food that will nourish you. Listen to your body and eat until you feel satisfied; our bodies require more fuel to stay warm and healthy in the winter, so reserve judgement and guilt if you find that you are eating more than you normally would. Just pay attention in order not to overeat. Eat warming foods, such as cooked veggies/fruits or soups/stews, as well as drinking warm fluids--avoid dry, uncooked foods. Buffet-style settings are common at most holiday functions, so be sure to put your food on a plate and try some of everything, being mindful of nutritional balance and appropriate portions. Don’t skip out on your favorites!

-Focus on the beauty of the holiday season -- Thanksgiving and Christmas are NOT about food. The holidays are meant to embrace love and gratitude. Do things that you enjoy and that keep you in the moment--take time to play a game with family, wrap presents, or play in the snow. Oftentimes visiting home can lead us to feel claustrophobic and anxious; be sure to maintain contact with the outside world by calling a friend, going shopping, or taking a walk outside. Many of these activities serve as wonderful distractions before, after, or even during a meal to prevent negative thoughts from taking over.

For more information, visit these links:

Written by Kayleigh Lambert

With colder weather approaching, comfort food is a common craving. Sweet potatoes are a common fall food, and they're loaded with Vitamin A, which is good for vision and the immune system. Sweet potatoes are also good sources of potassium, which lowers blood pressure and regulates stress hormones; and fiber, which regulates the digestive system, kale provides an excellent source of Vitamin C, which promotes skin and bone health. Finally, the walnuts are a great source of Omega-3's that support heart health, brain health and depression, and reduce inflammation. This recipe is simple, delicious, and nutritious.

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Crispy Kale and Feta
Yields: 1 serving | Calories: 171 | Total Fat: 9 g | Saturated Fat: 3 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Sodium: 261 mg | Cholesterol: 98 mg | Carbohydrates: 17 g | Fiber: 3 g | Sugars: 4 g | Protein: 16 g

1 medium sweet potato
1 small bunch curly kale, center ribs removed and cut into bite size pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Small handful of walnut pieces
Feta cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400º F.
2. Place washed sweet potato on a baking sheet and bake for 45-55 minutes.
3. In the meantime, toss the chopped kale in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Sautee over medium heat until kale is slightly wilted, about 5 minutes.
4. Slice baked potato in half lengthwise, loosen potato with a fork, and add kale, feta and walnuts. Bake for an additional 10-12 minutes, until feta is melted.
5. Transfer to plate and mindfully enjoy :)

Adapted from Skinny Ms.

Written by Kayleigh Lambert

Eating Disorder Hope

Learning to Clothes Shop in Eating Disorder Recovery: http://ow.ly/J9be30flc4J

Recovery, a playlist by Kayleigh Sinclair Lambert on Spotify

Recovery, a playlist by Kayleigh Sinclair Lambert on Spotify

Music can be such a powerful motivator during the process of recovery! Here is a compilation of songs to encourage you to keep fighting, know you're not alone, and love yourself as you are. Feel free to share in the comments songs that you find uplifting, as well!

Recovery, a playlist by Kayleigh Sinclair Lambert on Spotify A playlist featuring Bon Iver, SZA, Tove Lo, and others


Yoga Classes - Heart's Journey Wellness Center

Yoga is a great way to honor your body and take charge of your health! If you are in need of a gentle and relaxing yoga practice in which self-love is emphasized, please join us on Tuesdays at 6:15 P.M. for Yoga for everyBODY. In this class, Rachel helps to foster a nonjudgmental awareness of the body through slow vinyasa sequences and breathing techniques. Come as you are, and expect to leave with a greater sense of self-acceptance.

For more information on other yoga classes offered at Heart's Journey Wellness Center, visit our website at heartsjourneywellness.com/yoga-classes

heartsjourneywellness.com Yoga for everyBODY Mindfulness-based, gentle flow vinyasa that will slowly move you through basic postures and breathing techniques. Flow sequences will emphasize non-judgmental body awareness and embracing one’s body exactly the way it is. Expect to leave feeling relaxed and rejuvenated, and with a...

[09/11/17]   Welcome to the page for nutritionist and certified yoga instructor, Rachel Laughlin!

In addition to updates on services provided by Rachel at Heart's Journey Wellness Center, we will be posting daily inspiration, resources, and relevant research, as well as prompting community discussion on issues related to mental health and eating disorders. We hope to provide support and encouragement to those who wish to create a healthier relationship with food and their bodies.

We are looking forward to engaging with you, and we appreciate your support!


[09/09/17]   My intern is doing an excellent job building a page for my business. I am so grateful for her. I have no idea how to operate FB 🤣

Rachel Laughlin, MS, RD's cover photo

Rachel Laughlin, MS, RD

Our Story

Rachel is a registered dietitian originally from upstate New York who currently practices in Allendale, Michigan. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Syracuse University. After completing her degree and internship, she continued her education by earning a master’s degree in exercise physiology from Ithaca College. In 2011, She completed her 200-level Yoga teacher training based on vinyasa principles. Rachel believes that the mind-body experience is critical for a healthy relationship among food, movement, and the body. Using mindfulness principles, she assists clients in achieving healthy, balanced relationships with food and their bodies. She is dedicated to helping repair broken relationships with food and the body, and, if possible, to preventing negative associations before they develop.

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Heart's Journey Wellness Center 6189 Lake Michigan Dr
Walker, MI

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
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