Carlia completed a Bachelor of Nutrition & Dietetics with second class honours at the University of Newcastle in 2010. Carlia is an APD, AN and a HAES® professional. Carlia is also a proud member of the Association for Size Diversity and Health as well as the Center for Mindful Eating. Prior to being self-employed, Carlia worked as a community dietitian for the Medicare local in Western Sydney providing group education programs. However, as Carlia had always intended on running her own business, Welcome to Wellbeing was born in mid 2012. Although Welcome to Wellbeing began as a generalist clinic, both personal and professional experiences with clients saw Welcome to Wellbeing develop into a speciality clinic that provides services for women struggling with weight and eating concerns. Welcome to Wellbeing provides nutrition and eating behaviour counselling to women who have a history of dieting for weight loss or weight cycling, binge eating disorder or body image dissatisfaction. Carlia not only sees clients for individual counselling but also runs a series of group workshops to assist in normalising eating behaviours, listening and responding to body cues of hunger and fullness and building body acceptance.
Describe a typical day for you
Welcome to Wellbeing provides client services at five clinic locations across Sydney. I spend one day a week at each of these locations. When you run your own business there isn’t really a typical day! However, most of my days consist of seeing clients, recording case notes, GP reporting, administration work, marketing, meetings as well as supervising dietetic university students on placement.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I enjoy the diversity of my role as both a dietitian and business owner. As a business owner you have endless opportunity to develop and offer new services. I enjoy the flexibility and freedom to be able to offer a solution that can help women who are struggling with weight and eating concerns. It is inspiring and uplifting to be part of their journey and watch their transformation with their relationship with food, eating and their bodies. I also enjoy building positive relationships with my clients who are in turn very appreciative and grateful. I guess you could say that I love my clients!
Why did you choose dietetics as a career?
My career in health started as a personal trainer working in Adelaide at the age of 19. After moving to Sydney I decided to pursue a degree in nutrition so I could better assist my clients. In 2007 I moved to Newcastle to commence my degree whilst continuing to work as a personal trainer. Throughout university I became passionate about eating behaviours and went on to complete my Honours thesis in eating behaviours in adults. Through practice I recognised that nutrition counselling is more than just education. I wanted to provide a solution for adults who needed help and could see the value of behaviour change in offering not only a solution but also empowering them to actually make changes and achieve their goals.
What would your number one tip be to someone starting their career in dietetics?
It may sound cliché – if you have a dream, then pursue that dream! Finding a niche in dietetics can help to identify your target client and market. Once you understand the problem for that target market you can work on solving it. Being a business owner requires business skills. I completed a lot of self-directed professional development in small business management and sales.
What is one interesting fact about you?
In 2013 I was diagnosed with clinical depression. My journey to recovery lasted 12 months and during this time I focused a lot on personal development and mindfulness. Despite having a degree in nutrition and dietetics I had unhealthy eating practices and was comfort eating. I also stopped exercising. I sought treatment, which included yoga and meditation. My experience has left me with a great appreciation for women who are going through the same concerns. It has also allowed me empathise with the women that I work with and has enabled me to build a deeper relationship with them This contributed greatly to the direction of Welcome to Wellbeing and further increased my interest in the psychology of eating behaviour but also the non-dieting approach to weight management.