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Lessons From the Blog

A few years ago I found myself questioning everything.

I was juggling a very busy work schedule. Working in an extremely busy prenatal practice with one of the country’s top perinatologists, teaching Pilates 3-4 days per week, consulting for a number of gestational diabetes & prenatal organizations, speaking at medical conferences, seeing private nutrition clients whenever I could squeeze them in…

It was rare to have a full day off.

And yet some crazy part of me wanted to start a blog (and maybe write a book), but I wasn’t sure I could pull it off.

What would I write about? Nutrition? Pilates? Prenatal stuff? Gestational diabetes? Cooking?
Who would actually want to read it?
Why would I work on something that doesn’t bring me income?
What if people didn’t like what I wrote?
What if my colleagues think I’m a weirdo?

What if, what if, what if…

I almost let that fear get the best of me. Actually, it did for quite a while.

In my first year of blogging, I think I wrote maybe 6 articles. I agonized over every word. Questioned each sentence.

A simple post would quickly turn into a thesis-like monster that read like a dry research article written by a 75-year old academic. There were tangents upon tangents, each of which were backed up with scientific references (because how in the world could I, in good conscience, put anything out into the world without painstakingly citing every last detail and exploring all of the loopholes of nutritional science?!).

It was awful.

I’d spend DAYS writing a single piece, only to throw in the towel and walk away because it was too complex, too incomplete, too _____.

You get the idea.

Well that was then, and this is now.

More than 2 years ago, after teaching a series of informal nutrition workshop and getting rave reviews, I realized something. People they like the way I teach. They don’t want to learn from a professor (if they did, they’d take a college nutrition class).

But they still want to learn scientifically-backed information – just in a way that’s easily digestible.

I made a promise to myself that I would return to my tired old blog (which was hideous at the time) and write something each week. It wouldn’t be perfect, but I would share it anyways.

I scheduled time each week to write my article & email newsletter.

And guess what?

I did it.

This past week I realized I’ve written a new blog post every week without fail (minus one when I re-shared a post that led to a magazine interview) for more than 2 YEARS!

With 52 weeks in a year, that’s a lot of articles, many of which have been viewed over 100,000 times. (I still have to do a double take on my google analytics from time to time.)

And despite receiving an ungodly amount of hate mail, especially over this post, I’m still at it.

I still have my fair share of excuses and “ifs, ands, or buts” that come up and I definitely have weeks where I don’t want to write, but writing regularly is so ingrained in my schedule that it’s become a habit. It’s non-negotiable.

Without my blog, I’d have no business and I definitely wouldn’t have had the mojo to write a book. The majority of my private clients, participants in my online gestational diabetes course, and book fans find me from my blog.

You amazing people, in turn, help support the operation of this blog (and inspire me to keep writing and sharing free articles each week) without having icky advertising all over my site. And I intend to keep it that way for the long haul.

My point in sharing this, other than a mini celebration, is to remind you that you have a choice in life.

If you’ve been thinking about eating healthier, the only one stopping you is YOU.
If you’ve been wanting to go back to school, the only one stopping you is YOU.
If you’ve been wishing you could write a blog, the only one stopping you is YOU.

Yes, life gets in the way. It always does and it always will.

And no matter your circumstances, you have a choice, even if that choice for now is simply your reaction to all the not-so-great circumstances. (Notice I used the word “and” instead of “but” right there? There’s a reason for that.)

If I’ve learned any lessons from the blog, it’s this: if you have something you’ve been thinking about doing for years, do it. Consider this your little nudge.

Now go and make some lemonade with those lemons, ok?

Wanna celebrate with me?
Let me hear it in the comments below and if you have a request for a future blog post topic, I want to know!

Until next week,
Lily

PS – Want to read some of the more popular posts from my site?

If you’re an old fan, take a trip down memory lane with these gems:

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Lily Nichols is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator, researcher, and author with a passion for evidence-based prenatal nutrition and exercise. Her work is known for being research-focused, thorough, and unapologetically critical of outdated dietary guidelines. She is the author of two bestselling books, Real Food for Pregnancy and Real Food for Gestational Diabetes.

20 Comments

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  1. I’ve been wanting to tell you how much I have enjoyed and needed your posts. My husband was laid off (62, yeGods) and there went my wonderful insurance that paid for my nutritionist. I appreciate the advice so much, I cannot pay for it any more and I do like much of your material and recipes. You’ve been an actual lifesaver to me as I will die of high cholesterol without guidance. Lots of stress here,.

    I always get kind of wistful when I’m on here because I loved Alaska the year I lived there. If my husband wasn’t so firmly entrenched with family I would retire there.

    • Thanks for your support, Donna. I’m so happy to hear you’ve found some guidance in my posts and recipes! 🙂

  2. I love this! I would also love some insight on a few HUGE trends that’s going on in the health community today:
    – Raw (80/10/10) or Raw till 4 (High Carb Low Fat diet)
    – Peganism
    Hope you can look into them! 😀

    • Thanks for chiming in, Cassie. 🙂

  3. Lily,
    you’re an excellent nutritionist and a real inspiration!

    The haters will always be there, but as long as you follow nature’s principles you just can’t go wrong!

    Keep doing an amazing job!

    best wishes
    Andrew

    • I couldn’t agree more, Andrew: “The haters will always be there, but as long as you follow nature’s principles you just can’t go wrong!”

  4. Celebrating with you, Lily! That’s a huge accomplishment! Keep doing what you do, LOVE your blog!!!

    • Thank you, Lana! Kind of can’t believe how much writing has taken place in the past few years (and will continue to take place for the foreseeable future!).

  5. You are an inspiration, Lily. Love what you are doing. Keep up the great work!

    • Right back at you, Brigitte!

  6. Lily. I am sorry to hear that you have been the recipient of ‘hate mail’. Ironically, I believe it was the ‘calories’ article that ‘won me over’. I thought it was fantastic and absolutely chimed with your sensibility.
    Keep it up. Stick to your convictions and be confident that you ARE inspiring and informing a community that do appreciate your ‘take’ on nutrition and health.

    • That’s certainly a polarizing post for readers, but I stand by my words. Thanks for coming along on the journey with me, Tamara!

  7. Lily,
    9 years ago, I couldn’t find any blogs written by RDs (so I started one, but haven’t blogged in years). This is a great accomplishment and you deserve to enjoy the fruit of your diligence. It is no mistake that you are getting a good following. I don’t think I have read a single post that I thought could be written any better. I hadn’t read your calories post before but now I am even more a fan. Continue to be true to yourself. Congratulations!

    • I truly appreciate your vote of support, Renata! And wow “I don’t think I have read a single post that I thought could be written any better.” That’s so very, very kind. 🙂

  8. I love this. So, so, so much. It is exactly what I’ve been feeling yet, as my drive has waned, it’s exactly what I needed to hear right now. Last year I started a healthy eating journey that has changed just about everything about myself, infinitely for the better. I started a blog last fall mostly as an outlet to talk about all the nerdy foodie stuff I love, because I didn’t have anyone in my life to share it with. At the beginning of this year I started getting feelings that I should do more. I started to have visions of book deals and TV appearances and maybe even my own cooking show. But the more excited I got the more discouraged I became. I am a full-time mom to a preschool-aged son and twin toddlers. Life is anything but simple right now and my children take just about every ounce of energy I have. Chasing dreams just did not seem possible at that time (or at all!). And I started to get mad. Why have this desire and drive and talent (I flatter myself) if now is not the time? If it’s not meant to be? I struggled and struggled and became more and more angry and depressed until finally I had the realization: The desire is the sign that it’s time, MY TIME, to make it happen, NOW. The struggle is not a result of the outside world; it’s because I was holding myself back. I wasn’t allowing myself to heed the call. The anger and sadness was MY OWN FAULT. And so I went for it. I turned my blog into a website, http://healthylittlechanges.com. I allowed myself to dream big, I made a plan, and I am now carving out the time to put the plan into action. As I write this I’m at a coffee shop while the kids are with a babysitter for 2 hours. I do this twice a week, which may not seem like much, but I’m making it work. I’m working on an outline for the online class I have in the works and the lesson plans for an in-person class I was hired to teach at the end of the month. I have an idea for a book proposal once my class is up and running and I keep writing content for my website and getting my words out there, and my following is growing steadily. It may not seem like much now but I can’t tell you the joy I feel now that I’ve allowed myself to answer the call. This is what I was meant to do! This is what my talents and experiences and dreams are all designed for. I can still fulfill my duties to my family, but with much more love and happiness now that I’m also pursuing my passion. So YES, I wholeheartedly agree with you when you say that if you’re not living the life of your dreams, the only one stopping yourself is you. If you have a burning desire, don’t keep looking for a sign that it’s OK to fulfill it — the desire is the sign. The answer is YES. Now go forth and conquer!!!

    • Keep going, Lindsay!!! Cheering you on!

  9. Congratulations on everything you’ve accomplished!! I wanted to take this time to tell you how much I love your blog. I think I originally found you through B-School and I love your approach to nutrition… so accessible and easy to understand and backed up by the scientific literature, just what my linear thinking brain loves! My husband and I love your recipes! We took the plunge into making our own stock using your recipe and the chili lime butternut squash is a favorite in our house. I also love the topics you cover like what to eat when you live in a place that doesn’t have the cornucopia vibe of California. The calories post…brilliant. And if all works out and we make a little person in the next couple of years, I’ll be making a beeline for your website first.

    I just finished training to be a Health Coach and while some external circumstances have gotten me down (like trying to get residency in one country but maybe having to move to another country in a few months and figuring out which country), I’m slowly ticking along in starting my business and plan on including your website in my “resources I love” page (if you don’t mind!). You’ve been an invaluable resource for me and I’d like to pass that value along to others.

    So thanks for making that lemonade and I look forward to much more!!

    • I so appreciate you sharing, Coree, and spreading the real food love. I think I need to make a batch of Roasted Butternut Squash with Lime & Chili – a house favorite here as well.

      I’ll keep making lemonade as long as I have people coming to the stand. 🙂

  10. Thank you for the inspiration, Lily. I’ve wanted to write a book for a while now, and you are right – it’s only me standing in my way. It’s super scary, but I’ll try again!! Thanks again! -Jill

    • You can do it, Jill!

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