We had the good fortune of connecting with Tyler Rolling and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tyler, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
When it comes to my business, FOOD, BODY & SOUL — where I help women leaders overcome disordered eating and find food freedom + body love, so they can create the impact they were made for, I honestly have never considered giving up an option. I feel like when you find your purpose and your soul’s calling, there really won’t be that choice to give up and if you do, it will keep showing up in your life in some form or another until you heed the call!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and found of FOOD, BODY & SOUL, where I help coaches and women leaders overcome disordered eating and find food freedom + body love, so they can create the impact they were made for. I’m basically an anti-diet dietitian that wakes women up to diet culture and the way it affects their relationship to food & body image — helping them create new neural pathways, belief systems and behaviors that cultivate self-compassion and female empowerment. I got into this work because I myself struggled with disordered eating and body image. The concept of Intuitive Eating is what started my path to healing my relationship to food and body image. Intuitive Eating is a mind-body approach to nutrition that integrates inner awareness (i.e. hunger/fullness cues) with external health values that are grounded in self-care. It’s an authentic approach that isn’t “one size fits all” and that’s why it works so well! It certainly wasn’t an easy road though. My disordered eating, compulsive exercise and body shaming were symptoms of underlying trauma and abuse I experienced while growing up. Food and weight were the one thing I could control while the rest of my life was a complete shit show (for lack of better words). My self worth was dependent on achievement and external validation. I found meaning in life by partying, people pleasing and trying to fit into a mold that wasn’t true to my authentic self. I was turning to things outside of myself — partying, relationships, and trying to “fix” my body through diet and exercise — hoping that one day, it would lead me to the love and belonging I was so desperately seeking. But, guess what? The feeling was fleeting. The validation “high” might have lasted a few moments, but once something went awry — like gaining weight or “losing control” with food, my self-worth and self-confidence was shot. Looking back, it was as if I was throwing some kind of wild circus — “Come one! Come all! Come see what Tyler will do next! Is it alcohol and drugs? Toxic relationships? Or extreme diet and exercise? Or ALL OF THE ABOVE?!” This circus went on until my mid-20s. Then, one day, in the midst of fighting with a past partner (which wasn’t healthy), something inside of me “clicked.” I had that “AHA!” moment. I was 26 years old, but my emotional mind and body was somewhere around 17/18 years old (the same age when my parents split and my mom was extremely sick being dependent on alcohol. All of my thoughts and behavior patterns stemmed from the same internalized belief of, “I’m not good enough. There is something wrong with me. I am to blame for all of this. I am unloveable.” These are the messages that we internalize when trauma (big T or little t) happens (such as parents getting divorced or growing up with a parent who is addicted to substances). At some point in my life, I started believing that I had to be a certain way in order for things to be okay — or at least appear to be okay. If I was achieving (making good grades, winning swim meets etc.) then, maybe things would get better. Maybe this would solve the brokenness I felt. I learned to focus my attention on others so much that I lost touch with who I really was. And when I didn’t feel seen or heard, I turned to things that would numb my pain — alcohol, unhealthy relationships, more extreme dieting and excessive exercise. And this pattern continued into my adulthood. It was after that horrible fight with a previous partner, that I decided to go to therapy. I decided I no longer wanted to be a prisoner to my thoughts, emotions and my past. I was tired of being reactive and feeling out of control (even if it looked like I was in control.) This is when I took my life into my own hands. I started taking my healing seriously. I was done playing pretend and acting as if I was okay. I was not okay. And I wasn’t afraid to admit it to myself and seek help. I was done playing perfect and trying to do everything on my own. I now work with women helping them do the same thing — overcoming limiting beliefs around food and body image and healing past trauma that led to disordered eating behaviors. ⠀ This is why a big part of the work I do addresses the inner child. We all have an inner child and sometimes she hasn’t been seen or heard. This can result in difficulty trusting oneself and others, as well as difficulties regulating emotions. Before we talk about food and body image, I want to know your relationship with food and your body as a child. What were the messages you received while growing up? How did your parents play a role? Was your Mom constantly dieting and body shaming herself? Or maybe your Dad was obsessed with the gym and trying new fad diets? How did this affect you while growing up? What messages did you internalize that you might not be conscious of right now and are actually getting in the way of you being able to trust yourself with food and your body? As women, we were taught (whether explicitly or implicitly) that in order to be worthy of love and belonging, we had to look a certain way (i.e. the “thin ideal”)⠀ ⠀ And if we don’t fit into this mold? There is something wrong with us.⠀ ⠀ I help you unlearn these false narratives about food and your body, so you can create a new story that makes you feel EMPOWERED.⠀ ⠀ Once you reclaim your power, it naturally has a ripple effect in all other areas of your life including your relationships and your work life
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh how I LOVE when folks visit! Especially once this pandemic passes! I gotta say Sunset Cliffs would definitely be on the itinerary — I walk the cliffs almost every day. It’s a form of therapy! I call it my daily dose. Next, would be Blacks Beach down the Ho Chi Minh Trail. And then off to Lamp Lighter for some karaoke. Wonderland in Ocean Beach for sunset and drinks and then dinner spot would have to take them to Buona Forchetta in South Park. So many AMAZING spots in San Diego, but those were the first to cross my mind!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Absolutely! I have to give a HUGE shout out to my coaches and mentors who have helped me over the past year — Rae Irelan and Vanessa Hallick. I also want to thanks those who have encouraged me to stay on my path — Stephanie Galia, the director of the Well-being & Health Promotion Department at San Diego State University. My Mom, who has always been my number one fan.
John William Photography, Bradley Schweit Photography