Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Olivia Brant, Founder of Olivia Ashton Nutrition, located in Washington, DC, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I'm Olivia Brant, founder of Olivia Ashton Nutrition. I help women nourish their gut health to eliminate bloating and have happier BMs to experience more confidence, energy, and ease - without the diet culture BS.
My goal is to help as many chronic dieters as possible understand that restrictive dieting and total elimination of food groups are not the keys to improving gut health, losing weight, or feeling better in your body.
We live in such a world where we are told that we have to eat expensive "clean" foods or be someone that we aren't to feel the impact of a healthier gut microbiome. My clients and I are living proof that that isn't the case!
Tell us about yourself
When I was less than a year old, I underwent a surgery and blood transfusion that resulted in several days on an IV drip antibiotic - it makes total sense why my gut health should be something I'd need to pay special attention to! But for so long, it was the last thing on my mind. I'd always struggled with symptoms of an unhealthy gut - constipation, bloating, low energy, difficulty sleeping, and I even developed eczema. In my early 20's, constant and insatiable sugar cravings led to gaining 20lbs. Doctors told me I needed to lose the weight, and I desperately wanted to. Even though I was in school studying to become a dietitian, I was a woman influenced by diet culture. I didn't trust myself to be able to eat all foods in moderation, so I took a low-calorie, low-carb approach. What they don't teach you in dietetics school (and what I didn't know) is that dieting behaviors like the following can make gut sensitive worse!
- Eliminating whole grains
- Not eating enough calories
- Eating the same vegetables and fruits
- Processed food additives and zero-calorie sweeteners
So while I was doing all the right things for weight loss, I felt MISERABLE because my gut sensitivities were worsening. On top of that, I was still not losing any weight. This was when I realized something had to change drastically. I'd known deep down for years that restrictive dieting wasn't a long-term solution; it was just so much easier than the alternative! But I was at a breaking point.
So I shifted my mindset from being all about weight loss to healing my gut and relationship with food and my body. I said goodbye to the shakes, bars, and powders that I relied on and started giving my body enough energy in the form of nourishing whole foods. I began eating a bigger breakfast, including healthy fats and carbohydrates with my meals and LISTENED to my body when it told me I needed to eat more food and/or take a rest day.
I learned how to cut corners when it came to eating healthy, so I didn't have to spend all my time cooking and meal prepping. I practiced going out to restaurants and not finishing everything on my plate. I stayed focused on drinking enough water and getting enough sleep. I trusted that these choices would allow me to naturally reach the weight where my body felt good and free from painful bloating, inflammation, and irregular bowel movements.
Within a few weeks, I noticed:
- My stomach felt flatter and my digestion more regular.
- I woke up feeling energized and stayed energized all day.
- My skin cleared up.
- I felt in control of my cravings.
- My weight was not fluctuating as much.
Now, I empower my clients to take the first steps into truly understanding why restrictive dieting won't heal your gut and helping them take action today to pivot towards a gut-healthy lifestyle where all foods fit.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My coaching programs are my pride and joy! But on top of that, I've led webinars for employees at LinkedIn and Uber, and I've been featured in major publications like Insider, Prevention, and Well+Good.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
There are so many people in the online space, and "comparisonitis" is something I've always had to work hard to overcome. I like to remind myself that it's nothing personal against fellow dietitians, influencers, or creators, but often unfollowing is the only thing that helps me stay focused on the best way to grow my business and impact.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Start. Don't worry about everything being perfect or having it all planned out. Just start putting your message out there and letting the world know who you are and how you help who you serve.
- Be yourself! I see so many business owners who are "all business" all the time, especially in the dietitian world where there's pressure only to show the healthy things you're doing. But your audience needs to know, like, and trust you before they'll buy.
- Walk in your ideal client's shoes. Whoever you want to serve, imagine living a day in their life. What information, resources, and support would they need from your business to be successful? Spend your valuable time giving them exactly what they need!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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