This is a recap of where I have been in life and #disclaimer, its a long story
I was born in Rhinelander, a small town in northern Wisconsin.
At the age of 7, our family moved to Cortez, Colorado. I remember loving the weather, constantly being in the river or pool, lots of dress up (Laura Ingalls Wilder was one of my favorites – I had a bonnet), reading every book I could get my hands on, performing “routines” on our gymnastics mat and swing set with my annoying little sister, and lots hiking and camping with my family. My parents, both with graduate degrees in Public Health, were both very health conscious, so we ate lots of fruits and veggies, had a garden, and exercise was a daily thing. This meant I was more familiar with Newman O’s than Oreos, got fruit leather instead of fruit snacks in my lunch boxes, made my own dried fruit/jerky and was encouraged to be a strong, smart girl.
At age 11, we moved again, this time to Fairbanks, Alaska, where I wore long-johns under my jeans for the first 6 months, after realizing it wasn’t cool to wear snow-pants outside for recess at -19. Why did we move here?! Anyways, fast forward several years, I met my best friends ever, played all the sports, and am so happy I grew up in one of the best states in the US.
After graduating high school, I moved to Coos Bay, Oregon to play volleyball and basketball at Southwestern Oregon Community College. Gaining some newfound freedom, I stayed up way too late, ate whatever I wanted (hello double bowl of cocoa crispies for dinner), explored the coast and fell in love with the ocean, and insisted on wearing flip-flops the majority of the year. I had no idea what I wanted to study at this point, I thought maybe education? Mainly, I went to college in order to play sports.
Realizing I only wanted to play volleyball, as a junior, I transferred to Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. After much thought, I decided to major in Exercise Science, combining my love of movement and science. During these years, I discovered the joy of yoga where I was extremely uncomfortable in anything but child’s pose, hung out constantly with all my volleyball girls, studied hard, and came out with a degree. After I graduated, I found it was extremely hard to get a job in Exercise Science. I started searching for other options and came up with Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, or Dietetics. Around this time, my little sister was also diagnosed with Celiac Disease, and seeing what a huge role nutrition played in her health really opened my eyes to this field. I spent a summer in Santa Monica, California shadowing a private practice dietitian and fell in love.
After graduating, and spending the month of January at home in Alaska, (for those of you who don’t know, January is the WORST month to be in Alaska. It’s freezing, think -50F and so dark), I decided to move to Los Angeles, California to be with my then boyfriend and find a job. I found a job relatively quickly as a Front Desk Coordinator (aka receptionist) at the University of California Los Angeles. After working for about 2 months, and realizing that job was pretty unfulfilling, I decided I was going to go back to school to get a masters degree in nutrition. I studied for and took the GRE, took several prerequisite classes all over LA, and applied across the country to different programs, while working full-time.
Between the time my volleyball career ended and the subsequent move to LA, I made a conscious decision to improve my health. This ended up being lots of running and weight lifting, and I also discovered calorie trackers. For the next two years or so, I would go on and off calorie-counting and beating myself up over my exercise routines and what I was or wasn’t putting into my body. I felt ashamed every time I went even just 6 calories over my so-called “allotment” for the day. Around this time, I also discovered that I felt better if I ate gluten-free, after spending about 6 months in some serious GI pain. The combination of intense exercise, calorie tracking, and my new inability to eat foods that weren’t gluten-free, led to several years of disordered eating and exercise. While this fueled my interest in nutrition and the path I was following, it took a long time to understand what health really meant.
Living in California helped drive my interest in health and wellness. I loved the yoga (thank you Yogis Anonymous), the farmers markets, the ocean, and the ability to find a workout class anywhere. I lived in Santa Monica, where you could find juice bars and over-priced smoothies at literally every corner. However, as an outsider coming from another state, some people seemed rather fake and generally unfriendly, aaaand the traffic! I think California is beautiful but if you want to go anywhere at all, remember that the 10 is the worst and the 405 makes you want to cry. So, I spent a lot of time walking to my morning yoga class, to the farmers market, and to the beach. Combining movement and good food are two of my biggest passions in life and I think living in California really made me realize this.
I decided to attend school at the University of Utah, enrolling into their Coordinated Masters Program for Nutrition and Dietetics, with an emphasis in Sports Nutrition. So, I up and packed again and drove little car over to Salt Lake City, started school, and spent the next 2 years reading, writing, and presenting my brains out. I found that I love the science behind nutrition, why things happen the way they do and how our recommendations are based behind that science-background. I knew I was on the right path.
After I graduated, I studied for, took and passed the Registered Dietitian (RD) exam. Whew! Now officially Rose Mattson, MS, RD, CD and I am pretty darn happy about that. I also was lucky enough to find a job relatively quickly at Harmons Grocery, an upscale grocery store, similar to Whole Foods, if you are unfamiliar with Utah. I am currently trying to learn all I can in this new role, working on this blog, and enjoying being out of school for a change.
Well, that’s a long recap of where I have been in life. I will elaborate more later on concepts that I touched on throughout this post. I hope you enjoy reading and I look forward to this journey!