As a high school student Benjamin Craig's motto was, "Here's my plate, load it on." He brought that mentality with him to Emmanuel, where he has always been ready to take on a new opportunity.
Olivia Weinstein '13, who majored in business management and minored in biology at Emmanuel, pursues her dream as a registered dietician by attending graduate school and consulting for a health website.
Olivia Weinstein '13 has been eating healthy her whole life, and by high school, she knew she wanted to help other people have a positive relationship with food; however, she never expected to be doing what she is now: a nutrition consultant who is pursuing a master's degree in nutrition.
After graduating from Emmanuel, Weinstein spent a year applying to graduate schools and working as a publicity intern in Los Angeles, reporting to the executive publicist for NBC Entertainment. Upon moving back to Boston, Weinstein connected with Dempsey Marks, the executive publicist's daughter, who asked her to be a nutrition consultant to a new health website she was starting. For the last six months, Weinstein has contributed to the website and is responsible for food-related lifestyle tips and recipes.
"Our goal is to try and inspire people to become health activists. We try and provide affordable and reasonable ways people can take responsibility for their own health," Weinstein said. "No matter what we do, we will try and make health a fun and enjoyable part of people's lives."
Before pursuing a master's degree, the Emmanuel graduate chose a major and minor at the College that would support a career in nutrition. She decided to major in business management and minor in biology. With a management major, she knew she'd acquire business experience to be an entrepreneur in the nutrition field. She used projects as opportunities to relate back to her interest in health care. At Emmanuel, she created a hypothetical program to help decrease preventable diseases in the United States by targeting children from low-income populations. With both a science and business background, Weinstein was able to evaluate financial and logistical properties of her proposed organization and impact on federal healthcare expenditures, as well as describe the importance of good nutrition to children and the side effects of a poor diet.
"Everything I learned while at Emmanuel, I used to support my dream. Since I always knew what I was interested in, I used every project and assignment to support my ultimate goal," Weinstein said.
Weinstein thought she would become an educator and an active participant in bridging the gap between health and poverty, focusing on children's health. But sometimes, life happens, and another opportunity presented itself when the offer to contribute to Dempsetfit.com came her way.
"It came out of nowhere, and I have loved every minute of it," she said.
Interest in health and fitness is currently booming at the moment, which Weinstein attributes to people reconsidering their food consumption due to epidemics and diseases associated with poor nutrition. She said on both a federal and personal level people have seen the repercussions that poor diet choices has had on their bodies, and they want to actively change.
"I feel I am entering the field at the very beginning. Not only is the government recognizing the importance of what I am doing and are willing to invest federal resources, but they are going to have to create regulations to support the new trends," Weinstein said. "I think, and hope, I will be officially entering the field when trend starts looking for experts, and not just YouTube sensations."
With hundreds of health-related websites, Instagram and Facebook accounts popping up left and right, one might ask, what makes Dempseyfit stand out? According to Weinstein, it's the duo's dynamic relationship - the two ladies couldn't be more different. Weinstein grew up in a small town and loved cooking from an early age. Whereas, Marks has been dedicated to fitness. She is a tri-athlete who has competed in numerous road races and half Ironman competitions. Marks writes about her training and inspires readers to take on challenges like races while Weinstein discusses how a person can incorporate healthy food choices into a busy lifestyle, realistically and cheaply.
"Dempsey and I have both faced struggles and as a consequence have both turned to health as a type of support," she said. "She helps me with fitness and I help her with nutrition."
Along with Marks's help and support, Weinstein constantly tries to find a balance in her busy schedule between her studies and a healthy diet and exercise. She works to create a day-to-day routine. She exercises four to five times a week and chooses certain days to cook for herself. At first, she said planning gym or food-shopping time can be daunting, but once a routine becomes established, the plans transform into ingrained habits. She also wants people to know that failure is an option, but they must forgive themselves. For Weinstein personally, she sets up reasonable goals each week based on her mood and stress level.
"By having a positive relationship with food and fitness, you will learn to enjoy it and the benefits you reap will be what keep you going. It's when you make it a chore that it becomes one," she said.
At Framingham State University, Weinstein is studying to be a registered dietician and will graduate in 2017 with a master's degree in nutrition, and her Registered Dietician (RD) Certification. Currently, Dempseyfit has a Facebook and Instagram page to promote the website while documenting Weinstein's nutritional adventures where she shares recipes.
After she graduates, the dietician-in-training said, "I know I will be educating and inspiring people to adopt a healthy lifestyle through my own experiences. How will I be doing this you ask? Who knows! But currently, I am enjoying my time working on Dempseyfit and feel I am acquiring a wide, new variety of skills."
For more information, visit www.dempseyfit.com; DempseyFit's Facebook page; or "Olivias_Kitchen" on Instagram.