Shannon Fenster

Shannon is Starkel Nutrition’s newest nutritionist, but she is no newbie to the field.  As one of our most experienced educators and nutritionists, she decided to focus on one of the foundations of her philosophy in this newsletter’s Provider Spotlight.  Read on to learn more about Shannon’s reasoning for becoming a Health At Every Size (HAES) practitioner, and why it is so important to her. 

“I became a HAES advocate for many reasons.  The number one reason being the prevalent loss of life caused by our society’s desire for us to be a certain size.  In 2016, after working in the field of Eating Disorders for some time, I learned of the death of a young woman with whom I had previously worked alongside a team of doctors, dietitians, therapists, and nurses.  I still fondly recall laughing with this individual about farts, almost as vividly as I remember encouraging the client to persevere through challenging meals. Their death prompted my extreme need and desire to check myself as to how I may be contributing to the unnecessary consequences of diet culture.  

“Secondly, I became an HAES advocate because it embraces the work of Ellyn Satters, a well known author on the topic of mindful eating, who asks “what is normal eating?”  As a nutrition instructor at Bellevue College, I shared her philosophy, principles and resources with them, knowing that the majority of my students were seeking careers in the health sciences and would one day be sitting across from patients giving dietary recommendations in some capacity.  Every class responded the same way: with an exhale, being given the permission to trust their bodies to regulate hunger and satiety.  Mostly they were relieved by the permission to eat!  

“Lastly, I became a HAES advocate because science supports this approach.  Most epidemiological studies find that people who are overweight or moderately obese live at least as long as people of an average weight and often longer! Evidence also points to the fact that, except at statistical extremes, body mass index (BMI) or additional body fat only weakly predict longevity.  The primary intent of HAES is to support improved health behaviors for people of all sizes without using weight as a mediator – as it should be! “

Now, in Shannon’s practice, she uses the principles of Health At Every Size and Ellyn Satters’ work as her guiding and underlying philosophy when working with all clients regardless of their health goals.  Please read more about Shannon in her bio and give us a call or email to book at appointment with her.

Interested in learning more? Schedule an appointment with Shannon to get support on your journey to body and mind health.

Shannon Fenster Written by our nutritionist and mental health counselor, Shannon Fenster, MS, CN, LMT


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