Hey there, I’m Chiara!
That’s Key-ah-ruh (like tiara with a “k”—fun fact it’s Italian and means “light” or “clear”).
I’m a multi passionate human who loves DIY projects (building stuff out of old pallets is my specialty), thrift shopping, being outside, eating delicious food (I have chocolate pretty much every day), going on adventures with my husband, Zach, and of course climbing (currently working on my first 5.12c)!
From 8 to 4, you’ll find me at Yale New Haven Hospital in one of two outpatient nutrition clinics but Bite Beta Nutrition is really where my passion and expertise collide! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my day job and I’m so grateful that I landed it right out of my internship before I even took my boards.
As a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), I help climbers like you crush their hardest and be their happiest by teaching them how to eat to send and make peace with food. I 100% believe you truly can’t maximize your climbing potential (or fully enjoy your life as a human) without these two components.
And here’s the deal: climbers all around the world are being sabotaged by misinformation about sports nutrition and toxic diet culture. I’m on a mission to provide facts and truth that will actually make a difference in your performance and life as a whole!
So Why Am I So Passionate About This?
Okay so this is about to get really personal and messy, but my story is at the heart of why I’m doing this!
So back to the very beginning: food and fitness were always a big deal in my family growing up. My dad is Italian (so no surprise there) and my British mom was a personal trainer (so hardcore she taught kickboxing and aerobics while pregnant) so there was an emphasis on being fit and eating healthy. From the beginning, food and fitness fascinated me! I’m sort of attracted to extremes so I loved the intensity and satisfaction of working out and feeling strong. Plus I just loved food!
But Then I Turned Twelve
I stopped growing. My body started changing. I was suddenly painfully aware that I could no longer eat what I wanted without consequences—or so I thought.
So I started dieting—at the ripe old age of 12. I remember aiming for 500 calories a day at one point and was completely consumed by trying to get the body I thought I needed. But you want to know the ironic thing? The harder I tried, the more I spun out of control with my eating. And the more I overate, the more I felt like I had to make up for it with restriction and exercise. Which eventually swung back to over eating. Which caused my weight to yo-yo back and forth. And so the cycle continued.
Let Me Be Perfectly Honest
Because binging was always followed by over restriction, I never reached an “unhealthy” weight. But that didn’t matter to me; I still hated the skin I was living in. I felt trapped by my thighs that rubbed together when I walked, the fat I felt under my chin when I smiled or laughed or looked down, the inches I could pinch on my stomach and hips. And I COULD NOT make it better. I had a freaking 4.0 GPA in a demanding program and was working multiple jobs to graduate debt free and able to excel at anything I put my mind to if I worked hard enough. But this was the one thing I couldn’t do.
And Then I Finally Figured it Out
In my senior year of college (ironically after having sat through numerous lectures about eating disorders) I finally realized that I fit the criteria. One snowy Saturday, as I sat on my bed, I googled eating disorders and found the National Eating Disorders Associations diagnostic criteria. I was a perfect match.
I Had Bulimia Nervosa
Fast forward 3 years. My road to recovery has been long and hard—making peace with food and my body has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. And the achiever in me would like to think I’ve done some darn hard things! I wish we could sit down over a cup of coffee (or tea for me) and I could lay out the whole story for you.
But let me just say this: as much as this process sucked, I honestly would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Because now that I’m on the other side, I have never been more sure of these four things.
1. Mindset is Everything
My twisted thoughts about food, exercise and my body drove my emotions—fear, sadness, guilt—and these emotions drove my actions and fueled the restrict-binge cycle. Until I recognized these lies and replaced them with truth over and over again to reframe my default way of thinking, I couldn’t break out of the cycle.
2. There is Another (Better) Way
Dude, I have found the best way to do life! Almost by accident, I stumbled into what I call the magic in the middle, moderation. And now that I’m an RDN and have worked with hundreds of clients with varying degrees of negative food/body mindsets, I have realized that my discovery of peace and freedom was not an accident. It actually shares many components with intuitive eating—a practice I didn’t know existed at the time but learned on my own. I could rant about this ALL day but let me tell you, there is NOTHING more amazing than being able to truly eat what you want when you want it without fear or guilt and while achieving your health or fitness goals. Again, I’m sure it sounds way too good to be true. But it isn’t! I should know.
3. I’m Not Alone—Diet Culture Rules Lives
I know now that it’s not just me. Without a doubt, more climbers are slaves to diet culture than are living out their freedom. Of all the people I’ve connected with over the past few years—friends, family, co-workers, clients, climber girls on instagram—most, if not all, of them have displayed some level of a negative food/body mindset.
As I began shifting my own thinking, I started noticing subtle phrases like “calories don’t count today,” “I worked out today so I can eat this,” or “I’m going to the gym to burn off that [fill in the blank].” Or someone would tell me what foods they entirely avoid because they have no self control around them. Or would ask me how could I be eating pizza because isn’t that a bad food.
I honestly get it. It’s SO much easier to be black or white. Dessert or no dessert? Carbs or no carbs? I’ve learned that a truly healthy person is able to find and live in that magic in the middle—moderation. The center point between restriction and over-indulgence. The freakin best place to call home. Because health is SO much more than just physical. Can we just acknowledge that? We may be athletes but we certainly aren’t machines.
4. I’m Here to Help
Now on the other side of my eating disorder, I finally have found my calling! I know what I need to do, I know who I need to help, and you can bet #dietculture’s butt that I’m going to do that!
My dream is to help climbers find the freedom that I have. To be the strongest and happiest versions of themselves by making peace with food and learning to love themselves. To crush their hardest possible because they aren’t afraid of the food that they need to fuel with or have been tricked into thinking that athletes more than anyone should be disciplined and on a perpetual diet.
So Let’s Go On a Journey!
Whatever your story, struggles, or goals, I’d be honored to help you become the strongest and happiest version of your awesome self. Whether that’s through us working one on one, me answering your questions in my DMs, or by keeping you supplied with content via my insider community, blog, and insta—however I can serve you best!