Nutrition Month Staff Spotlight: Lead Dietitian Kayla Jessop
What is your name, credentials & background?
My name is Kayla Jessop and I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and very happy about my career choice everyday. I graduated from Utah State University where I also completed my internship. I made the huge jump to NYC and started in outpatient care for medical nutrition therapy and eating disorders. I eventually found BALANCE where I have taken further interests in working with children with eating disorders and people who suffer from gastrointestinal disorders.
What is your role at BALANCE?
My roles at Balance include individual nutrition counseling, meal support, nutrition groups and much more in all levels of care that we offer (DTP, IOP, OP).
What does a typical day for you look like at BALANCE?
One of my favorite parts about the job is how different each day is from the next. I may plan a nutrition group on medical complications of ED but the clients may be really interested that day in talking about steps if intuitive eating. Being flexible is important and good to model for the clients.
What is your favorite part about working at BALANCE and helping those recover from eating disorders?
My favorite part of my job is taking part in our crystal ceremonies. When a client is stepping down from treatment, a specific crystal is chosen that we feel represents them. Each client and staff then take a moment to talk to the individual who is leaving to infuse the stone with an attribute as well as words of encouragement. Often the crystal ceremonies are emotional for me as I reflect on their transformation from day one to the present time. I love seeing clients blossom through their eating disorder and live a more purposeful life!!
What is one of our favorite foods or recipes?
My favorite food would have to be Yakisoba. It’s a Japanese stir fry noodle dish that will forever remind me of family. A hobby of mine is attended cooking classes around the city. I have so far ‘mastered’ street tacos and chicken tikka marsala!
Tell us about something you love to do?
A recent interest of mine is scuba diving. I have done about 30 dives in the Caymen islands, St. Martaan, and Turks and Caicos. This year I am planning a trip to swim with migrating whales and I couldn’t be more excited!
What is a fun fact not many know about you?
I grew up in a very small town in Idaho and was blessed with three “therapy chicken” pets! They would run around in the backyard with me and also cuddle in my lap while I told them stories. My brothers were allergic to dogs and my sisters allergic to cats so naturally I settled with chickens.