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Meet Silvia, Elo's Principal Nutritionist

Say hello to Silvia Segerstrale, our Principal Nutritionist at Elo. Silvia comes to Elo with almost a decade of experience in nutrition coaching, and previously led the wellness program for Stanford's Distinguished Careers Institute (DCI). But she wasn't always a nutritionist. Read on to find out about her unique background.

Silvia Segerstrale, Principal Nutritionist
10 mins

Hello and the TL;DR!

My name is Silvia Segerstrale, and I am the Principal Nutritionist at Elo. I’m very excited to bring my passion for nutrition, wellness, and quantitative analysis to the team. I spent my early career in strategy consulting with Accenture, and I now also have almost a decade of experience in nutrition program design and coaching. 
Prior to joining Elo, I worked as a nutrition counselor at Stanford Hospital Concierge Medicine and ran the wellness program at Stanford University’s Distinguished Careers Institute. I believe in data-driven nutrition, small changes with big impacts, and above all, balance.    

Let’s start from the beginning

I didn’t discover my passion for nutrition and wellness until I was roughly a decade into my working life. I graduated with a Masters in Economics at Cambridge University in the UK, planning for a high flying career in London. I joined Accenture, where I built a career as a strategy consultant, working with CEOs around Europe to rethink strategy and execution. Working night and day, I spent more time on the road than at home and my friends almost didn’t know I existed. After the better part of a decade, I realized I was gradually falling out of love with big business, and wanted to explore something different.
My first child was born in 2009 and this forced me to assess what I really wanted. At the same time, I started paying more attention to my own health and educating myself about keeping my family healthy. 

My health struggle

During my second pregnancy, I struggled with hefty weight gain. I tried many different approaches and changed the way I ate and exercised. I challenged myself to gradually develop new healthy habits for myself and my family. Over the last 9 years, I’ve lost close to 50lb (and no, this is not a typo - I have pictures to prove it!). It didn’t happen overnight but with slow and steady progress.
In 2012, we moved to the US and I developed gastrointestinal symptoms - really bad stomach aches - that would put me out for an entire day (sometimes two). My GI doctor gave me proton pump inhibitors and sent me home. 
As I learned more about nutrition, I finally decided to try altering my diet and giving up gluten. My symptoms gradually disappeared and I haven’t looked back since. A year later I took a gluten sensitivity test and unsurprisingly, I came back as highly sensitive to gluten and wheat.
2012 was also the year that I decided to say goodbye to strategy consulting and to pursue a second career in nutrition and wellness - even if it meant starting over. I am now proud to be Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition in the US and a Registered Nutrition Therapist in the UK, graduating top of my class at both institutions, while gaining hands-on experience working as a wellness coach in sports institutions in the Bay area. 

My approach to nutrition and wellness

I specialize in combining quantitative and qualitative data to achieve systematic improvements in health outcomes. I enjoy learning about frameworks for optimizing nutrition, sleep, exercise, stress, social connectedness, and purpose. 
Three main principles underpin my nutrition philosophy:
  1. Gradual change, backed by data. I believe in collecting every piece of information there is, from tests to self-reported evaluations, to truly understand my clients and their nutrition needs. I’m a proponent of small changes that add up to a big change over time. As these changes show up in data, they can be very motivational.
  2. High impact strategies. I see wellness as a personal puzzle and tailor strategies to deliver the biggest impact for my clients. I have seen too many people focus on the wrong lever and wonder why they’re not getting results. 
  3. Balance. Our bodies are very complex and interconnected. Changes in movement, sleep, and relaxation can be just as important as changes to your diet. Focusing on strategies in only one area doesn’t lead to wellness in the long run. In my experience, the best wellness outcomes are reached by making small incremental changes in many areas and not just concentrating on one.
Strategy consultancy usually involves measuring every aspect of a company’s performance and then developing initiatives to improve business results. It gives me great satisfaction to be able to apply many principles from my consulting days to help Elo members become healthier and happier.

Why did I join Elo? 

I loved my work at Stanford Hospital. However, I became increasingly frustrated with the traditional hospital philosophy of curing patients of illness rather than helping them stay healthy.
I kept thinking “If we had only intervened earlier, we could have prevented these biomarker results”. I wanted to fix that, so in April 2019 I had the opportunity to work with the former Dean of School of Medicine at Stanford, Philip Pizzo, to create a wellness course for the Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute (DCI), combining data collection, wellness coaching and concierge medicine to allow participants in the course achieve their wellness goals. Teaching 45 fellows and seeing the tangible improvements in their health was deeply satisfying. I felt I had already scaled up my impact. But how could I scale it up further? Should I write a book? Teach an online course? Set up a company?
The answer came when I came across Elo in 2020. It truly was love at first sight for me. I felt Ari and Tapio share so much of my philosophy around what nutrition should be. Their vision would allow me to work to impact wellness at a very large scale - not just by seeing individual patients, or creating courses and protocols for a single class at DCI, but growing an entire company that can systematically improve health outcomes and prevent chronic disease. 
My Elo journey so far has been amazing. I’m humbled every day by getting to work with the leaders in my field, and with such a passionate and talented team around me consistently pushing the boundaries in nutrition and wellness personalization and optimization. I look forward to learning from the best, getting to know our Elo members, and seeing them improve their results in the coming years. 
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