Meet the Wellness Professional: Holly Westling

Nutritionist at Open Door Integrative Wellness, WRJ

Every week or so I will be highlighting someone in the Upper Valley who falls under the title of Wellness Professional - trainers, nutritionists, therapists of all kinds (physical, psychological, massage), and creators of healthy products, to name just a few. I'll give them a list of the same 20  questions and they can choose to answer as many of them however they'd like. 

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This week I'd like to introduce you to Holly Westling, RN, MS, CNS - Nutritionist at Open Door Integrative Wellness in White River Junction

Brief Bio: Holly Westling provides nutritional counseling with a focus on functional nutrition. She enjoys helping clients reduce inflammation and resulting symptoms, identify and resolve food sensitivities. and stabilize blood sugar and hormone balance. Holly also counsels clients in sports nutrition, weight loss/gain, and how to create life-long health habits to optimize well-being through one-on-one counseling, group sessions, and cooking demonstrations. Holly has a BA from the University of Virginia and a BSN from Johns Hopkins University. While practicing nursing in both an acute care setting and in oncology, she developed a passion for nutrition and a desire to work in preventative health care. She has a Masters in Human Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport as well as a national certification as a Certified Nutrition Specialist.

What is your fitness/wellness philosophy?

My wellness philosophy is to strive to live a healthy lifestyle that promotes vitality and enables me to do what I want to do and achieve what I want to achieve. My ideal healthy lifestyle is also very forgiving. It is important that I live in a way that helps me be as strong as I can be, and at the same time allowing flexibility for those moments of indulgence. As a nutritionist, it has become more and more clear to me that we really are what we eat. The cells in our bodies are constantly reproducing and what we eat either reinforces our cellular structures or weakens them as determined over time.

How did you get to where you are now?

I have always been interested in healthcare and health education. I worked as an RN for years in acute care and then oncology. My work with cancer patients motivated me to go into preventative healthcare. I returned to school to study nutrition which I consider to be the foundation of preventative health.

Did you ever have any setbacks and how did you get past them?

Eating well takes constant effort and mindfulness. I have always been a sweets lover and once in a while I find myself hooked again on sweets. A couple times a year, I offer a cleanse (at Open Door where I work), and this has always helped me kick my sugar habit and help me get back on track with healthy eating. I find it especially helpful after the holidays. Healthy eating is a lifestyle and we shouldn't feel deprived, but learn to treat ourselves on occasion while maintaining our good health. Sometimes that balance can lean a bit too much on the indulgent side, so we need to work hard to keep a healthy balance.

What makes you unique in your field?

I am very interested in Functional Medicine which looks at the root cause of illness and symptoms. As a result, I bring a functional approach to my nutritional counseling. I like to help people learn why they may not feel well and teach them how to eat in a way that helps them feel well again. The power of healing with food is pretty incredible.

What's your favorite:

  • Breakfast: I am very lucky in that my husband is a fantastic breakfast chef. My favorite breakfast is his vegetable omelette with guacamole and a green shake. Remember the old saying, "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day" I always feel good starting my day with vegetables and some protein.
  • Snacks/sweets: fruit and nuts/seeds are my go-to snacks. I always keep a little bag of nuts in my purse or car - just in case.
  • Lunch: My favorite lunch is a huge salad with about 8 different vegetables, chopped nuts, avocado, and a little cheese that someone else has prepared for me.
  • Dinner: A big salad with roasted vegetables and some yummy cheese OR a vegetable/chicken coconut curry
  • Beverage: My favorite beverage is water. I try to carry a water bottle wherever I go. Second favorite would have to be a mug of green tea or a glass of wine - depending on the time of day.


What's you favorite place to eat out in the Upper Valley? What do you usually get?

I don't have a favorite place. We are really lucky to have so many good restaurants in the Upper Valley. I always enjoy going to Base Camp in Hanover - really delicious, fresh and healthy. I also really enjoy TukTuk in Hanover and almost always get the avocado curry.

You're trapped on 12A in West Lebanon starving and you only have $8. What do you buy to get your through your errands?

The easiest solution for me, would be to buy a Kind Bar or Larabar. I like them because they have less sugar than most other energy bars and they have simple ingredients like nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.

What's your guilty pleasure (food or otherwise)?

Watching Scandal on Thursday nights - love it! Oh, and dark chocolate.

What's something health and wellness related that you wish you'd known years ago?

The magic of daily green shakes. They really make you feel great.

What's the best health/wellness/fitness advice you've ever received?

Make sure you get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. This can be really hard at times, but I always feel good and ready for the day after a good night's sleep.

What's your favorite quote or mantra?

You are what you eat.

Who or what gives you inspiration?

I would have to say the Dalai Lama. I find his wisdom and gift of simplifying this complicated world truly inspiring. “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” ― Dalai Lama  See what I mean?

What's something you wish your clients/class participants knew? Or did? Or didn't do?

Wow, that's a great question. I always appreciate my clients and their working hard to improve themselves. Sometimes, people lose focus and stop trying. I wish they would forgive themselves and give themselves another chance. That can be frustrating and I wish they didn't give up because eventually, they will reach their goals if they stick with it.

If you could only have one piece of fitness/wellness equipment what would it be?

My Vitamix blender - amazing machine that creates deliciousness out of water, plain vegetables and fruit.

What's your favorite non-gym physical activity?

I love trail running in the woods with my dogs.

What are your passions outside of your field?

I love being in nature - it feeds my soul.

What's your least favorite exercise?

Running on a treadmill

Your favorite exercise?

Running in the woods.

What are one or two tips you can give to help people be successful in their wellness journey?

Stick with it! It can take time to achieve your goals, but It is well worth it!

What question have I not asked that you wish I had?

One thought-provoking question I like to ask people is, "What brings you joy and how much of your time is spent doing that?"

Where can people learn more about you?

  • Website: under the "nutrition" tab.
  •  Email: People are welcome to email me at

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Enjoyed this interview? You might also enjoy:

Last Week's Interview - Erin McCabe - BeWell Department Manager/Athletic Trainer at the RVC

Next Week's Interview - Marco Day - Personal Trainer at the RVC and author of the website How to Health With Marco

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