Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Today is National Registered Dietitian Day!!

What a wonderful Wednesday it is indeed, because today is a day that celebrates registered dietitians across the United States!!

Since I have not had the chance to do so yet, I wanted to take this opportunity to share what I am currently doing as a registered dietitian and why I love my job so much. To me, being a dietitian is more than sharing my knowledge of food and nutrition, but also spreading hope of a better life that is to be found by treating your body with love and respect through quality foods. I have been able to do this in a variety of ways:

Clinical Dietitian

As a clinical dietitian at a local long term care facility, I interact daily with a number of individuals in all stages of the aging process, including many who have numerous health co-morbidities and mental illnesses such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Dementia. My role as clinical dietitian is to monitor their weight, food and fluid intake and adjust their diets to best meet their nutritional needs while overcoming a variety of feeding obstacles. Many residents need special therapeutic diets or modified consistency diets, adaptive equipment at meals, nutritional supplements or assistance with eating to optimize their nutritional intake.

More so than encouraging adequate food and fluid intake, I am an integral part of an interdisciplinary medical team that works to not only optimize the health and well-being of these residents, makes it a priority to interact with these residents on a daily basis, helping them to feel loved, cared for and special. In a time in their life when many have lost most of their loved ones, we step in and serve as their adopted family. Needless to say, I love each of them!

Weight Management Counselor

As a weight management counselor for a fitness center in West Virginia, I meet with clients who are participating in a state-funded weight management interventional program. Each session we talk about a client's nutritional strengths and weaknesses, interventions for improvement, nutritional tips and strategies and set intermediary "baby steps" towards meeting their long term goals. I definitely enjoy the one on one interactions with each of my clients, the satisfaction of knowing I'm making a difference in their life and that they are becoming more empowered by each session to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Wellness Dietitian & Blogger

I partake in various other "consulting" jobs 'that have included speaking/presenting at wellness fairs, health screenings and other educational sessions designed towards building healthier workplaces, individual nutrition consultations and writing this blog!

More recently, presenting on heart healthy foods for Valentines Day 2013.

During a recent workplace wellness fair near Lynchburg, VA.
Partaking in the Valley Health Wellness Festival in Winchester, VA.

Dietitians across America have the opportunity to play a number of different "roles" throughout their career -- really the opportunities are endless -- which is one of the biggest factors that attracted me to becoming a dietitian from the get go. It suits my need for variety quite well!! My hope for my career is that I may continue to reach out to others in a way that inspires and empowers them to take the reins of their health, make sustainable lifestyle changes and live a more invigorated life.

Of course, I cannot forget to mention the most important/ fun role I play as a dietitian... feeding my husband!! Keeping this guy fed is almost a full-time job in itself.

Happy National Registered Dietitian Day to all the RD's out there!!

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