Do You Need A Healthy Eating Coach To Get You Into Shape?

October 28, 2011   8 Comments

Snack Girl went on a field trip in September to San Diego where she met some very motivated healthy food advocates at a conference.

Healthy Eating Coach

The conference was called the "Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo" and was run by the American Dietetic Association. I attended so I could learn more from the experts on healthy food - and I had a great time.

Why? I kept meeting amazing women (and a few men) that care about the same things that I care about. Louise Goldberg of An Apple A Day Nutrition was one of the thousands of Registered Dietitians at the conference that coaches people on healthy eating.

She took some time out of her busy life to answer some questions about her vocation.

Snack Girl: What is the difference between a "nutritionist" and a Registered Dietician?

Louise Goldberg, RD: The main difference is education qualifications and accountability. A Registered Dietitian is a regulated title meaning the individual has a bachelors of science or masters degree in nutrition and goes through an accredited program or internship with 1200 hours of supervised practice before taking a qualifying examination.

RDs must also maintain a minimum number of continuing education hours every year to keep up with current nutrition information in their area of practice.

Many dietitians have additional certifications on top of their RD that require training in specialized areas, e.g. I am certified as a specialist in pediatric nutrition (CSP), nutrition support (CNSC) and food allergies.

Snack Girl: Do you only work with families in severe dietary trouble? For example, you told me a story about a 3 year old patient of yours that was wearing adult diapers because she was obese. What about people just needing a little support?

Louise Goldberg, RD: Many of my patients do need a good deal of help regaining their health. ‘Severe dietary trouble’ does include the kids, teenagers and parents who are overweight or obese; but it also includes patients who have nutrient deficiencies because their gut is torn up from food allergies or they need guidance on what kind and how much formula to give their tube fed 5 year old who is unable to swallow food.

However, not all cases are severe. There are some families who seek nutrition advice on healthy eating to get them back on track or lose a little weight, which is wonderful! I LOVE talking with them about good food choices and I applaud their proactive approach.

Nutrition effects everyone so there are many levels where dietitians can help in people’s lives.

Snack Girl: I have a friend, George, who wants a coach like Jillian Michaels to help him kick his junk food habits. He eats fast food for lunch every day and drinks 2 sodas per day. How would you help George?

Louise Goldberg, RD: What makes Jillian successful in the weight loss world? One reason is that she tries to understand what the barrier is between her clients and a healthy lifestyle.

Then she knocks down that barrier or figures out another way around which works for that person. While I can’t yell in George’s face like Jillian or move onto a ranch with him for several weeks, I tackle those same issues on a less…nationally televised level.

There are a multitude of reasons why weight loss tricks and diets don’t work and it is different for everyone. George and I would work together to find solutions that work for his life, with the goal that he one day feel strong and empowered to make healthy decisions for himself.

And if after all that George still wants me to yell at him for eating junk food, I might be willing to do that for an additional fee. :)

Snack Girl: If you could wave a magic wand and change just ONE thing in American's diets what would it be?

Louise Goldberg, RD: Woahhh. I’m sorry to let you down, but if I have a magic wand, nutrition is probably not going to be the first thing on my mind…but after I’ve used it for world peace, I would want people to be less reliant on overly processed ‘food’.

Snack Girl: What do you love about your job?

Louise Goldberg, RD: What’s not to love? I comfort parents by getting their sick babies to grow. I help children with celiac disease or food allergies feel better by finding foods that heal their gut. I help pregnant moms grow strong babies. I help families get healthy together. It is very rewarding.

Snack Girl: What is your favorite snack?

Louise Goldberg, RD: An Apple A Day, of course. ;-)

Thanks so much, Louise!

Have you used a Registered Dietician? How was it helpful?

Other posts you might like:


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I've been to a few registered dieticians, the last one I went to was during my second pregnancy.

he was great, mainly because she saw that I basically ate balanced healthy meals, but binged on snack food. My problem was not a lack of knowledge of nutrition. She confirmed what I had suspected; there was something wrong with my head (my thinking) and urged me to seek help with a therapist specializing in eating disorders. I went to a cognitive behaviour therapist and my thinking and eating is completely different (minimal cravings and I actually seek out healthy food to eat).

Now that I understand why I overeat, I can tell you that someone such as Jillian yelling at me or telling me to stop eating junk food would have fuelled me to eat more.

I suspect that there are many people that overeat and binge due to the restrictive nature of dieting.

I made a few different visits to one, who looked at what I was eating and tried to help me get a handle on portions & increasing protein intake. The sessions did help tremendously with both, since its amazing how many bad nutritionally habits we pick up in life...Ironically, one of her suggestions was that I join WW (which I did) since it was too time consuming to track all the micro-nutrients myself.

Really great interview...I have talked to a few Registered Dietitians but honestly I did not know the difference between a Registered Dietitian and a nutritionist.

You had also briefly mentioned an obese three year old - that is just really sad.

Exactly what KLA said.

I am a nurse practitioner and I work with a couple dietitians in our clinic. They are the most caring people and always go out of their way to help. Our patients are really sick and don't always realize the impact their nutrition has on how well they heal or handle chemotherapy. Good post!

Really enjoyed this interview! I would have loved to have been at the ADA conference...maybe next year!

This is a great interview. I loved the bit though that she would choose world peace. It is all about perspective.

This was an awesome interview. I'm going to show it to my bf - he's studying to become a dietitian right now. Thats a job in the medical field that most people avoid.

Heck, I still shudder just thinking the word. The 'diet' part frightens people sometimes

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