Sunday, June 9, 2013

RD Weighs In On, "Dietitians can provide skilled advice on how to eat more healthfully"

I became an RD because I believe food is a large piece of the health puzzle and I want to help people put together their unique puzzle. Of course, I also work with clients to understand that food is only one of the pieces, and physical health is but one piece of our overall wellness.

Today, I am grateful to the Washington Post for the recent positive press about what an RD is and what sets us apart. We are not a homogeneous profession. We sometimes disagree on the science (as critical thinkers will), especially with newly emerging research. But we have a common core training that helps us to evaluate science, individualize treatment (no cookie cutters in my office!), and work WITH our clients to set goals and action plans.

Many RDs are on social media, so you may follow them on Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook. What you may not see is the one-on-one counseling with individuals facing chemotherapy, with high blood pressure that just won't come down, trying to lose weight (again), competing in their 1st or 25th triathlon, or trying to uncomplicate life with diabetes. These are just a few of the many situations with which an RD will help her clients, often with little recognition.

In fact, many insurance companies still do not cover medical nutrition therapy (MNT), and Medicare covers it only for diabetes and kidney disease. I don't take insurance for this reason, but many of my colleagues do, and many of us are lobbying to change this reality.

So I want to take a moment to recognize my RD colleagues who put the power of good food to work in their clients’ and patients’ lives. Who patiently guide their clients to that eye-opening moment when they feel both motivated and capable of doing the right things for themselves. Thank you for the inspiration!

Written by:
Cheryl Toner, MS, RD strives to inspire people and companies to choose wellness in everyday moments. She sees nutrition clients in Herndon (Northern VA), and consults with food- and health-focused organizations as an advisor, analyst, and writer.