The first week of October is a special for me. Aside from being a time to frolic in pumpkins, October 1st marked my one year anniversary of starting Food 4 Success, LLC, my nutrition consulting business. A year in private practice has been such an amazing learning experience, and leaves me hungry for learning more. More ways to spread credible nutrition information, more ways to motivate clients, more and better ways to spread healthy recipes and the love of cooking and family time all around. Oh and I have so much to learn still!

Here is some of what I DID learn in this adventurous year:

  1. I have some pretty AMAZING clients. Working with my clients has been such an honor and to say the least, an inspiration. I have had the pleasure of working with so many who are determined to live life to the fullest and take charge of their health by improving how they eat – not an overnight task. While I’m there to provide guidance, it’s my clients that do the work to reap the benefits. And I get the wonderful benefit of seeing their smiling faces when they succeed, whether it be pounds coming off, their blood sugar numbers improved, their cholesterol lower, their delight in telling me their pants are too big, or maybe their boost of energy.  It’s truly beautiful!
  2. I may be a nutrition expert, but you are the expert of your life. The beauty of nutritional counseling is that we work together to find what works for YOU, to get results YOU want. One way of eating or dieting does not fit all,  and while I didn’t think it was possible, working with people this past year has even strengthened my dislike for diets. Everyone has different health backgrounds and lifestyles, so one diet doesn’t fit all. You know what works and what doesn’t. We work together to find solutions to health goal barriers. Working with a variety of individuals with different backgrounds has given me more confidence in patient-centered nutritional counseling, and has proven it is leaps and bounds more effective than some health professional sitting there lecturing you need to do this, don’t eat that, etc, without taking into account your lifestyle and feelings. If you’ve endured that kind of care, I’m sure you can agree, blah to that!
  3. It’s not about perfection, it’s about the right direction. Yep, I stole that from a PBS nutrition cartoon that my son watches in the morning, but man it’s so true. I’ve learned that a lot of clients initially dread coming to see me, because they think I will take away all their favorite foods and demand “diet perfection.” They soon learn that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Dietitians are here to keep your favorite foods in mind, and teach you how to make them fit into a healthier way of eating. It’s about focusing on your diet and health habits as an entire picture, and not dwell on “good” or “bad” foods. Cutting out something you love won’t solve anything, and would make ALL dietitians super hypocrites, because we are ALL human and enjoy things like pizza and chocolate cake from time to time (I sure do..)
  4. The media continues to be full of poop. This isn’t exactly new news, but I have learned more and more the negative impact of what poor, opinion-based instead of science-based nutrition advice can have. I’ve had clients come to me that were victims of poor-nutrition advice and it has shown me first-hand how terrible it can be. Internet fear-mongering and food scare-tactics are horrible, even discouraging people from eating foods that could actually benefit them. Examples of this include a drop in vegetable consumption because of fear of pesticides, or maybe avoidance of carbs because of the whole “carbs are evil” message out there. This can cause problems such as nutritional deficiencies and further health complications. The more we can spread credible, scientific-based nutrition information, the better. Recognizing registered dietitians are the most credible source for nutrition information is critical, and knowing the difference between our profession and self-proclaimed “nutritionists,” that do not have the educational background to advise safely. I also try to empower and educate my clients on better sources when looking for answers on the web, like in  Why I hate Dr. Oz and a list of actual credible web sites for health information .
  5. I will never stop learning. Being a registered dietitian entrepreneur and nutritional counselor and educator will never be boring. My passion is to improve my skills so that I may better serve you in improving your health and quality of life through better eating habits. And maybe in a selfish-sense, because seeing those success smiles make so happy and warm inside.
  6. Improving my blog. I am in the process of learning how to produce better content, better recipes, and better pictures to make it more appealing, interesting, and helpful to you. Thanks for bearing with me on this one, definitely a work in progress! 

I also learned a lot about running a business. It’s not always easy, but it’s fun to dream and strive for what could be. Thank you to all my friends, family, and awesome clients who have supported me in this journey, you are appreciated more than you know. I welcome another year of learning adventures!20160219_133453

Until next time!

~Elissa