Q & A with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

QA with a RDN

As a Certified Personal Trainer, I acknowledge that there are a lot of ingredients in a recipe for success with clients.  It is not merely an appointment for exercise.  It includes the ingredients; goal setting, commitment, consistency, and a healthy balance of nutrition.  Often times weight loss is included in a client's goals.  And to help manage that, nutrition must be considered.

Here within lies the tricky part.  As a Certified Personal Trainer, unless we are also Registered Dietitians, we must not prescribe diets to our clients.  Even with my Fitness Nutrition Specialist Certification, I am only trained to coach clients in nutrition, using tools like; food journals, reading labels, recipe sharing, meal planning, and food prepping, through resources from the US government and FDA.  

Many trainers network and "talk shop" with Registered Dietitians, just as Registered Dietitians look to trainers for guidance themselves.  So, I decided to interview one such Registered Dietitian; a client and Y member, Christine Spettel.  She has been a RDN, CD for ten years, starting in clinical practice and finding her love for counseling others.  For the past eight years, she has been providing private counseling and small business consulting as the Owner of Lifestyle Nutrition, LLC.  Here is a synopsis of some of the important things we covered in the interview.

Q.  How does exercise play a role in diet and Nutrition?

A.  Regular exercise, and I stress 'regular', over a long period of time can help maintain a healthy weight while also reducing the risk of chronic disease.  Exercise HAS to be a part of a healthy living plan because it plays such an important role. You don't need to be a runner or member of a cross-fit gym.  There are so many options at every level to incorporate exercise that motivates and works for you!  

Q.  What is the most basic, yet important, aspect of someone's nutritional lifestyle?

A.  Balance!  Finding balance within your lifestyle to incorporate healthy living is the key to long-term success and sustainability.  Not just healthy eating and nutrition, but also physical activity sleep, meditation ect.  Balancing out all aspects of healthy living within a busy lifestyle will help keep you on point so that one aspect doesn't fall behind the others.

Q. Let's talk "DIETS"!  Give me some feedback on some of the trendy diets of the day: KETO, Whole 30, Paleo, Vegan/Vegetarian (plant based), Carb Cycling, Intermittent fasting, Cleanses, and any others I may not have listed.

A.  The word "DIET", as a label, always makes me cringe.  There are so many out there and they are constantly changing; modifications of the same premises.  It's hard not to be tempted and pressured by the current trends especially when you see people enjoying it and getting results.  However, are the results long term?  Are the changes being made sustainable?  Is the "diet" of choice detrimental to your health, are you missing key nutrients in your diet?  Are you losing weight too fast?  Is your metabolism affected in a negative way, long-term, by the results?  The best "diet" and longest running one isn't a diet, it's a lifestyle.  Choosing whole foods, incorporating regular exercise and listening to your own personal satiety cues has been shown to have the greatest long-term success.  

Q.  Add anything else that you feel people need to know about nutrition.

A.  Making small, easy changes, over a long period of time is the way to go for overall, long-term sustainability.  Good nutrition and healthy living doesn't have to be hard, overwhelming, or taxing.  Don't over think the process or get pressured into big changes that cost a lot of money.  Just take it one step at a time, day by day.  As long as you are setting goals and achieving them, you are moving forward. 

There you have it!  A few key ingredients for your success regarding "diet".  Let's just say, lifestyle sure has to do a lot with healthy nutrition!  


Kim Dart Elsing Greater Green Bay YMCA
Certified Personal Trainer, FNS, Nondiet Weight Management Certified, Trained in Holistic Life Coaching through GAHP (Global Association of Holistic Practictioners)