What is your professional background?
I am a certified nutritionist at a medical clinic called Vida Integrated Health. I graduated with a Master’s Degree in June 2020, but prior to that I was a stockbroker!
What inspired your career path?
It was largely inspired by my own weight loss, a total of about 200 pounds. I wanted to have children, but was told that it wasn’t an option at my weight, so a six year journey began!
Fast forward--I had twins! It was the surprise of a lifetime! And after the twins I had another baby, so I lost more weight from my post-baby weight.
Through all the ups and downs I was able to track my health through regular DEXA scanning. I wanted to make sure that I was losing body fat in a healthy sustainable way, and without losing muscle.
My first scan was in 2015 at a sports clinic, and that’s how I found BodySpec. At the time, I was maybe not your average client, but I wanted to see how I was progressing and that I was preserving muscle. With DEXA scans I was able to prove it!
It was a slow process, but I wanted it to be sustainable. During my initial weight loss I was scanning at every 10-20 pound loss, when I saw the scale move, I’d go to ensure that I wasn’t losing muscle. And from the scan results I’d make the appropriate changes.
What’s your approach with clients just starting out?
I see many patients with medical conditions and are in need of help with weight management. We see many people who have gained more weight than they expected during COVID.
If weight management is going to be part of their plan, I recommend a baseline DEXA scan. They’ll often say, "Oh, I have a scale!" -- but then I will explain the benefits of DEXA. That it’s a more complete health picture than a scale, and they’ll see things they didn’t expect.
Good nutrition is not just about what you’re eating, but how to eat. Many people are protein deficient, and don’t realize it. We talk about how to work good nutrition in around life!
It’s important to learn how to fit in good nutrition while still enjoying life. Good health isn’t an either/or -- it’s an and situation.
How do you build a game plan for your clients?
At an initial consultation, we look at blood work. And decide - is there anything metabolic happening? Anything that could impact their health? If they’re trying to gain muscle, or lose fat, is there anything impeding that? How can we optimize their metabolism? Is their weight stable? We ask lots of questions!
After that, getting a DEXA scan to establish a baseline is key. Whether they have two goals or ten goals, we try to check off lists. We pair the scan with continuing to monitor labs. Being able to see progress is huge.
As a nutritionist, I focus on dietary patterns, but I also encourage physical activity. In fact, I’ve started working with a trainer myself. I needed that accountability, so that’s why a trainer works best for me.
I was able to make big changes based on nutrition alone. I decided to see about growing muscle! This is a new space for me, and I’m scanning to see what will happen when I work to gain, not just maintain.
How do you explain a DEXA scan to a new client?
I explain that there’s a scan, better than a scale, that will tell you everything!
It’s a body composition analysis. It allows my client to set specific goals. It makes it easy to see how small changes affect us in big ways.
It’s also great to see where fat is centralized. Is it the fluffy kind that sits just under the skin or is it the more-concerning visceral fat around the organs? And I usually mention it takes place in a van, lasts less than 15-minutes, and you’re fully clothed! Oh, and there’s the price, and you can get them as often as you like!
What do you have happening in 2022?
In the new year, I’m starting a physician and nutrition-led 12-week program in which the goal is metabolic optimization. Clients will have a pre-scan, and at minimum, a post scan. Everyone’s 12 weeks will look different, but the DEXA scans will help to see what’s changed.
The scan is a snapshot in time. It’s great to tell you where you’re going! Whatever the goal is, the idea is to enter into a new year having transformed something!
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