What we eat fuels our bodies, impacting our mood, energy levels and overall well-being. It’s not enough to simply eat three times a day. A healthy lifestyle requires understanding the basic nutritional value of the food we choose and how that food impacts our bodies. So where to begin?
With our very own registered dietitian (RD) Rachel Vincent, of course! One of our go-to experts for the Mission Health Blog, Rachel teaches the western North Carolina community about healthy eating and how to develop habits that influence a healthy lifestyle, for life.
Rachel’s blog post The Truth about Smoothies was a favorite last November.
For National Nutrition Month, Rachel has shared a behind-the-scenes look of her role as an RD at Mission Weight Management and the many hats she wears to care for and inspire people on their weight-loss or wellness journeys, including detective, cook, teacher, creator, teammate and – her favorite part of the job – a cheerleader.
“Much time is spent gathering information during my typical work day, including reviewing medical records, enrollment packets, food journals, lab results and sometimes doing a little background research when I encounter something new. During an appointment I usually ask a lot of questions. This detective work is like collecting puzzle pieces, so I put them together, see what’s missing and identify how I can help.”
“’Anyone can cook, but only the fearless can be great.’ That quote is from one of my favorite Disney movies, Ratatouille. This sentiment reassures me, as I fumble through recipes while working on building my confidence in the kitchen. It’s rewarding to translate nutrition science into tangible foods that are easy to make, healthy and taste good.”
“I come from a family of teachers. My mom taught second grade in her early career. My sister started her career in secondary education mathematics at the master’s level before finding a new path in health information technology. After retiring from civil engineering, my father has been substitute teaching for over a decade. The opportunity to teach in my own dietitian role has been an unexpected joy. It’s amazing to witness ’light bulb moments‘ that empower people to better nourish their own bodies.”
“On one occasion, I learned how to use the laminating machine and, after some wrinkly fails, created portion-comparison wallet cards. Another time, you could find me sitting on the floor with construction paper, scissors, a glue stick and foil pans crafting a mock-up restaurant buffet for a workshop class activity. Creativity is so much fun; it shakes things up when learning and problem-solving. I delight in the chance to create.”
“Here at Mission Weight Management, I’m blessed to be a provider among giants. Every person that comes through our doors has access to a whole team of experts. It is invaluable for me when I see someone who has a need beyond my scope to be able to connect them to the expert that can best address their concern. Providers here support, encourage and teach me, too.”
“Sometimes, I have appointments in which the words ‘food’ or ‘weight’ are hardly mentioned at all. These are times when I sense that the greater need isn’t a new meal plan or weight-loss strategy, but simply being a good listener. We keep tissues in our consult rooms for a reason. I feel privileged when someone trusts me enough to share the truth about what life is really like for them right now, because often these truths are the keys to understanding the roots of health challenges. We cannot skip this step; often it is the only way to uncover solutions that hold real value.”
“This is probably my favorite hat to wear of all. Negative reinforcement or a ‘drill-sergeant’ style of coaching has never felt comfortable or natural to me. I prefer the cheerleader role (minus the pom-poms). When a person shares a personal victory in an appointment, class or support group, I feel chills, goosebumps…pinpricks of tears – it makes my day!”
Rachel Vincent, RD, is a clinical nutritionist educator at Mission Weight Management.