Christina Moreno, MS, RD, LD
EATING DISORDER DIETITIAN
for something nutrishus
Christina reached out after seeing the interview series on Linkedin. Like other interviewees, she also works in a challenging/rewarding areas of dietetics - eating disorders. This is definitely a specialized area and her background makes her a great fit. I can relate to what she finds fun in her career and am always happy when my forward thinking question makes a dietitian dig deep and really think.
Why did you become a RD?
Growing up as a classically trained dancer, I quickly caught on to what foods helped me perform at my best and kept me fuelled through long rehearsals! Secondly, as I spent most of my days in form fitting clothes and in front of a mirror, talks of food and body image were all the rage. My desire to help others, interest in science, and love of food steered me into the field of dietetics after transferring out of my early university studies in theatre and dance.
What area of dietetics do you work in?
Broadly speaking, I am an eating disorder dietitian. But of course this overlaps with performance nutrition, weight management, medical nutrition therapy, etc.
How would you explain what you do?
I often like to describe myself as a “nutrition counselor/therapist” or as I tell my dietetic interns, a dietitian + a wannabe therapist. (Shout out to the actual therapists who I could not do my job without!) I strive to help my clients navigate the ups and downs of their eating disorders and find a sustainable and individualized nutrition plan that will allow them to achieve optimal health and stability. This typically includes a lot of experimenting, challenging food rules or disordered thoughts, and ditching the scale.
What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?
Every day for me is different in terms of schedule and number of clients, but is relatively stable from week to week. Most days I see 5 or more individual clients, lead 1 supported meal group, have 1-2 meetings, and spend time charting, menu planning, and collaborating with my coworkers/outside health care providers. I also lead biweekly nutrition education groups and co-lead a binge eating disorder support group. I also get to schedule fun stuff in between like grocery store tours, food exposures, and consulting/educating dance teams on the importance of nutrition!
What has been your career path?
I received my B.S. in Dietetics from The University of Texas at Austin (Hook ‘Em) in 2010. I then took a gap year between graduation and starting my dietetic internship (also at UT). During that time, I worked as a Dietetic Technician at a local hospital and interned at the Fitness Institute of Texas. Upon becoming an RD, I went straight into the field of eating disorders, working at both the PHP (partial hospitalization program) and IOP (intensive outpatient program) levels of care at McCallum Place Eating Disorder Treatment Center. I have been in the field ever since and currently work at the IOP level with Ascend Consultation in Health Care.
What advanced education or special training do you have?
I recently completed my M.S. in Applied Nutrition with a concentration in Sport/Fitness Nutrition through Northeastern University and plan to pursue the CSSD (board certified specialist in sports dietetics) credential next! I am also privileged to be leading osteogenic loading sessions and help people rebuild bone mass with cutting edge technology.
In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?
Wow! That’s difficult to say as our field is always evolving. I hope that RD’s are more frequently consulted to help educate the public and prevent disease versus manage an existing condition. This means being regarded as the “go-to” nutrition professionals, being covered by insurance companies, and being included as part of a comprehensive treatment team early on. I would also hope that there is a larger presence of dietitians that are comfortable and competent in treating eating disorders as the cases continue to rise and are seen at younger ages. Food-wise, I hope we are able to increase healthful food availability to those with limited food access due to location, financial restrictions, etc.
What do people think that you do for a living?
I’m pretty sure most people who are not familiar with our profession think I, A) work in a cafeteria B) tell people what to eat and what to avoid (food police, anyone?). It gets old, but I suppose it’s a great opportunity to educate people about how amazing and versatile RD’s are!
What are you passionate about in dietetics?
I am most passionate about helping people feel their best with healthful, fun, and balanced food and physical activity choices. I find special interest in working with athletes and performance artists.
More about Christina:
LinkedIn: Christina Moreno, MS, RD, LDN