Lori Gardiner, MS, RD, LDN

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for something nutrishus

Dietitians bring their unique personality to the work that they do, but I continue to see trends like our focus on small steps, personalized advice, attainable goals and long-term change. Food and nutrition are of course only part of wellness and Lori reminds us of the importance of being active and getting enough rest. Like others, she takes the approach of losing the diet mentality. I totally relate to the unstructured day of being a work-at-home-mom. 

Why did you become a RD?

I became an R.D. because I was interested in nutrition and learned about the field once I was in college. I started out in occupational therapy and switched majors to nutrition.

What area of dietetics do you work in?

I have worked in many different areas. My experience includes: clinical nutrition in a hospital setting (acute and long-term), research dietitian, instructor of anatomy and physiology, and nutrition at a community college, director of the nutrition dept. for a long-term hospital, director of a bariatrics program, magazine and newspaper contributor, private practice in weight management, and author.

How would you explain what you do? 

I presently do nutrition workshops, corporate wellness and "book talks". I also blog on my social media accounts. I do some weight management counseling by referral only. 

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

My weekly tasks include blogging for my website and facebook/twitter pages. It also may include writing an article for a local magazine that I contribute to once monthly. I also answer emails from previous clients regarding weight loss and weight maintenance issues. If I have any individual counseling sessions, I will do those. That is the part that I have really cut back on and I do not see anyone unless it is a follow up from a previous client or a new referral from someone that I know. 

I also do intermittent book talks for different events. I have one coming up for the oncology social workers on the pediatric floor at one of our local hospitals. I am also currently working on adding phone consultations to my website. So presently I am writing the promotional part of that. 

I am also in the process of becoming a provider for the Early Steps program. This involves completing the training modules for that, so I am completing the material and taking the exams. I work from home so my day is unorganized and I fit the work in when I can. Usually I squeeze it in between workouts and things I am doing to run the household. We still have two kids at home, one in college.

What has been your career path? 

I started as a clinical dietitian then became the director at that facility. While I was the director I worked in research, taught college and wrote magazine articles. After I had success with the bariatric program that I developed I started my own weight management practice.

What advanced education or special training do you have?

I have a Master of Science in Nutrition and completed my internship at Texas Woman's University in Houston.

In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?

In an ideal world, dietitians would continue to be looked at as the experts in nutrition and be reimbursed accordingly. I would like for there not to be so much information on the internet that is NOT backed up by proper research.

What are challenges you encounter as a RD?

The challenges that I face is that nutrition is a topic that is not treated as a true profession. I often feel that I am giving out free advice that people are not willing to pay for. I also feel that it is very hard to stick to a time limit when you are counseling someone at their home. Part of it is my fault because I get very involved and do not know where to cut it off. Sometimes passionate and empathetic to a fault.

What are you passionate about in dietetics?

I am passionate about making changes in people's lives that are completely doable and specific to them. I truly believe everyone can lead a healthy lifestyle with the right tools. Any progress is good progress. I believe in baby steps that are real. 

What makes RDs unique/different from other nutrition/wellness professionals?

RDs are unique in that we are true experts in our field. We have the knowledge and the ability to teach people a way to live that is backed up by research and can work in their individual lives. 

What is your favourite meal?

My favorite drink is coffee. Iced or hot. Yes, decaf is fine. I really just like the flavor. My favorite meal is sushi or grilled fish with a large side of fresh grilled veggies. My favorite foods are nut butter (any kind), eggs, Greek yogurt, dark chocolate and seafood. 

What tip(s) would you give to our readers?

Find a healthy balance of the foods you eat, physical activity and adequate sleep. There is only one you, so do what works for you and what will work long-term. Consistency breeds results. Perfection breeds failure. When you make a mistake; own it, learn from it and move on. Change comes from discomfort.

More about Lori:

Website: Lori Gardiner

Facebook: Lori Gardiner

Twitter: @LoriGGardiner

Book: My Little Black Book For A Healthy NON-diet Lifestyle

Thanks Lori!