Dallas Odgers, RD, CF-L2
COMMUNITY - OUTPATIENT & LTC,
GYM OWNER/PRIVATE PRACTICE
for something nutrishus
As a fairly new business owner, we will have to keep our eyes on Dallas as I'm sure he'll do amazing things as he gets more into private practice. It seems that he has 'entrepreneur' written all over him. His is another story of a day job and a night job due to passion related to the field of dietetics and helping people with lifestyle changes. I love seeing the passion in our profession and it seems that Dallas has also come across that.
Why did you become a RD?
I grew up thinking Kraft Dinner and Pizza Pops weren’t THAT bad for you. Even though playing sports every day, my body did not reflect how athletic I was. After my first year of cross country and long-distance running, I was able to see the importance of modifying your diet to improve your performance. After having a really successful season (in comparison to the first year), I was hooked on my new healthy lifestyle. I kept the days of pizza pops and mars bars in the past. Later in high school I developed an interest in health care as a potential career choice because I thought it was something that could favour a guy who geeked out on science. I then found out about nutrition/dietetics and thought it was the perfect fit for me, but I was nervous about getting into a program that accepts less than 30 people.
What area of dietetics do you work in?
My ‘daily-grind’ is working as a community dietitian in the rural area around Maidstone, SK. I do mostly Outpatient and long term care (LTC) work in a bunch of communities around North Battleford/Maidstone.
My ‘night-hustle’ is working as a gym owner/private practice dietitian. Two years ago I opened up North Battleford Strength & Conditioning/CrossFit North Battleford, which gives me a great platform to work with people as a dietitian. With a large focus on developing our space, and fitness programs, I am ready to start working a lot more on private practice dietetic work and I am super excited about it.
How would you explain what you do?
I usually try to focus on describing the type of people I help and the value that I can bring them. For example, a common description would be that I help people manage their diabetes through education, goal setting, and accountability—this would be the majority of my clientele.
As my business grows, it will more likely be something like this: I am a private practice dietitian that offers strength and conditioning coaching, community, and nutrition education for long-term lifestyle change.
What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?
Hit the road at 6:30-6:45 AM to Maidstone SK, where I could then be traveling to Cut Knife, Turtleford, St. Walburg, Neilburg, Thunderchild, or Edam. I usually see 5-6 clients per day, typically a joint appointment with a Diabetes Nurse Educator. From there I could have a LTC client, on a referral basis. Weekly I will often have meetings with the Health Region dietitian team and often provide education sessions to staff in facilities.
At about 4:30 PM I hit the road again and arrive at my other job at 5:15 PM. Here I will jump in on a class and then coach 1-2 classes an evening. I will book nutrition clients as they come up and touch base frequently through email, phone, or briefly after training sessions. I also do a lot of non-dietitian work on the business end to keep everything running as smoothly as possible.
What has been your career path?
After internship I started working in an Outpatient and LTC maternity leave, where I started my first (unsuccessful) business. I started an organization called Wild Youth Sports Management that hired collegiate level athletes to coordinate sport camps/activities with youth throughout Saskatchewan. Our first summer had me employing over 15 Huskie Athletes and providing sports training for over 2000 kids in Saskatchewan.
I realized I wanted to open a training facility as I had become passionate about Olympic weightlifting and CrossFit in University. When I moved back home I had nowhere to train. I had worked for a couple years in conventional and CrossFit gyms, so thought I would give running a CrossFit affiliate a shot and it has gained traction quickly in North Battleford. Just a year ago having about 20 members has grown into a program with over 120 participants currently.
While opening the gym I also completed a pilot project to incorporate a Primary Care Dietitian into the Prairie North Health region, which now provides dietitian services in 3 medical clinics in the Battlefords Area. Now I hold a full-time community dietitian position, as mentioned before.
What advanced education or special training do you have?
- Precision Nutrition Level 1 Graduate
- Olympic weightlifting coach (NCCP Level 1 In progress)
- CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
- CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?
Ideally, in my mind, health care overall would start placing more focus/energy and funds towards prevention rather than treatment, by having better access to exercise programs, diet education, and mental health support. I feel like the dietetics industry will start to see more and more private practice dietitians that are developing niches and specialties. I hope that this will continue to build awareness that dietitians have a huge and powerful influence to help people achieve their goals.
What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?
That we only provide education on using Canada’s Food Guide (CFG). I have had doctors assume that I would just be giving out CFGs when I started to work in their office—something they apparently did not stand for. I don’t have an extreme hate towards CFG, and it does ultimately incorporate balance that the majority of people trying to improve their diets should work on, but it’s not a tool I regularly use in practice.
What would you like people to know about RDs?
They are relentlessly hard workers. I have met so many RDs with extreme work ethic. I have seen them shutting down the library as nutrition students. Now I see them addicted to learning and finding new online courses, books, and journals when they get into practice. I see them constantly networking and communicating amongst other dietitians and health care professionals. I have seen so many RDs become addicted to the process of working on becoming the best dietitian they can be.
What are challenges you encounter as a RD?
I find, with most of my clients I may identify a ton of things they could work on, but more than 1-2 actionable items are usually going to overwhelm them. I read a book once, The Compound Effect, which lays out a pretty simple formula: small/simple changes + consistency + time = success in achieving your goals. This is a good approach, where we choose 1-2 actionable items so that they can experience success and want to actually continue to work with me rather than avoid me because I laid out a plan that was very unrealistic for them.
What are you passionate about in dietetics?
Lifestyle change. I get just as excited about watching someone do their first pull-up or hitting a PR on their back squat as I do when someone drops their A1C to target from diet changes with my advice. I think that is one thing that keeps me going for my 12-15 hour work days is that I get to continuously see people make positive lifestyle changes that I have some small part in!
What is your favourite meal?
Greek chicken BBQ’d on a small charcoal grill, couscous, and veggies served with an questionable amount of Tzatziki on top.
More about Dallas: