Adrien Paczosa, RD, LD- CEDRD-S
ILIVEWELL NUTRITION & FEARLESS PRACTITIONERS PODCAST
for something nutrishus
Adrien loves the series and has her own way of tooting horns with her Fearless Practitioners Podcast. She leads a team of dietitians and like others in the series, she didn’t set out to be a dietitian. Her path has taken her many different ways and she knows there are more twists and turns to come!
Why did you become a RD?
I really didn’t know what an RD was. My mom is an RN and I grew up in the hospitals and liked the idea of helping people but didn’t want to touch blood and guts.
When I was in school I first planned on becoming a professional ballerina and had a wonderful piece of humble pie that I was not as talented of a dancer as I thought nor was I tall enough to become a professional. So becoming an RD was my backup plan. Once I made that shift, my whole schooling kind of fell into my lap and was really perfect. I like to think of this unfolding as kind of fate, with the universe making life easy once I came into the profession I was meant to be in.
What area of dietetics do you work in?
I own a group practice and I specialize in eating disorders, addictions and mental health.
I also coach other professionals on how to grow and scale their practice.
How would you explain what you do?
I wear many hats all the time, and I LOVE IT!!!
When I work with patients I help them build a positive relationship with food and their bodies through understanding how food functions in the body. I love explaining biochemistry in a way that makes sense.
When I work with practitioners I help them scale their practice through step by step processes and systems via accountability, goal setting and strategy.
What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?
I have days of the week that are designated for certain things. It has taken me YEARS to get this to what feels good, and it is not always perfect, but it works for me
Monday - meetings and working on podcast and coaching clients
Tuesday - clients
Wednesday - marketing
Thursday - clients
Friday - admin and podcast and coaching clients
What has been your career path?
I started my RD career as I was finishing up my rotation, which was such a huge blessing. I was offered a job from my last rotation before I even had my RD! I was so excited to get paid and make money for what I was already doing. Me and another RD covered an entire hospital on the south side of Chicago for a few months. The other RD was also the food service director. Along with seeing patients at the hospital I was also personal training and doing some nutritional counseling in a downtown Chicago health club. Needless to say, I was seeing the entire spectrum of patients in one day. After about 6 months, the other RD moved on and I became the food service director, and the clinical RD along with still seeing clients at the health club. This was the beginning of my working ethics.
For about a year I was the director of the food service and the clinical RD (we did not have the budget to hire a full-time RD) and seeing clients at a health club. I soon decided I needed to defrost from Chicago's winters and move back to Texas, my home. I moved to Houston for a few months and continued clinical work and slowly started to research how to start a private practice which had been a dream. My next stop was Austin Texas, which is where I have been ever since.
Like any good RD, I had my job already secured in Austin before moving. I worked at another health club but a few things were different at this one. There were actual RD positions I didn't have to create it, the downside was I was 100% commission which was a bit of a shock. I am very thankful for that shock because it was a good taste of what it feels like to be a practice owner. There are many reasons that I did awful at this health club (another story another time) but I had to make ends meet so I got a part-time position at a tiny hospital (25 beds). The part-time hospital position turned full-time so I left the health club with joy!. This hospital was such a gift!!! They required I be on site full-time hours, yet it only took me 2-3 hours to actually do all my work, so they let me work on my practice. This allowed me time to understand the business side and I got to know the community of doctors around me.
Being active in my local dietetic association has been drilled into me since school, so I have been active in the Austin chapter since I moved there. At one meeting a friend asked me if I could help her out at an eating disorder center in town. I said yes, but had not trained and was willing to learn. Oh holy hell! I fell in love. I found my home! I dove into to training, supervision, DPGs (Dietetic Practice Groups), you name it! I began working at this clinic part-time and then full-time leaving the hospital. I still had my private practice and would have 2-4 clients a week there. I did this for a few years and then my practice slowly started to grow to the point I had to back down to part-time. Once my private practice was covering my cost of living I jumped into that full-time. That was amazing and terrifying all wrapped into one.
Once I was in private practice full-time things just started to roll. I had started taking insurance and it was actually working and I was loving life. One day I got a phone call from a local grocery store that they had this program for their employees and one of the requirements is that they have to see an RD 3 times in 3 months and since I was on insurance would I be ok being that programs RD? Of course, I said yes, so then I had 40 new clients overnight on top of my already full calendar. I needed another me ASAP. That's when I started to hire.
Over the past 11 years, we have grown to 7 dietitians and multiple locations. We also contract with different facilities in the area along with providing community and professional education opportunities. There are so many ideas and things I have planned for iLiveWell Nutrition and Fearless Practitioners and I just know my career path has a few more directions to go!
What advanced education or special training do you have?
I am a CEDRD-S - which is a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian Supervisor
In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?
RDs would be billing for insurance all the time and getting reimbursed at the same rate as other ancillary services.
Private practice would be the majority of what RDs work in, like dentistry.
What is your favourite meal?
I am good Texan - Steak with baked potato and a yummy glass of wine! Oh and something green on the side since I’m an RD.
What tip(s) would you give to our readers?
Follow your passion and believe in your dream. There is nothing RDs can’t do! If you can understand the Kreb Cycle you can do anything!!
If you need help ask for it. If you are not asking for help your dreams are not big enough!
More about Adrien: