Rebecca McConville MS, RD, LD, CSSD, CEDRD
SPORT NUTRITION / RED-S / EATING DISORDERS & PHIT FOR A QUEEN PODCAST
for something nutrishus
Rebecca was recommended to the series as the RED-S Dietitian. I also worked in sport and was a college athlete, a trend you may notice in dietitians in the series and how their former interests/passions have influenced their current work/career. Another theme you may have noticed is dietitians like Becca that start out in clinical positions and transition into private practice.
Why did you become a RD?
I was fascinated with the role of how our food makes us perform and feel physically, plus I loved to cook. As a college athlete I experimented with how nutrition could impact my performance.
What area of dietetics do you work in?
Sports nutrition with a specialty in RED-S (Relative Energy Deficit in Sport ). RED-S is a syndrome where energy intake and expenditure are imbalanced relative to the needs of daily living, growth and sport. Its effects are far-reaching and include cardiovascular function, menstrual and hormone regulation, bone health, growth and development, immunity, metabolic rate, mental health and more. In fact, I just published a book on the topic, entitled, Finding Your Sweet Spot: How to Avoid RED-S by Optimizing Your Energy Balance.
I also specialize in counseling athletes and non-athletes who have eating disorders.
How would you explain what you do?
I work to help my clients understand and heal the relationship they have with their food, exercise and body image. For the past 10 years I have developed a strong interest in the phenomena of energy balance and how that negatively impacts athletic performance. This is what led me to write my book. For many of my athletes and their parents, it is simply a matter of correcting misinformation and empowering them with knowledge.
What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?
My typical day consists of seeing clients one-on-one and then conducting follow-up communication with their therapists and medical providers. My day is also spent blog writing, podcasting (I have my own show, Phit for a Queen) and marketing my book. I also set aside at least 15 minutes to read the latest nutrition research.
What has been your career path?
My path has varied but from each position I learned something valuable. I started in a clinical role covering LTC (long term care), medical rehab and medical surgery, then went to a rural hospital where I was the only RDN on staff. This was a great opportunity for me because I could create the programming. During my journey I was trying to get my foot in the door in sports nutrition by slowly building up consulting roles. After approximately five years, I made the leap into private practice, setting up my own company which specializes in sports nutrition and eating disorders.
What advanced education or special training do you have?
In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?
In five years, RDs finally get the respect they deserve. I foresee more functional RD roles as well as I believe we are seeing a shift in people tiring of diets and learning how to eat all over again. Also, in my area of interest, I am hopeful that the sports world acknowledges that a lot of our athletes are undernourished, under-rested and overtrained. It’s time to pay attention to their unique fueling, hydrating, performing and recovery needs.
What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?
That we are an “eat this, don’t eat that” profession. I believe we are so much more. We know that nutrition is a science and we study it. Cookie cutter approaches are things that anyone can give out!
What would you like people to know about RDs?
That we truly are the nutrition experts. We know the science of food and nutrients that come from the food, and how the body processes these.
What are challenges you encounter as a RD?
I always try to promote our value. It oftentimes seems that as RDs, we are trying to sell our worth.
What do people think that you do for a living?
Many believe that I give out meal plans. This couldn’t be farther from the truth!
What are you passionate about in dietetics?
The power of food, the power of cooking and connecting over the food we eat. We can have our cake and eat it too.
What makes RDs unique/different from other nutrition/wellness professionals?
We assess the individual and their goals. I let the client experiment as I tell them, “Your body knows what it needs, we just need to listen.” RDs also tend to be respectful of other professions and don’t cross those professional lines. You can be a jack of all trades, but a master of none.
What is your favourite meal?
Oh such a tough question! Honestly anything cooked over an open campfire, including smores.
What tip(s) would you give to our readers?
Don’t rush the process. Explore other jobs and positions. I never would have thought I would have landed where I am today had I not just stayed curious.
Anything else you’d like to add that you feel would be valuable:
Do be in touch with me if you’d like to learn more about RED-S! Formerly known as the female athlete triad, there is much that the sports world has yet to understand about this syndrome. I would be more than happy to speak to your group or organization about optimal fueling for male and female athletes.
More about Becca:
Facebook: Rebecca McConville consulting