People Behind Great Weight Loss
eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource
People hear that I am
an online dietitian and they can't help but ask, "Whats that?"
Working on the internet is not the typical
employment track for a clinical dietitian. Most dietitians or licensed
nutritionists (Im both) work in face-to-face patient care, hospitals, the
food service industry, nursing homes, or private practice. But, there is
another career path for nutrition professionals and its a place where you
can really make a difference!
Today, Im eDiets Director of Nutrition
Services on the internet, managing a staff of credentialed nutrition
professionals! Im writing programs for weight loss, maintenance and
healthy living. My department is responsible for supporting members by advising
them about their weight loss or weight maintenance programs, meals and recipes.
However, my nutrition career began
traditionally, as a clinical nutritionist working in a hospital, assessing and
counseling patients. My initial experience was in the cardiac care unit,
speaking with patients who had just undergone angioplasty and/or open-heart
Hospital Dietitians Have Little Time to
How frightening that the most common first
symptom of heart disease is DEATH! Weve all heard of that busy and
seemingly living large 45-year-old male who dies suddenly of a heart attack.
The lucky ones survive the catastrophic event! For a nutritionist, what better
place than a hospital to convince patients to change their behavior?
Theyve seen the light! The first contact with the patient may be
post-heart attack, or heart surgery -- they're in bed and in pain... and vowing
to eat better and exercise. Thats the common scenario.
A hospital nutritionist has a couple of
strikes against her or him. First, there are time constraints. Generally,
hospital nutritionists receive a list of newly admitted patients on a daily
basis. They must assess these individuals within 24 hours. Admission may be for
something totally unrelated to diet. For example, a broken leg or some other
injury. But, the majority of admitted patients need some type of nutritional
There is rarely a follow-up visit. So even
if you have had more than a few minutes to try and educate the patient,
typically that patient will leave the hospital and youll never see him or
her again. Youll never know if that person made the changes necessary to
improve his or her health. You wont even know if the patient had
Combat Heart Disease with Nutrition
The leading cause of death in this country
is from heart disease, most commonly related to diet, but also to lifestyle
factors including smoking and obesity. Sixty-one percent of adults in this
country are overweight or obese and have double the risk of contracting type 2
diabetes. Today, over 17 million Americans have diabetes; 90 percent of them
have type 2 diabetes. The leading cause of death in diabetics is also heart
Yes, patients with heart disease and
diabetes need to learn how to change their lives! They need counseling, they
need information, they need support, and they need motivation! Hospital
nutritionists do not have nearly the amount of time necessary to counsel a
patient effectively, let alone assess their receptivity and ability to learn.
And for some patients its absolutely the worst time to attempt to educate
-- nutritional counseling is the last thing they want right out of surgery.
Theyre angry... how dare their body betray them like that!
Making Positive Changes: eDiets
Believe me, I am definitely making more of
an impact on people now! I used to be frustrated when all I had time to do was
hand out a printed meal plan and ask, Do you have any questions? It
was so rare to see a patient more than once.
Todays health care model includes
hospitals employing health care professionals just to get patients discharged
as soon as possible. I used to make the rounds every morning with the nurses,
social workers, pharmacists and physical therapists assigned to the ward and
the doctors whose job it was to recommend discharge. Regardless of the
nutritional needs of the patient, if their time was up, they were out. Some
needs were secondary to discharge if they were clinically stable.
Thats why nutrition at eDiets really
breaks the mold. Were doing something here thats never been done
before. Were providing ongoing instruction, interaction, motivation,
support and follow-up to thousands of individuals who have one goal in common
-- to improve health by getting to a healthy weight and staying there! Research
shows repeatedly that all diets work and no diet works.
You can go on any type of "diet" and lose
weight. Even unhealthy fad diets will result in weight loss. As long as
calories expended are more than calories ingested, you will lose weight.
However, research also shows that 90 percent of those who lose weight regain
the weight within three to five years. The successful losers are those who make
PERMANENT lifestyle changes, who eat a healthy low-fat (especially
low-saturated fat) diet, and who get regular moderate aerobic activity.
As an online nutritionist, Im able to
speak personally with members who need a bit more help, or a lot more help to
reach their goals. Im able to adjust programs and improve them to help
members stay with their healthy meal plan. The community here at eDiets
provides meetings with professionals to support members efforts to learn
new behaviors. The members share their successes and failures in meetings and
chat rooms. Research shows that the key to success is interaction.
Its a great new world online and a
great new career for nutrition professionals. I love it!
Did You Know...
...the incidence of diabetes in America
continues to confound the health professionals? The number of people who have
diabetes has risen to approximately 18 million, and experts predict that by
2020, there will be more than 30 million with diabetes! And, 90 percent will be
type 2 diabetics who are overweight or obese. Just losing 10 percent of your
body weight will lower your risk for diabetes, and if you have DM2, it will
improve your condition!
eDiets Director of Nutrition Services
Susan L. Burke, M.S., R.D., L.D., CDE is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian,
and a Certified Diabetes Educator who specializes in both general and
diabetes-related weight management.