Friday, April 28, 2017

Could Calorie Counting Be Right For You?

The concept of counting calories is nothing new when it comes to the world of weight loss. After all, it does make sense, right? To lose weight, if you cut calories so that you’re burning more than you’re consuming, the result is weight loss.

The success of this practice is based on a pound of fat being equal to 3,500 calories, so if you cut 500 calories a day, you should lose about one pound a week. However, it may not be quite that simple. For instance, many calorie-counting diets limit daily calories to 1,200, but this may not be the magic number for everyone.

It could be too low for a very active man or too high for a sedentary woman. So to help you determine if calorie counting may be right for you, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons it offers, as well as the key takeaways you’ll never want to forget during your weight loss journey.

The benefits of calorie counting:

As it turns out, most of us underestimate how much we actually eat each day, especially when trying to diet. Calorie counting can be a great way to assess your current diet and determine how much you’re actually eating.

To determine the right calorie cap for you, work to find your baseline number, or the current number of calories you are consuming. Try using a food journal for a week to give yourself a snapshot of your current dietary habits.

Your food journal shouldn’t just include calories; it should also include when you ate, where you ate and why you ate. This will help you to identify any triggering times, places or situations that may compel you to eat when you aren’t hungry.

The drawbacks of calorie counting:

While calorie counting sounds simple enough, it is actually quite complex and can be difficult to maintain. In an effort to see weight loss results, there’s a risk you could cut too many calories leading to a number of unexpected effects:

  • Restricting too many calories frequently causes malnutrition, which can lead to problems such as osteoporosis
  • You're likely to gain back more weight than you lost if you restrict calories to a point that's unsustainable
  • Severely restricting calories puts your body in starvation mode, slowing your metabolism and leading to loss of muscle mass
  • Your brain can't function as well if you're not giving it the fuel it needs
  • Extreme calorie restriction can lead to gallstones
The 5 key dieting takeaways you’ll want to remember:

  • Rigid diets deprive you. Many diets involve eliminating certain foods or even whole food groups. This is not only unhealthy but also unrealistic for the long term.
  • Many diets don't fit into normal life. Weighing and measuring food may help you lose weight, but they aren’t practical as long-term strategies.
  • Dieting can be expensive. Buying special diet foods can rack up a big bill quickly without any of the nutritional benefit.
  • Dieting actually lowers your metabolism. When you cut back on calories, your metabolism tends to slow down. You burn fewer calories and the diet becomes even less effective. Worst of all, this slowdown can last after the diet ends.
  • Eating is only half the equation. Lifetime weight management is not just about what you eat, it’s about your overall lifestyle. Regular physical activity and healthy stress-relief techniques are important, too.
Is there a better option than calorie counting?

Dieting is undoubtedly one of the most confusing and at times, frustrating things you can do. Between all of the different dieting trends and quick weight loss promises out there, you can be left wondering what’s right for you.

To find a weight loss program that’s truly effective, you’ll want to ensure that it offers: long-term plans for weight maintenance, recommendations on how to incorporate healthy eating and exercise habits into your daily life, support throughout your weight loss journey and realistic weight loss goals.

GMC’s Center for Weight Management provides all of this and more. With a clinically proven medical weight loss program, comprehensive surgical weight loss options and an individualized aftercare program, you can finally achieve lasting weight loss success. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


You need to know the benefits you will gain by being active. Which of the following apply to you:

∗ enjoy exercise.
∗ want to have more fun.
∗ increase energy level.
∗ find it sociable.
∗ feel good.
∗ feel relax.
∗ forget about your worries.
∗ look better.
∗ feel accomplished.
∗ increase your self-image.
∗ reduce your body fat.
∗ build muscle.
∗ control stress easier.
∗ moods are improved.

You also want to:
∗ prevent heart disease
∗ reduce blood pressure
∗ prevent diabetes
∗ reduce risk for osteoporosis
∗ reduce back problems
∗ reduce stress
∗ slow down the aging process
∗ increase metabolism

Aren’t those benefits and goals great! Take advantage of them every day. 


To determine whether breakfast is important, a study was conducted with students. Males and females who ate breakfast had a significantly higher intake of fiber, and males who ate breakfast had a higher vitamin C intake and lower fat intake than breakfast “skippers.” 

Now, you don't care. You know breakfast is important, as you've heard it many times, but you aren't hungry. Well, that means you've eaten too much the night before. If you skip breakfast, you'll be starved at 10 am and eat anything in sight, lose your energy and feel miserable. Learn from your mistakes. Eat less at dinner and wake up hungry.

I love my breakfast:)

7 Easy Ways To Start Reducing Inflammation Today

Anti-inflammatory has become the new buzzword throughout the health community. Whether people are talking about joint pain or heart disease, inflammation is believed to be the cause behind it. With this sudden interest in inflammation, nearly everyone has become desperate to do one thing—lower it. Whether that means starting a special diet, taking a supplement or making lifestyle changes, it’s all about reducing inflammation.

So before you focus all of your efforts on reducing chronic inflammation, let’s take a closer look at what it actually is, signs you may have it and how you can actually get rid of it with 7 simple steps.

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is actually the result of your body’s defense system protecting it from foreign substances. When your body senses one of these foreign substances, it releases chemicals from your white blood cells, which usually causes redness, warmth and swelling. This process, called acute inflammation, helps your body to heal and only lasts for a few days.

Inflammation can be triggered by a number of different things, including a range of infections, injuries and toxins. And while this sensitivity to foreign substances is an important defense mechanism, it can also go awry causing long-term, chronic inflammation.

When this occurs, your body may not be responding to infections and injuries in the traditional sense. Instead, it may be responding to inflammatory foods, chronic stress, drinkingand smoking habits, an imbalance of gut bacteria, food allergies and certain medications, all of which can contribute to inflammation.

As you probably guessed, this type of long-term inflammation, unlike acute inflammation, can be very hard on your body. With chronic inflammation, your body is in a constant state of heightened stress. Over time this can cause damage throughout your body and contribute to a number of conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, even Alzheimer’s.

What are the signs of chronic inflammation?

Acute inflammation causes the obvious symptoms of redness, swelling and warmth. On the other hand, chronic inflammation causes subtle signs which are much harder to detect. On top of that, these symptoms may vary from person to person.

If you’re dealing with chronic inflammation, you may notice some of these surprising symptoms:

What can you do to beat chronic inflammation?

  • Fill at least half of your meal plate with fruits and vegetables. Include plenty of leafy greens and berries.
  • Choose plant-based proteins, such as nuts, beans and seeds.
  • Eat whole grains, such as brown rice, wheat bread and wheat pasta.
  • Choose healthier fats, such as those found in avocados and olive oil.
  • Eat fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as anchovies, salmon and sardines.
  • Use fresh spices and herbs to season your food and get added antioxidants.
  • Get regular exercise, plenty of sleep each night and maintain a healthy body weight.
Reducing chronic inflammation is as simple as…

Working with your primary care provider is the best place to start when trying to treat something as complex as inflammation. As the medical professional that knows you best, your primary care provider can accurately identify any causes behind your chronic inflammation, as well as develop an effective treatment plan customized to suit your unique needs.

With the opening of GMC’s Primary Care & Specialty Center-Suwanee you can enjoy all the benefits of comprehensive care, skilled providers and a beautiful, spa-like environment without any of the hassle. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

If You Spot These Symptoms, Visit Your Child's Doctor

“Mom, I don’t feel good.” These words are enough to strike worry into the heart of any parent. Whether it’s a sore throat, stomachache or a skin rash, it’s hard not to worry when it comes to the health of your child. You want to do whatever you can to help them feel better ASAP.

Inevitably, the next thing that comes to mind, then, is should you make an appointment with your child’s doctor? "My recommendation for parents is simple," says Nicholas Bower, DO, regional medical director of ChoiceOne Urgent Care, a partner of Gwinnett Medical Center. "If you are ever concerned your child may need the expertise of a qualified medical provider, don't hesitate to bring them in to be seen." 

In these situations, it’s difficult to know if your child just needs a little TLC, or if it’s time to seek the help of a professional. This is especially true because there is such a wide range of symptoms and conditions that vary from child-to-child and age-to-age. "That's why one of our core beliefs at ChoiceOne Urgent Care is that peace of mind is priceless," notes Dr. Bower. "When it comes to sick babies or children, a mantra of better safe than sorry is a good rule to live by."

For babies: When you should call

See a healthcare provider if your baby has:

  • A fever (armpit temperature of 99°F (37.2°C) or higher, forehead (temporal artery) temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher)
  • Trouble feeding or sucking or no interest in feeding
  • Sleeping too much or too little or having trouble getting your baby to wake up
  • Not moving much, or crying that is different than usual
  • Vomiting or diarrhea for more than a few hours
  • Changes in the baby's soft spot on the top of the head
  • Trouble breathing
  • Rash on the skin
  • Skin that looks gray or blue or that is very pale
If your baby has any of the above warning signs or if you feel something isn't right, call his or her healthcare provider

For children: When you should call

For infants and children older than 3 months, fever becomes less of a concern. You probably don't need to see a healthcare provider for a fever without other signs of illness.

See a healthcare provider if your child has:

  • A fever (Armpit temperature of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher, forehead (temporal artery), or ear temperature of 102°F (38.9°C) or higher) that occurs after the child has become overheated from being in a hot room or car
  • A fever in a child who has a weakened immune system from a health condition or medicine
  • Seeing or hearing things that aren't really there (hallucinations)
  • A seizure
  • Stiffness of the neck, a really bad headache, ear pain, or pain in the stomach
  • Trouble breathing
  • Swollen or sore joints
If your child is not feeling well, but doesn't have any of the above warning signs, he or she will most likely feel better with some extra rest, healthy drinks and some additional cuddling. But if symptoms worsen or don't go away, or if your child isn't eating, playing, or drinking, call your child's healthcare provider.

And remember to always follow your parenting instinct. If you feel like something's wrong, you are probably right and should call a healthcare provider.

Convenient locations with even better care.

When it comes to health care for your child, don’t compromise. And with ChoiceOne Urgent Care, a partner of Gwinnett Medical Center, you don’t have to. You can receive convenient, personalized and comprehensive care for your child exactly when they need it without any of the hassle.

Whether your child has a fever, a stomach ache or even a broken bone, the dedicated team at ChoiceOne Urgent Care will ensure that you receive thorough care from the moment you walk through the door.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Relieve Your Headache With These Simple Techniques

There’s nothing quite like a headache to put a damper on your day. Between a busy schedule at work, home and in life, a headache is the last thing anyone wants. But when you start to feel pressure, tension and pain settle in behind your eyes and forehead, you know that a dreaded headache has officially arrived.

For a majority of people, the likely culprit of this pain is a tension headache. And with stress and tension as major factors, it’s no wonder that this is the most common type of headache. So you may be wondering, how can I get rid of this pesky headache? Well, as it turns out, it may be far easier than you expected.

To help you find some much needed relief, let’s start by looking at the common symptoms of a tension headache, simple treatment options (that don’t involve medication) and easy ways to prevent them all together.

If you spot these symptoms, you’ve got a tension headache on your hands.

Before you begin treating your headache, it’s important to ensure that you actually have a tension headache. Surprisingly, there are several different types of headaches that not only differ in their symptoms, they also have different causes and respond best to different treatments. When it comes to tension headaches, these are the most common symptoms:
  • Slow onset of the headache
  • Head usually hurts on both sides
  • Pain is dull or feels like a band or vice around the head
  • Pain may involve the back part of the head or neck
  • Pain is usually mild to moderate, but not severe
If you have a tension headache, these simple treatment options will be your new best friends.

Try using a warm compress. The soothing warmth on your forehead will allow your blood vessels to expand, helping to relieve pain.

Avoid bright light and loud noises. Oftentimes, light and sound can intensify headache symptoms. By avoiding these, not only will be able to reduce pain, this should also promote relaxation and even sleep.

Give relaxing meditation techniques a try. These techniques can help to reduce stress and relieve tension, which may be the primary causes behind your headache.

Don’t forget the temple massage. By gently rubbing your temples on either side of your forehead, you can find some much need relief. Focus on using a gentle pressure and rub in a circular motion.

Try eating a snack…and drinking some water. Dehydration can often cause headache like symptoms, so make sure to stay hydrated. Also, if your energy is low or you haven’t eaten in a long time, a light snack may be just what you need.

Don’t underestimate the power of a good stretch. Because tension is often the main cause, try stretching your neck and shoulders to relieve tension that may be causing your headache.

If you have frequent tension headaches, it’s time to give prevention a try.
Lifestyle changes are the key to preventing tension-type headaches. Learn what changes in your environment and daily activities can prevent the strain and tension that lead to headaches.

Posture and movement. Your posturewhile you sit, work, drive and even sleep can put stress on your shoulders and neck. This can tighten muscles in the back of your head, causing headaches.

Change the setup of your workspace and car to avoid straining. Learn and maintain good posture.

Certain sports. Activities that involve jumping, running and sudden starts, stops or changes of direction can jar your neck and head. This may lead to tight muscles and pain. Weightlifting and other activities that require upper body strength can lead to tight neck and shoulder muscles.

To help relieve stress on your neck and head, cut back on activities that depend on upper body strength or that put a lot of twisting motion on the back. Also, make sure to stretch both before and after activity as this can help to relax muscles and relieve tightness.

Jaw tension. Clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth can result in tension and pain. This may happen while you sleep without your knowing it.

Your doctorand dentist will be the best resources for this.

Eye problems. Eyestraincan cause tension in the muscles around the eyes. Or a problem with your eyeglass prescription can make you hold your head at an awkward angle. This can cause neck strain and headaches.

Again, your doctorwill be the best resource for resolving any eye problems.

Emotional stress. Many factors lead to emotional stress: overwork, family problems, financial difficulties or sudden life changes. This may cause muscle tension.

Learn techniques for relaxing and reducing emotional stress, like deep breathing, visualization, progressive relaxation and biofeedback. Regular sleep habits can also help to control stress.

Preventing tension headaches for good.

Between a variety of causes, treatment options and prevention techniques, caring for tension headaches can be a tall task. To help you find lasting relief, the experienced providers of Gwinnett Medical Group will work to provide a customized treatment plan tailored to suit your unique needs. With a variety of specialties, the latest in treatment options and access to GMC’s extensive range of services, you can count on comprehensive care for all of your health needs. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Spring Cleaning? Don't Forget These Important Items

There’s no doubt about it, when spring rolls around, there’s something in the air that makes a clean house feel even better. Unfortunately, spring cleaningusually brings to mind extensive, all-day cleaning that involves everything in your house, but who has time for that, right?

This spring, instead of planning to do an extensive, top-to-bottom cleaning of your house, focus on these essential items instead. Your body will thank you for it!

Spring Cleaning Must dos:

Medicine cabinet. In the interest of being economical, you’ve likely held onto medications that you stopped using, or medications that have passed their expiration date; just in case you need to use it again at some point.

However, by holding onto old medications, you could be putting your child at risk as many of them may unknowingly misuse them. Also, many drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter lose potency after their expiration date. It’s likely that this won’t cause any serious health issues, but the medication won’t be as effective.

For future knowledge, remember that all medications should be placed in a cool, dry cabinet.

Old makeup. Let’s be honest ladies, there are probably several makeup items you have that you haven’t used in several months, maybe even longer. And while it may seem safe to hold onto various makeup items, these outdated items can actually cause irritation and eye infections.

Here are some general guidelines to remember when going through old makeup:
  • Foundation (powder and liquid) shouldn’t be kept longer than 6 months to1 year
  • Mascara shouldn’t be kept longer than 3 months
  • Eye liner shouldn’t be kept longer than 3 to 6 months
  • Eye shadow (power) shouldn’t be kept longer than 2 years
So, if you can’t remember how long you’ve had that particular makeup item, or it’s starting to separate or smell funny, it’s time to throw it out.

Toothbrush. Your mouth can be a pretty dirty place. Between old food, bacteria and sometimes germs, your toothbrush has the tall task of cleaning away all of these things on a daily basis.

To ensure your toothbrush can effectively do its job, make sure to replace it every 3 to 4 months.

Loofah. That helpful shower pouf of yours with that makes your body wash extra sudsy and keeps your skin extra soft may actually be full of bacteria. Because your loofah is stored in the bathroom, a place notorious for moisture, bacteria can easily thrive and cause irritation and infection.

To ensure that your loofah stays nice and clean, make sure to get a new one every 3 to 4 weeks (natural kind) and every 2 months (plastic kind).

Razor. Depending on how frequently you shave, you may be more accustomed to knowing when your razor is dull and needs to be thrown out. For others, it can be difficult to know when your current razor has had enough. This is especially true as every time you use your razor, it is collecting bacteria and dulling the blade.

It’s recommended that you throw your razor away after approximately 5 uses. For some women this may mean a week, for others it may look more like a month. Keep in mind, though, that depending on the type of hair you have, you may need to replace your razor sooner. To help prevent bacteria, your razor should be stored away from your shower, in a dry place with the blade facing upward.

Kitchen sponge. As one of the most heavily used items, your kitchen sponge is likely the dirtiest item in your entire house. Between wiping up food, scrubbing dishes and cleaning off countertops, your kitchen sponge is filled with germs. On top of that, it likely sits in a puddle of its own water all day at the edge of your kitchen sink.

While there’s no go-to time limit on when it comes to throwing out your kitchen sponge, it is recommended that you do something daily to kill bacteria. One of the best ways to do this is to microwave your damp sponge for 1 to 2 minutes on high. You’ll know you killed the bacteria if the water on the sponge is hot enough to boil.

Spring into health. It isn’t just spring cleaning that can leave you feeling energized and fresh, prioritizing your health can do that, too. With experienced medical providers, convenient locations and a wide array of comprehensive services, Gwinnett Medical Group offers personalized care for all of your health needs. By making an appointment with a primary care provider, you will receive the care you need to enjoy spring to its fullest.

Friday, April 14, 2017

3 Of The Most Common Anesthesia Fears Debunked

By: Becky Walton, RN, Pre-Admission Testing

In preparing patients for scheduled surgeries, I hear often hear the common statement from patients, "I'm more scared about the anesthesia, than the surgery."

Because this is a common fear that many patients share, let's take a closer look at anesthesiaand learn about how your anesthesia team works to ensure your safety during surgery.

Fear #1: I'm scared I won't really be asleep and surgery will still take place.

You will be relieved to know that this situation is an extremely unlikely event. Your anesthesia team has scientific ways to measure the depth of your anesthesiaand keep you from being aware during surgery. In the operating room, a machine measures the amount of anesthesia medicine being breathed in and out, and the anesthesia team is focused entirely on your safety and comfort during the operation.

As Stephen Kushins, MD, an anesthesiologist with Gwinnett Medical Center explains:

We know it takes approximately x amount of inhaled anesthetic medicine to keep an average person unaware of surgery and about 3 times that much to keep them from moving in response to surgical stimulation. A person loses awareness long before they lose reflexes.

In order to make sure that the person is both unaware and unable to reflexively move, we use around 5 times that much medicine for surgical anesthesia doses. This amount of medicine even prevents cardiac reflexes from being triggered, helping to prevent blood pressure and heart rate from rising in response to the operation itself.

While different people require different doses of anesthesia, the fact that the surgical anesthesia dose is about 5 times more than the amount to make the average person unaware makes it extremely unlikely you will be aware of anything during surgery.

Fear #2: I'm scared I won't wake up.

Simplistically, anesthesia medicines effect electrical signals in the nervous system to produce the desired effects of loss of awareness, movement, memory and sensation of pain. 

There are also anesthesia drugs, called reversal agents, that counteract the original drugs’ actions, and cause you to wake up when the time is right. Also, anesthesia medicines given to you in gas form lose their effects as they are washed out of the lungs by switching over to inhaled oxygen at the end of surgery. 

Furthermore, some medications work for a very short amount of time and are given repeatedly during surgery to maintain their effects. Once these short-acting medications are stopped, their effects wear off very quickly. So, the same science that allows you to go to sleep for surgery allows the medicines to be reversed so you can wake back up. 

Fear #3: I'm afraid to lose control.

Losing control can be a hard thing for many people. Dr. Kushins explains it this way, “Every time you get on a bus or airplane, you give up power and control to trained professionals.  Anesthesia care is very similar.”

You can rest assured knowing that the anesthesia experts at Gwinnett Medical Centerare licensed, trained and certified to perform their jobs as effectively as possible. Your safety and comfort are their top priorities. 

A final tip, and one of the most important to remember: if you’re scared, express your feelings to your pre-operative team, even if you feel silly. Sometimes just saying your worries out loud helps you to conquer your fear.

In addition, if your medical team is aware of your feelings, we can provide knowledge and encouragement to help you feel more comfortable and prepared. Our goal in Surgical Services is to provide with you with the best experience possible, and it is our pleasure to take care of you.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

What It's Really Like To Have IBS

When it comes to tummy troubles, painful cramping, bloating, diarrhea and constipation can be some of the most uncomfortable to deal with. And for the 35 million Americans with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, these symptoms can become all too frequent.

Unfortunately, with a wide range of symptoms and causes, IBS can difficult to diagnose and even tougher to treat. With many common misconceptions about what it means to have IBS, let’s take a closer look at what IBS actually is, what the common causes may be and simple steps for relief.

So what exactly is IBS?

When it’s running smoothly, the digestive tract works to process food by moving it from the stomach, though the intestinal tract and finally to the rectum. However, when these contractions are stronger or lasts longer than usual, this can cause gas, bloating and diarrhea. On the other hand, if the contractions are weaker or slower, this can lead to constipationor abnormally hard stools. Despite these unpleasant symptoms, the good news is that IBS doesn’t cause any damage to your digestive tract.

What triggers IBS?

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the triggers of IBS. Whether it’s certain foods, stress, hormones or other conditions, there are a number of substances and circumstances that can cause IBS to flare up. Additionally, symptoms can be sporadic or chronic, depending on the trigger and the severity.

Food. For many individuals with IBS, their large intestineand/or colon may be especially sensitive to certain foods. This is often the result of food allergies or food intolerances. Some of the most common trigger foods include: chocolate, spices, high-fat foods, fruits, beans, cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, milk and certain beverages (carbonated and alcoholic primarily).

Stress. The impact of stress isn’t only mental, it’s also physical. For many individuals with IBS, the severity and frequency of symptoms often increases during high-stress times. While stress alone won’t cause IBS symptoms, it can intensify them.

Hormones. Surprisingly, women are twice as likely to have IBS, which may indicate that hormones play a role.

Other conditions. In addition to food allergies and food intolerances, there are a number of other conditions that can cause IBS flare-ups.  

Simple Steps for Relief

Dietary Changes:  Dietary changes have long been recommended as a good first step in treating IBS. Remember, change takes time; to really see the impact of diet changes, you have to stay patient. Depending on your unique symptoms, you may want to incorporate one or more of these changes:

Incorporating more fiber can be helpful, especially if you have constipation. However, don’t go pedal to the metal with fiber, if you take too much too fast, this can make your symptoms worse. Try gradually incorporating more fiber-rich foods, including oats, whole grain, barley, fruits and vegetables.

Start to take notice of the foods you eat. Avoid foods that can cause gas, such as beans, broccoli and foods with fructose (natural sugar in artichokes, onions, pears, wheat…etc.). Also note the foods that you find trigger or worsen symptoms, these often include milk, coffee and sugar substitutes.

You may want to try going gluten free. The symptoms of Celiac disease and IBS can be tough to distinguish, but it is worth noting that individuals with IBS can be more likely to have celiac disease, especially if they also have thyroid problems or type 1 diabetes.

Medicine: A variety of drugs are available to treat the symptoms of IBS. Based on your specific condition, your doctor may give you one that prevents diarrhea, constipation or stomach pain. However, you’ll want to avoid self-treating and taking medications without your doctor’s input as some of them can worsen IBS symptoms.

Mental Health Therapy: Because stress, anxiety and depression can trigger IBS, as well as cause more severe symptoms, utilizing stress-relieftechniques is an important first step. Additionally, your doctor may suggest therapies that can boost mental health. These may include counseling, talk therapy, hypnosis and stress management. 

Finding the Right Treatment Option for You: When it comes to something as complex as your digestive system, it’s best to turn to the experts for help. Coping with chronic digestive issues, can impact your overall health and your day-to-day quality of life. With the opening of GMC’s new Primary Care & Specialty Center-Suwanee, you and your family will have convenient access to experienced gastroenterologists, primary care and specialty services, the latest in treatment options and an extensive network of resources, all in a spa-like environment.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


Today's Dietitian, February 2015

Building a Private Practice
By Lindsey Getz
Today's Dietitian
Vol. 17 No. 2 P. 36

Today's Dietitian, May 2014
Dietitians and Their Weight Struggles
By Juliann Schaeffer
Today’s Dietitian
Vol. 16 No. 5 P. 32

Ventures, Spring 2005

Spin-offs from a Private Practice

A private practice, even a small, part-time practice can open up many work opportunities. For me, over the past 34 years, unexpected spin-offs have come from many different sources. If you are approached with something new that’s within your area of expertise, always say yes, and then think about it. Sometimes you need to leap into a challenge.

Here are some examples: 
  • Cards and brochures: Add Speaker, Consultant, Media, Personal Trainer or any other field you would like to start or expand. 
  • Speaking engagements: When counseling clients who work for large companies they may ask you to talk at their company or for their association. Instead of a long list of facts and tables, base your talk on experiences with clients, what works and what doesn’t. This creates more interest and audience members will be introduced to you as a nutrition counselor. 
  • Consulting work: Many companies want nutrition experts to counsel participants at marathons or women’s wellness events, to sit on research panels or to be involved in projects that include counseling. 
  • Focus groups: List yourself on the Nutrition Network of . You may receive calls to join a focus group. There are many types of focus groups such as the scenario where clients sit behind a one-way mirror as someone asks you questions. 
  • Spokesperson work: A private client may work for a PR agency and will recommend you as a spokesperson. 
  • Media work: Television, radio, magazine and newspaper work can come from clients in your practice. For example, when I had a practice in Johannesburg, one of my anorexia nervosa clients seemed to be doing quite well, and then disappeared. A year later, she brought a camera crew to interview me on eating disorders. She had become a producer and was doing very well. During media interviews, particularly radio call-in programs, using examples from your private practice helps people identify with your clients. 
  • Writing: When I had a weekly column, my clients gave me umpteen stories, which I used. In Toronto, because I was in private practice, the Canadian Dietetic Association asked me to give a talk to the media during Nutrition Month. Scouts from Macmillan publishing, Inc. were in the audience, and asked me to write a book based on the success of my private practice. My book, Feel Fantastic, contains all the questions clients ask me and the motivational answers. I was also asked to give a talk to The Kellogg’s Co. staff. Subsequently, my book appeared on one million cereal boxes. 
  • Interns: Contact internship directors in your area. When students do their elective rotation with you, from three to six weeks, you spend time teaching them, but you also learn quite a bit from them. After counseling each client, I ask the interns for their input. They will let you know if there’s anything new on a particular topic discussed during your session with that client. They can also help you make your PowerPoint slides more exciting, and handouts and brochures more attractive. They can also be a good spin-off. Examples: In Toronto, I had given a talk to interns on starting a private practice. When I moved to the U.S., one of the interns organized nine talks for me in Northern Ontario. Another time, in San Diego, I gave a talk to interns on how to run your own business; many years later, two of those interns booked me for talks to the Texas and Virginia Dietetic Associations. 
  • Refer work: If you are not an expert in cooking, chronic renal failure, HIV/AIDS, etc. pass the job on to colleagues. You will be surprised at how many people will remember you for future counseling or speaking clients. 
  • Fitness certifications: Many dietitians study hard for the ACSM, ACE or NASM personal training certification. They find business increases rapidly as the referrals spin-off either way. 
  • Website: Everyone is cruising the Internet these days looking for a nutrition counselor and may find that you supply other services. Be sure to setup a website for your practice. 
If you only do counseling, you can burn out quickly. Taking on other opportunities brings you new challenges, a different way of thinking and increased income. In order to get this work, you may need to work on your image. Always look professional, help others, be pleasant and maintain a healthy weight. Enjoy the spin-offs. 

Media Savvy Musts

Feel Confident at Your Next Media Interview 

Believe me, there is nothing scary about a media interview. They just want your information. In all my years of being interviewed on radio and television, for newspapers and magazines, only once was a former friendly host hostile, catching me off guard. However, within ten minutes he was eating out of my hand. Keep to your facts, have a sense of humor and you can handle any interview with ease.
The first time I was in the media I was two years old, when my adventurous parents moved from Canada to South Africa. I grew up with the media around our family as we went searching for the Lost City of the Kalahari in Namibia every year. They were always nice and real people. 

In my teens, I started doing nutrition interviews as a student because my professor asked me to. She was nervous when she was asked a question she couldn’t answer. As a student, it didn’t matter if I fluffed it. As it turned out, the questions were easy so I started off fearless. 

This isn’t marketing to the media (another topic) but what to do if the media contacts you. The “musts” can be found in any media-training manual. These are the “musts” from my experience. 

Newspaper, magazine and radio interviews:
a. Return calls and emails immediately. Understand deadlines for newspaper and radio interviews; magazine interviews have a longer timeline.
b. If they are referring to an article or study, ask them to email it first and call them back when you have your facts in order.
c. Prepare for the interview: Ask if it is live or taped and who is the target audience.
d. Research the subject and suggest questions. After your suggested questions, add AND info: For a registered dietitian in your area, go to The Association of Nutrition and Dietetic’s website at
e. When answering, be honest, not perfect.
f. Be prepared for disappointments. Interviews of four hours or counseling a magazine reader for three months can result in a one-sentence quote,and not necessarily a good one. 

Television Interviews:
When I gave a talk for the Nutrition Entrepreneurs on this topic, Media Savvy Musts, I showed an edited tape of ten of my television interviews. I explained the preparation beforehand, why I chose to wear what I did, what surprised me, and how good I felt afterwards. Even though the tape showed the best parts of my interviews in it, members liked to know I was normal.
a. Spontaneous interviews can be improved on if you know all the questions beforehand. Do the best you can and don’t beat yourself up afterwards. The tape can always be edited later.
b. Carefully worded and written facts sound better to your ear, spontaneity sounds better to the listeners.
c. Check with the producer that your name and credentials are correct. Add MS and RDN but not FADA, CDE etc. MS, RDN is confusing enough to the consumer.
d. Bring props, don’t be a talking head. 

Spokesperson work - the difference:
a. You will be media trained. This can be a harrowing experience but it prepares you for the worst (which has never happened to me). With practice it gets easier.
b. Food companies are not going to put words in your mouth you don’t agree with. They want the facts to be correct and for you to feel comfortable and confident with the message. Of course, if this is not the case, run.
c. Television interviews are about your message, spokesperson work is about the company’s key messages and their image.
d. Practice transitioning to your key messages when the host goes off the subject.
e. Don’t sound like you’re advertising, your client won’t want that either.
f. “Desksides” means sitting at the desks of health editors and chatting about the product or program. 

1. For phone interviews, pajamas are fine!
2. For television: Bold colors are best. My “must” for women is, wear a jacket. When they mike you, you don’t need strangers wiring inside your dress/blouse.
3. Look stylish. If you don’t understand fashion, have someone with taste, help you. I do.
4. No big jewelry that will tap the mike.
5. Neat hair. You cannot believe how attractive, natural-looking wisps look messy on a close-up. For women, overdo your makeup otherwise you’ll look washed out. The plus side is that it will wash out your wrinkles as well. Men will need some powder; no shiny faces here. If there’s a makeup artist, ask for a touch up.
6. Look under your shoes. The soles may be worn and show if you’re perched on a chair.
7. Look in the mirror just before you go on camera; sometimes a skew tie or necklace is distracting to the audience.

The interview:
a. Speak in short sentences (sound bytes). I still find that tough. Answering the question directly helps. After that, go into more detail.
b. Don’t look at the camera; look at the host, unless you are actually speaking to the camera.
c. Show enthusiasm, don't speak in one tone or you may sound boring.
d. Smile. Talk as if you are talking to friends in your living room.
e. Stay seated until they tell you to leave. Watch TV interviews. You will notice the host and guest continue talking while the music plays and titles scroll. 

To further your career:
a. Start a database with your television, radio, magazine and newspaper contacts: name, company, address, telephone number, email, what was said and done. You may need them at a later date.
a. Send a thank you email.
b. Keep links of all interviews and add to your website.

Enjoy and keep our profession in show business.