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VIDA Blog

Aug 14 2017

Dietitian vs. Nutritionist: What’s The Difference?

VIDA Nutritionist and Dietitian Addie ClaireBy: VIDA Registered Dietitian Addie Merletti 

Dietitian, Nutritionist, whatever..

It’s like the square/rectangle concept we learned in elementary school. All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. That’s enough geometry, but it works for dietitians and nutritionists too. All dietitians are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are dietitians. Why does it matter? It may not to you, but here is what’s required to become a Registered Dietitian:

 

 

1. Complete the undergraduate & graduate level coursework required by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics

2. Receive a match for a ACEND- accredited Dietetic Internship

3. Complete the ~1200 hour internship with rotations throughout the hospital, food service and in the community (mine was in the athletics department at Notre Dame!)

4. Pass the RD exam and become a Registered Dietitian!

 

Here is what’s required to become a nutritionist:

  1. Possibly take a course or read a book/article about nutrition
  2. Begin calling himself or herself a nutritionist!

 

This is not to say that a nutritionist cannot help you reach your goals! Many of them have undergraduate degrees in nutrition. However, the clinical experience gleaned in the dietetic internship is unparalleled and something I use every day in my practice. An example would be a client who is attempting to gain muscle who has a history of an absorption issue. This person cannot simply follow a traditional “bulking” diet, as they will have serious GI distress and also not successfully gain anything but water. Whether or not you have an underlying clinical condition, it is important to know the educational background of the person giving you nutrition advice.

It is also important to note that unlike Virginia, Washington DC has a Licensure with Exclusive Scope of Practice law. This law licenses dietitians and nutritionists. Only a licensed dietitian or a licensed nutritionist can provide nutrition care including: assessment, goal setting, counseling, or advice. DC statutes include an explicitly defined scope of practice, and performance of the profession is illegal without first obtaining a license from the state. This is a way for the DC board of health to ensure those practicing have the proper education and credentials to be dispensing advice, and are doing so according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Code of Ethics. This ensures evidence-based practice instead of bro-science and results that last rather than pass after a few weeks!

Why should you care? The same reason you would be concerned if your trainer had not passed the CPT exam, or if your dermatologist has not passed his boards, or if your pharmacist had read a book about medicine but didn’t want to take all the time and money to go to pharmacy school. Any of those individuals could be very competent at their job, but it is important to consider the source when making the important decision of what you’re going to use to fuel your body!

Want to schedule a nutrition consultation and analysis with Addie? Check out our Nutrition services or email her at amerletti@vidafitness.com to discover how she can help you make healthier choices that fit your lifestyle! 

Jan 14 2016

Leigh Delavan Joins the VIDA Nutrition Team!

Living in a city like DC, it can be tricky sticking to a clean diet with things like post-work happy hours and boozy brunches popping up all over the place.  How else are you supposed to catch up with friends, other than over mimosas and pancakes on Sunday mornings? Luckily our new Registered Dietitian Leigh Delavan is a pro at balancing a jam-packed social life AND maintaining a healthy, clean diet while doing so!

Leigh DelavanLeigh grew up in Annapolis, MD, and is excited to return to the DC area after completing her education at schools all over the country. Her interest in fitness was sparked in high school, after years of playing field hockey and lacrosse. She realized she wasn’t into competitive sports as much as she was into her gym routine and community, and eventually started working the front desk at the Merritt in Annapolis.

“Working at the Merritt is where I was first exposed to a dietitian and what their job entailed. It was a very fun, supportive community that set the bar pretty high for any environment I’d want to work in again. Through that job, I realized how supportive the fitness community can be—something that I’ve now found at VIDA,” says Leigh.

After graduating high school, Leigh went on to the University of Pittsburgh where she explored a few different majors before settling on Nutrition & Dietetics. She dabbled in both anthropology and pre-law, but neither of them seemed like the right fit for her.

“When I was struggling with ‘what I should be when I grow up’ my mom gave me the advice to major in what you enjoy learning about in your free time. To me that was nutrition!” she says.

She finished up her B.S. in Nutrition & Dietetics at University of Pittsburgh in 2012, where she also served as the Vice President of the Student Dietetic Association and as a tour guide for the university. The next step was starting an internship program, which she decided to do in conjunction with a Master’s program at the University of Arkansas.

After her internship, and while working on graduate school credits, she worked full time at a children’s hospital and then at a weight loss clinic as their nutrition specialist.

“It was a pretty busy time in my life! At one point, I was taking 12 credits, working 45 hours a week and doing an internship. I didn’t have a lot of free time,” she laughs.

The hard work paid off though, and she received her M.S. this past April. When applying for jobs, she knew she wanted to find the type of environment she loved so much at Merritt again, and says she has found all that and more at VIDA!

“As soon as I saw the job posting I knew it was the job for me. It’s a young, hip and most importantly supportive community that’s always adapting to current trends. As soon as I was offered the job I packed up my Uhaul, drove across the country and moved to DC! This is my dream job and I’m very happy to be here,” she says.

As the new designated dietitian for Metropole, Leigh is excited about sharing her approach to nutrition with our members. She focuses on creating feasible long-term goals that work with a busy social life, rather than against it.

Let’s face it, we’re all going to end up at a bottomless brunch at some point, staring at a menu offering countless ways to consume three days worth of calories in one sitting. Leigh specializes in navigating that menu – so you can make healthy choices while still enjoying the experience with your friends! (Hint: her brunch go-to is eggs benedict with no hollandaise – even better if they can make it eggs florentine – and skipping the carbs on the side when you can!)

“I don’t expect an unrealistic lifestyle change with  my clients. I like to meet them where they’re at, and try to encourage small, manageable changes. I’ll pull up the menu for the bar they’re going to later, and help them find the best option to order. If they’re going out drinking 3-4 times a week, I’ll see if we can cut it down to one, or at least cut back on number of drinks per outing. I know people aren’t going to stop going to happy hour, so I try to set realistic goals,” says Leigh.

She also knows that while many people have the best intentions for making good food choices, they simply don’t have the time to meal prep or grocery shop.

“I know that some of my clients just really can’t make a weekly grocery store trip. I’ll see if there’s at least a Trader Joe’s they can stop in on their way to work or home, or help them with menu options at the places they eat out at the most,” she says.

As for Leigh’s go-to meals, she says there’s nothing better than cooking at home. Her staples that she recommends always having in the fridge include plain greek yogurt (Faye 2% is her fave,) frozen vegetables (or fresh, if you can go through them fast enough!) and apples. She also loves string cheese and raw almonds for snacking throughout the day, and encourages you to opt for wine when happy hour-ing.

Leigh & a friend conquering a new hiking trail!

Leigh & a friend conquering a new hiking trail!

“I’m all about creating plans for my clients that will last long-term, even if it means allowing for a little more freedom. If it’s not realistic, it’s not helpful,” she says.

When she’s not meeting with clients or finding healthy brunches with friends, Leigh enjoys game nights, hiking, exploring the outdoors and cycling (you can find her teaching a few classes on the group fitness schedule too!)

Leigh can be reached at ldelavan@vidafitness.com, or stop by her office next to the PT desk on the second floor to chat. We encourage all of our Metropole members to schedule a Nutrition Fit with Leigh if you haven’t yet, and join us in welcoming her to the VIDA family!

Dec 14 2015

Meet Our New RD at the Yards: Courtney Puidk!

Courtney PuidkNot only does Courtney Puidk teach Pilates Reformer and lead a calorie-torching cycle class, she’s also helping us grow our nutrition program as the new Registered Dietitian at the Yards!

Courtney has been teaching at VIDA since June of 2014, so it wasn’t too difficult for her to transition into our nutrition department when the opportunity arose.

Growing up in Columbia, Missouri, Courtney was active and athletic her whole life. She swam, ran track and played soccer through high school and says her interest in nutrition began at age 17 when she made the decision to give up soda.

“I remember wondering – why is Mountain Dew yellow? I started paying attention to artificial ingredients and sweeteners. I dropped soda from my diet and lost 5 lbs! I was amazed at my increased energy and body transformation just by removing soda – that was kind of the lightbulb moment for me,” she says.

With her newfound curiosity about foods relationship with the body, Courtney decided to study Nutrition and Kinesiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

During this time, she learned tons about nutrients and health, and worked the front desk at the Lincoln Park Athletic Club in between classes. Working at the club provided the perfect tie-in to fitness with her studies, and sparked her decision to get certified.

“I loved taking the classes! I was taking Pilates regularly and spinning up to four times a week. I was encouraged to start teaching Pilates and did my STOTT training in Chicago, and decided to get certified in spin too since I love music,” says Courtney.

She started training with a group of friends from the gym, and competed in her first triathlon before graduating in 2010! She has since done two more and says there will definitely be more in the future.courtney2

After receiving her B.S., Courtney Puidk realized that she was interested in nutrition to help people become healthier in a preventative sense, not clinical nutrition which focuses more on single nutrients and numbers related to health conditions and treatment.

“I know that nutrients alone are not relatable to most people. I believe in a whole health approach to nutrition, focusing on fresh foods and basic cooking skills. I want to be able to address people’s barriers to cooking by helping them look at the whole spectrum of health and make it less intimidating,” she says.

This attitude inspired her to pursue a M.S. in Holistic Nutrition at Bastyr University in Seattle – the only accredited program in the country with a holistic emphasis on nutrition! While working on her Masters she became certain that she wanted to work with people as part of the community, rather than in a hospital.

“I want to be in an environment that supports health and wellness, where people are voluntarily coming to you seeking advice because they care about their bodies. The gym atmosphere is perfect for that,” she says.

Her passion for food policy and advocacy eventually lead her to Washington DC, where she completed her 36 week nutrition residency program in 2013. During this time she worked as an intern at the Washington Hospital Center, the DC Central Kitchen, the Department of Health and the Office of State Superintendent of Education’s Healthy Schools Act division. She also holds a community chair on the DC Dietetic Association Public Policy Committee!

After moving from Tinleytown to H Street, Courtney discovered VIDA and was immediately drawn to our vibrant atmosphere, positive environment and health-focused corporate culture. Starting as a Pilates and Cycle instructor last year, she had no idea that she’d eventually be merging her two passions together.

“I remember meeting Cat for the first time and wondering if VIDA would ever expand their nutrition department. I loved teaching at the Yards location, so when I heard they were hiring an RD just for the Yards I knew I had to apply,” she says.

Courtney was officially brought on board in October, and says she’s had a great experience so far. Her goal is to empower people to take control of their health by creating sustainable lifestyle choices tailored to their needs, and to arm them with the knowledge needed about what foods to eat and when.

“There’s a lot of misconceptions out there and barriers people face when eating out. My number one piece of advice for takeaway is always that cooking your own food is the best thing you can do for yourself,” she says.

She also mentions that whether you’re trying to build muscle, lose weight or just maintain a healthy diet, proper nutrition is a key factor.

We’re excited to have Courtney on board, and encourage all of our Yards members to set up a Nutrition Fit with her if you haven’t yet by emailing cpuidk@vidafitness.com!

Thanksgiving Hours ›

GALLERY PLACE

  • Wednesday, November 25th – 7am-7pm
  • Thursday, November 26th – Thanksgiving – 8am-12pm
  • Friday, November 27th – 7am-7pm

CITY VISTA

  • Wednesday, November 25th – 7am-7pm
  • Thursday, November 26th – 7am-1pm
  • Friday, November 27th – 7am-7pm

U STREET, LOGAN, BALLSTON, YARDS

  • Wednesday, November 25th – 7am-7pm
  • Thursday, November 26th – Thanksgiving – 7am-1pm
  • Friday, November 27th – 7am-7pm

Holiday Hours ›

UST, LC & Ballston Holiday Hours

  • Thursday12/24: 7am –2pm
  • Friday 12/25: CLOSED
  • Thursday 12/31: 7am – 5pm
  • Friday 1/1: 7am – 7pm

The Yards Holiday Hours

  • Thursday12/24: 5am – 3pm
  • Friday 12/25: CLOSED
  • Saturday 12/26: 7am – 7pm
  • Thursday 12/31: 5am – 7pm
  • Friday 1/1: 7am – 9pm

City Vista Holiday Hours

  • Thursday12/24: 5am – 1pm
  • Friday 12/25: CLOSED
  • Thursday 12/31: 5am – 7pm
  • Friday 1/1: 7am – 9pm

Gallery Place Holiday Hours

  • Thursday12/24: 8am – 2pm
  • Friday 12/25: CLOSED
  • Saturday 12/26: 7am – 7pm
  • Thursday 12/31: 5am – 7pm
  • Friday 1/1: 7am – 9pm
Vida Fitness
City Vista 45 K Street, NW Washington D.C. 20001
(202) 289-8432 info@vidafitness.com Facebook Twitter Instagram

City Vista

Open: Mon-Fri: 5:00am – 11:00pm

Open: Sat & Sun: 7:00 am – 9:00pm

Phone: (202) 289-8432

$ 45 K Street, NW Washington D.C. 20001
Vida Fitness
Metropole 1517 15th Street, NW Washington D.C. 20005
(202) 588-5559 info@vidafitness.com Facebook Twitter Instagram

Metropole

Phone: (202) 588-5559

$ 1517 15th Street, NW Washington D.C. 20005

Open: Mon-Fri: 5:00am – 11:00pm

Open: Sat & Sun: 7:00 am – 9:00pm

Vida Fitness
Renaissance Hotel 999 9th Street, NW, 3rd Floor Washington D.C. 20001
(202) 742-1940 info@vidafitness.com Facebook Twitter Instagram

Renaissance Hotel

Phone: (202) 742-1940

$ 999 9th Street, NW, 3rd Floor Washington D.C. 20001

Open: Mon-Fri: 5:30am – 10:00pm

Open: Sat & Sun: 6:00 am – 10:00pm

Vida Fitness
U Street 1612 U Street, NW Washington D.C. 20009
(202) 939-2577 info@vidafitness.com Facebook Twitter Instagram

U Street

Phone: (202) 939-2577

$ 1612 U Street, NW Washington D.C. 20009

Open: Mon-Fri: 5:00am – 11:00pm

Open: Sat & Sun: 7:00 am – 9:00pm

Vida Fitness
Verizon 601 F Street, NW Washington D.C. 20004
(202) 393-8432 info@vidafitness.com Facebook Twitter Instagram

Verizon

Phone: (202) 393-8432

$ 601 F Street, NW Washington D.C. 20004

Open: Mon-Fri: 5:00am – 11:00pm

Open: Sat & Sun: 7:00 am – 9:00pm

Vida Fitness
The Yards 1212 4th Street, SE Washington D.C, 20003
(202) 554-0444 info@vidafitness.com Facebook Twitter Instagram

The Yards

Phone: (202) 554-0444

$ 1212 4th Street, SE Washington D.C, 20003

Open: Mon-Fri: 5:00am – 11:00pm

Open: Sat & Sun: 7:00 am – 9:00pm