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Easy is probably the most overused word when it comes to behavior change. Unfortunately, changing behavior is NOT easy–especially for diabetes–and as health professionals, we all know that. Helping promote behavior change? That’s something that can be easy, or at least easier. Our newest web-based CE course, Mindful Eating for Diabetes Made Easy (6 CPEUs), is designed to do just that.

WEB-DMME-2T
Presented by mindful eating expert Megrette Fletcher, MEd, RD, CDE, this course breaks down the three biggest challenges for diabetes patients–understanding and building motivation, changing habits, and making healthier food choices. Plus, you get a full grounding in the research on mindful eating and diabetes–truly fascinating stuff. Mindfulness techniques have been used to estimate current blood glucose levels, with accurate estimates of hypo- and hyperglycemia.

The best part of this webinar pack? It turns conventional diabetes education on its head by helping you put the client in control, losing focus on ‘goals’ and focusing on practice instead (not perfect!) and working on helping your clients understand and articulate their own personal barriers to change.

Great, and practical stuff. You’ll get free handouts, too–that you can use right away with your clients to put these principles into practice. Not sure yet? Check out Megrette’s FREE webinar “An Introduction to Mindful Eating Made Easy” and discover how easy and fun helping your clients create change can be!

Three Ways to Blue Zone Your Client’s Life

As you know, Skelly Skills is a labor of love for me, not just because I love helping RDs and CDEs be the best they can be, but also because (ok, selfishly) I get to learn cool things all the time, too!

The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living LIke the World’s Healthiest People is this month’s new CE course and is the perfect example of this. Dan Buettner’s new book, based on his bestselling Blue Zones, is a dietitian’s dream: grounded in science, and accessible for any client. It was a fascinating read.

In fact, that’s how we knew it would make a great addition to Skelly Skills’ CE lineup: it contains the three ingredients every CE course we launch ideally provides. First, it’s practical, and immediately helpful to RDs in their practice. Second, it’s based on studies of dietary and lifestyle patterns, not a single nutrient or food. If you’ve read Michael Pollan’s work, you know that what he terms nutritionism (or the obsession with a single nutrient or food) has led us away from whole, plant-based diets, in favor of focusing on the macro- or micro-nutrient du jour. The Blue Zones research reminds us that we exist in synergy with our environment, and that only by eating, and living, holistically can we achieve not just longevity, but healthy longevity.

Third, The Blue Zones Solution gives lots of great baby steps that anyone can start doing today. It doesn’t feel overwhelming: pick one or two and start doing them now. You can add more down the road, but every small step you take will get you more aligned with the Blue Zones lifestyle–one that’s strongly correlated with healthy longevity.

Here are three baby steps you or your clients can take today:

  1. Eat more beans! It’s no surprise: they are strongly correlated with longevity in every Blue Zone studied
  2. Walk together/talk together and belong: Moais (groups of friends who commit to one another) are a way the Okinawans in Japan, famed for their longevity, stay healthy and happy. Give it a try in your workplace or community.
  3. Assess yourself: the Blue Zones Vitality Compass is free and fun and gives you or your clients a score based on the elements of Blue Zones longevity. You can take it here.

Healthy Regards,

Sheila

How my 8 year-old got my 5 year-old to eat broccoli

sensory-wonders (1)Becoming a mom is always a humbling experience, but never more so when you’re a Registered Dietitian who used to (smugly) tell other moms what to do. Having an advanced degree in nutrition and experiencing firsthand the near-complete lack of control you have over a small being’s food preferences is the ultimate in hubris.

Witness my own situation: after breastfeeding both my kids and lovingly handcrafting meals from scratch from birth, I ended up with an older kid who loves to eat pretty much everything (and has no concept of when he might be full), and a younger one who is the very definition of a Supertaster (code for ridiculously picky, and able to narrate the various sensory attributes he does NOT like of a given food). Oh, and he also decided to become a vegetarian after a visit to a nearby farm when he was 4.

Thankfully, I read Ellyn Satter’s books when I worked in WIC and her wisdom would resonate in my head pre-mealtime (“The parent decides what and when, the child decides if and how much.”) I also welcomed my kids into the kitchen to cook with me at every possible opportunity, as well as used mindful eating techniques to help my older one recognize and honor hunger and satiety cues. But I still struggled with my younger one’s refusal of so many foods. Little did I know the answer was to get out of the way!

Let me explain. When the after-school enrichment schedule came out, I was delighted to see that Little Chefs was one of the offerings. This after-school cooking club for kids was guaranteed to give my 8 year-old six weeks of pure joy. And it did. Unfortunately, my 5 year-old was too young to take the class. But, like most younger sibs, he was the very definition of a starry-eyed second-born, interested in whatever my older son was doing. So, after the first class, when my 8 year-old came home with broccoli quiche he had made, my 5 year-old begged for a piece. What? I thought to myself. He NEVER eats broccoli when I make it!   To my astonishment, he ate an entire piece, gushing the whole time about how delicious the broccoli tasted. My older one, also not a huge fan of broccoli, had a similar response.

What a revelation. As important as it is for kids to cook with you, I’ve also discovered it’s critical to give them some independence in the kitchen (when they are old enough, of course). We now have a ‘Kids’ Choice’ night once a week, where my kids choose the meal components and cook/assemble it themselves, with my oversight. Not surprisingly, broccoli quiche has made the menu, but also other meal ideas I would never had made for dinner, like corn, tomato and bean salsa and pasta salad (also both recipes from the Little Chefs class). Seeing my kids wolf down sun-dried tomatoes and olives in a pasta salad nearly brought tears to my eyes.

As millennial snow-plow parents, getting out of our kids’ ways can be a foreign concept. But when it comes to eating healthfully, giving them the independence and skills to choose what sometimes, and letting them serve as role models to younger sibs, also can positively influence if and how much.

This month Skelly Skills is focusing on building healthy families–please join us for our FREE continuing education (CE) webinar for RD and RDNs and CDEs on “How to Help Families Build a Better Diet” (1 CPEU / CEU) on April 28th with mindful eating expert Megrette Fletcher, MEd, RD, CDE, author of Discover Mindful Eating for Kids: 75 Activities for Picky Eaters, Overeaters, Speed Eaters, and Every Kid In-Between (35 CPEU / CEU). You can register here.

Healthy Regards,

Sheila

Here’s to us (“Cheers!”, “L’chaim!”, or as my aunt in Cali would say: “Chin Chin”)

love fruit and vegetable

Skelly Skills has a free CE course on Nutrition411.com called ‘5 Ways to be a Better Dietitian’. I like it, and what it represents: that we can always improve. That’s what continuing education is all about–Skelly’s raison d’etre if my high school French doesn’t fail me.

However, since Registered Dietitian Day is this month, I’ve been thinking about how great we already are. (As a parent, this kind of thinking is a decided no-no. If you haven’t heard, we are raising a generation of ‘praise-junkies’–they all want trophies and someone doing back-flips when they do a purely mediocre job.)

But here’s the thing: this does not apply to RDs. We are experts at setting the bar higher, going to all ends to improve, and generally (in my opinion) not feeling like we get any respect for the tremendous value we bring. Now that I’ve worked with educating and training RD/RDNs for 11 years, I’d like to pay homage to the 5 Ways we are Already Awesome:

  1. We really want to help our clients (really). I’m constantly astonished at how selfless RDs are when it comes to making someone’s health better. I spend a lot of time on RD listservs, and the dedication to helping clients (after-hours and at all hours) is truly inspiring.
  2. We have tremendous empathy. Let’s face it: all day long, we work with people who have often made some not-so-great choices in their lives. Many of them continue to, in spite of knowing otherwise. It could be easy to become cynical and judgmental. But we don’t. In my experience, it’s rare to find an RD who doesn’t show tremendous empathy for the clients she works with–understanding the many factors beyond their control that led to their current situation, and plugging away to find new techniques and strategies to help them.
  3. We give back. I’ve never seen a profession that volunteers more than ours. Period.
  4. We help each other. RDs shelve their egos in favor of the greater good. While sometimes we lament the larger impact this has–professions that are more ego-driven naturally get more recognition and prestige, because their members demand it. But we are looking to make each other better, regardless of whether we are acknowledged or compensated for it. For this reason, we freely share information, advice and best practices, simply to support and empower each other.
  5. We are ethical, and make ethical decisions. I love how careful and concerned RD/RDNs are about doing the right thing, and making the ethical choice. It’s this integrity that forms the bedrock of trust our profession and the RD/RDN credential need to ensure we are the nutrition expert of choice.

Happy RD Day to all of you. I’m so proud to be a part of this wonderful profession!

Sheila

Diabetes Practice Update 2015: Continuing Education that’s Free and Fun!

diabetesOk, maybe fun is a bit of a stretch. But as we all know, it’s vitally important. What’s the constant about diabetes care? Change. Meds change, research pours in, and guidelines are updated so frequently it’s difficult for clinicians like us to keep up. This month, we’re excited to offer you a free CE webinar to update your diabetes nutrition care and education practice. Led by Lois Moss-Barnwell, MS, RD, CDE, a former AADE Director now in private practice, it’s designed to keep you abreast of all that’s new in the world of diabetes care. Here’s a sneak peek:

1. ADA’s Standards of Medical Care for Diabetes–2015 Just released, these standards–updated annually–provide the gold standard for diabetes care. Read them here, or we’ll summarize key takeaways for you in the free webinar.

2. ANAD’s Evidence Analysis Library: Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes (PDM)–Guideline: Released in December, 2014, these are targeted to the RD and RDN and should form a key component of screening, assessing and treating individuals with prediabetes, and others at risk for diabetes. If you’re an ANAD member, you can read the full report here –we’ll also be reviewing them and helping you implement them into your practice in the Feb 25th webinar.

3. Joslin’s Diabetes Deskbook (Third Edition) –here at Skelly Skills, we spend much time trying to find CE resources that will move your practice forward. With diabetes care and education, that can be a tall order. Fortunately, the newest (2014) edition of the Joslin’s Diabetes Deskbook, fits the bill. We’ll be reviewing some key research covered in the book and will help you understand the nutritional implications. An interesting example? The emerging research on adipose tissue and how it functions as an endocrine gland–further complicating the already complex web of diabetes treatment. Fortunately, RD/RDNs can play a pivotal role in helping increase production of helpful adipocytokines, and decreasing production of harmful ones through MNT and weight reduction strategies.

We hope you can join us on Febuary 25th at 12 noon ET. It’s free and you’ll get 1 CPEU, too! You can sign up here if you’re interested! We will be providing the on-demand version afterward for those who can’t attend live.

Healthy Regards,

Sheila

Welcome to the REBELution!

I’m delighted to have a guest blogger this week, and it isn’t just any guest! Kait Fortunato Greenberg is the author of Welcome to the REBELution: 7 Steps to the Nutrition Counseling Practice of Your Dreams— our newest continuing education course at Skelly Skills. Just added this week, this course is equally inspiring and practical. And, of course, earns you CPEUs. 18 to be exact!

Thanks and I will let Kait will take it from here!

photo-3-14 Welcome to the REBELution! 

We are beyond excited to start a REBELUTION and inspire like-minded Rebel Dietitians to create the private practice of their dreams. One that can be a thriving environment for successful clients and one that allows for personal growth  and self-care. In honor of our book launch this week, we will be sharing some insider tips and sneak peaks into our private practice workbook, “Welcome to the REBELUTION: Seven Steps to the Nutrition Practice of Your Dreams.

Realize Your Potential: Create a fulfilling practice by doing what you love.

When I started at Rebecca Bitzer and Associates, the first thing Rebecca had me do was self-evaluation in regards to my strengths and values that we still continue to evaluate as time goes on. This has been key to success in our practice and in my life, knowing how to align my values and utilize my strengths.

We evaluate strengths utilizing the Myers Briggs Type Indicator Assessment. It is amazing that to this day I have taken this evaluation several times and always get the same answer, even though there are 16 types! It is so interesting to see how these results align with the work I both like to do and excel at and how my weaknesses can be complimented by other team members are RBA who accelerate in other areas.

We also use mindtools.com to evaluate and prioritize our values and Rebecca has always emphasized the importance of aligning personal and professional values to focus on happiness and fulfillment.

For example, two of my values include:

  • Family-Oriented: So personally I enjoy having a flexible schedule to spend more time with my family and professionally I love helping families work together in recovery from an eating disorder or even meal planning for a busy week!
  • Making A Difference: Fostering my clients growth at work and being present in my community and church at home

Knowing that my personal and professional values align make going to “work” something that feels good.

Learn more of Kait’s wisdom and advice in our free CE webinar on January 28th at 1pm ET. Participants will earn 1 CE. Or, start learning today with your own copy of Welcome to the REBELution. This is a fabulous book that you don’t want to miss!

2014 In Review (aka Sheila Gets Sentimental)

2014

Thanks to all of the mindfulness work Skelly Skills does, I try my best to live in the present moment. But I make an exception right around this time of year (and who doesn’t?). ‘Tis the season to reflect on the past year and prepare for the next one. With that in mind, let’s take a quick stroll down memory lane, continuing education style:

Best New ‘Trend’:

Functional/Integrative Nutrition! Much like the slow-food movement, which had many gardeners and chefs saying, “Finally the rest of the world is waking up!”, functional and integrative nutrition is a common-sense, inside-out approach to health whose principles our grandmothers used but didn’t have a fancy name for. Now, it’s kicked up a notch or two with the fascinating addition of nutrigenomics, and new and sophisticated lab testing and supplements that can fine-tune your diagnostic and treatment efforts. When our ancestors chewed garlic from their backyards for its immune-boosting and circulatory effects, they truly embodied the functional medicine concept of ‘health care, not disease-care’. And, now what’s old really IS new again. When we launched The Disease Delusion (23 CPEU/CEU) CE course in August, the avalanche of emails from all of you saying it was the best book you ever read convinced us that more dietitians are seeing the tremendous potential of functional medicine. We hope all of you will continue on this journey with open and inquiring minds. A related and fascinating read? “The Excrement Experiment” in last week’s New Yorker. You can learn more about the OpenBiome project here–fascinating stuff!

Most Rewarding Project:

Discover Mindful Eating for Kids (35 CPEU/CEU) Working with Megrette is always a fun and revelatory experience, and this was no exception. We’ve been concepting this book for two years and watching it evolve was something that–as Megrette would say–filled me with gratitude. As the mom of a child with some sensory issues (which I now recognize in myself as well!), I understand so well that eating for kids goes waaay beyond hunger and satiety. ‘Pickiness’ can often mask sensory issues; overeating can indicate stress; and crunchy foods can be calming and regulating for many kids (it’s about helping them find the right crunchy foods)! Our goal with this book was for dietitians to understand that kids also bring a lot of things besides hunger to the metaphorical and literal table, and that adopting a mindfulness approach can help them explore and be creative with healthy food and eating choices–a natural for kids!

If you’re a parent, you know that awareness is the ultimate goal for so much in life, and eating is no different. This book is about cultivating awareness.

Thanks to those of you who helped us pilot-test the activities with your clients–your feedback was so helpful in making this book the best it could be!  If you’re curious about some of the activities, you can watch Megrette’s latest webinar on using mindful eating for kids to increase self-control here: http://www.skellyskills.com/articles.asp?ID=327

Best New Addition to the Skelly Team:

She doesn’t know she’s getting a shout-out, but I couldn’t have managed the second half of 2014 without Sutton. She is a 22 year-old dynamo, who belies every derogatory statement made about Millennials. Before I hired her, I wanted to be sure she would be ok with me throwing a variety of projects at her that my other assistant couldn’t take on, and she ran with all of them (and a cheerful attitude to boot). Thank you, Sutton! Do you have a Millennial on your team? Here’s a great article about how to capitalize on their enormous potential for your organization: http://humanresources.about.com/od/managementtips/a/millenials.htm

Also, a huge thank you to the wonderful team at Arlington Strategy, who have been a tremendous help with social media and many other projects here at Skelly!

When I think back over 2014, my overarching sentiment is one of appreciation. I feel so fortunate to do the work I do, to be always learning and growing along with all of you! We hope you find what we have planned for 2015 to be just as rewarding. Happy Holidays!

Healthy Regards,

Sheila

How to Super-charge Your Salary in 2015

I’m thrilled to have negotiation coach Pat Katepoo as a guest blogger this week. Be sure to sign up for Pat’s FREE CE webinar on Dec 8th, too–space is limited! If you are like a lot of health care professionals, you accept the salary you are given, without questioning. Pat is an expert at helping you earn what you are worth, and gives you the confidence to finally ask and receive!

payraiseAre you overdue for a pay raise? I mean a really good pay raise, not the paltry pay increases typical of the last several years. If so, what’s your plan?

To super-charge your salary in 2015, I recommend that you apply the pay raise process.

What is the pay raise process? It’s a series of systematic steps that position and prepare you to receive a big fat salary increase at your current job.

As you learn what to do and what to say, you build both your case and your confidence for negotiating a BIG boost in pay.

What do I mean by BIG?

One dietitian who followed my pay raise process received a 14% pay increase—during the 2008 recession.

Earlier this year, a supermarket dietitian turned the 2.5% increase she was offered into 10%.

A student health nutritionist was at the top of the university’s pay scale for her position, but yet below the industry standard. What could she do?

She followed the pay raise process and eventually received a 17% pay increase. I say “eventually” because it was a slog to get there, taking six months to get through some bureaucratic hoops. But once she got it, her employer made the higher wage retroactive by three months.

10% or More: That’s the Power of the Pay Raise Process

What each of these dietitians did was to get a Competitive Pay Raise. That’s one of a few different types of raises you can request to super-charge your salary.

There are several steps through the pay raise process which are covered at Pay Raise Prep School for Women, but here’s how you can start today toward higher pay:

  1. Check to see if you are a good candidate for requesting a Competitive Pay Raise by comparing your current salary with industry standards. First use AND’s Compensation and Benefits Survey of the Dietetics Profession. (Researchers have found that women can improve their negotiation results substantially when they use third-party market information to set their goals, so this is a smart place to begin.)
  2. To add to your salary research, download a free Pay Raise Prep School lesson worksheet on 5 Ways to Find Out How Much You’re Underpaid (and How to Fix It).
  3. Register for the FREE Skelly Skills CE webinar called Salary Solutions for Dietitians: 3 Powerful Ways to Boost Your Pay. You’ll get a glimpse some of the other pay raise types you can request to ramp up your income.

You don’t have to put up with paltry pay increases any longer. Learn the various pay raise types you can request and reap the returns in thousands of dollars for years to come.

Pat Katepoo, a former registered dietitian, is the founder of Pay Raise Prep School for Women and WorkOptions.com, where she has equipped thousands of women to successfully negotiate flexible work, longer maternity leave, and higher pay.

Healthy Regards,

Sheila

Self-control: It’s not a dirty word?!

freeCPEMy dad used to remark that the nuns gave him ‘C’s’ in self-control when he was in elementary school. How strange to have a ‘self-control’ category on your report card! I would think.  Like a strange Mad Men throwback, the self-control grade made me glad I grew up in the more permissive ‘70’s and ‘80’s when we didn’t have to worry about such things!

Well, what’s old is new (again). Research confirms that developing and practicing self-control for kids is critical to success as adults. Self-control researchers are advising schools and educators how to work with kids to develop this strength.

The nuns were right! I thought to myself when listening to some of this research on NPR. (http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2014-10-01/walter-mischel-marshmallow-test-mastering-self-control) And, like most things I learn, the interview led me to think about what Skelly Skills can do to provide continuing education for dietitians and diabetes educators to help our clients–young and old–develop and exercise self-control.

Unfortunately, many of us have equated ‘self-control’ with ‘deprivation’ and as dietitians and educators, we want our clients to understand that all foods can fit–in some quantity, at least–in their diets. So, where does self-control fit in?

Ironically, self-control can be a great tool in helping our clients understand their hunger, and make choices that lead to increased satisfaction–both during and after the meal. And mindfulness is the link between self-control and satisfaction. Here are a few ways mindfulness can help clients develop self-control and delay gratification, according to Megrette Fletcher, MEd, RD, CDE, author of Discover Mindful Eating and Discover Mindful Eating for Kids:

  • Mindfulness is about helping clients identify what they are feeling, and then applying a strategy to effectively deal with that sensation–also a basic component of self-control.
  • Delaying eating until a comfortable level of hunger is present –a key part of self-control–is not the same as restrictive eating. Mindfulness is a great tool to help understand the difference.
  • Mindfulness helps get at intention. This is not to be confused with goals. Intentions allow us to align our efforts with a bigger picture, making delaying gratification easier and more seamless.

Want to learn more? Join Megrette for her FREE CE teleseminar this month: Using Mindfulness to Increase Self-Control: Strategies to Help Adults and Kids Resist Temptation and Delay Gratification (1 CPEU / CEU)”. Megrette will lead you through two (FREE!) activities from her bestselling continuing education courses and books for dietitians and diabetes educators you can use with your clients to help them understand, strengthen and apply self-control–over the holidays and beyond!

Don’t miss out–register now!

Healthy Regards,

Sheila

A Delusional Dietitian’s Confessional

disease

I was smug. And kind of a nutrition know-it-all. That is, until age 31, when I started experiencing miserable back and neck pain that started pretty much of out of nowhere. This painful journey led me down an ultimately very rewarding path to understanding and applying concepts of functional and alternative medicine to improve my health.

Ironically, around the same time this was happening, I was in the process of starting Skelly Skills as a continuing education provider. I knew I wanted to focus on creating CE courses on emerging trends and hot topics in nutrition and dietetics to meet my mission of helping RDs have the most effective and fulfilling careers possible. Little did I know how that goal would ultimately change ME and my health. And also my know-it-all attitude.

I’m older, wiser and humbler now. Since those early days, I’ve conquered my back and neck pain (by studying and using trigger point therapy, combined with herbal supplements to improve circulation and reduce inflammation). I’ve completed food sensitivity training (LEAP) and am a certified LEAP therapist, (which I would encourage every RD to investigate). And, in the process of running Skelly Skills, I’ve increasingly oriented our focus toward helping dietitians understand and integrate functional nutrition principles into their own practices and philosophies.

In short, functional nutrition changed my approach to my own and my loved ones’ health. I’ve used it to treat longstanding sinus issues, uterine fibroids, chronic pain and more. Each time, I marveled at how limited and ineffectual the traditional Western approach to treating the symptoms is. Now, when presented with a health problem, I reflexively ask “What is the CAUSE of this, and how can I use my knowledge of functional nutrition concepts to address it?”

“Wounded healer” is the term that functional nutritionist Kathie Madonna Swift, MS, RDN, LDN, author of The Inside Tract, uses to describe someone who has experienced a personal health crisis, and through it emerges determined to help others heal using similar principles. That’s a great description of me, and many other RDNs who are increasingly discovering functional medicine to help treat their own health challenges, and then begin using it in their practices and with their clients.

So, welcome to my warrior’s fight: to bring the concepts of functional and integrative medicine through continuing education for dietitians and to unleash the tremendous healing power it can bring our clients. That’s why I’m especially excited about this month’s newest CE course! The Disease Delusion: Conquering the Causes of Chronic Illness for a Healthier, Longer and Happier Life (23 CPEU / CEU) is the best book I’ve read this year. Written by Dr. Jeffrey Bland­­, the ‘Father of Functional Medicine’, it will leave you hungry to apply its principles to your practice and your life. As Dr. Bland sums it up: “Disease care versus health care: which would you choose?”

“At last! A book that introduces and clearly explains functional medicine! It is well articulated and takes a very complex model and breaks it down so that we can see the big picture. It is exciting to see the critical role diet (and dietitians) has in improving common health complaints. The CPE program is now an essential quick reference in my practice.” – Renata Mangrum, RD, CLT, Kensington, MD.

This week we’re offering 25% off The Disease Delusion (23 CPEU / CEU) continuing education program. We encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity: you’ll be amazed at what you’ll discover­­ about health and your own preconceptions.

Healthy Regards,

Sheila