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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. ( 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,


A Delusional Dietitian’s Confessional


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,


Helping Kids Problem-Solve

nutkidsThe school year is in full-swing right now, which means those of you with kids are dealing with homework, extracurriculars and…the hastily assembled meals and snacks that go along with it. You also may be seeing more clients asking for help keeping the family’s nutritional needs met despite hectic, on-the-go lifestyles.

As parents, we know a key element of keeping kids on track nutritionally is to involve them in the process–let them help with gardening, cooking and…how about doing some foraging for wild mushrooms while we’re at it? The truth is, no matter how much we may want to do these things with our kids, and how it might be possible over the summer or on the weekends, the truth is just getting through the school week without relying on take-out for every meal can be tough for some families. How, then, can we get our kids–or our clients’ kids–to help in the process of problem-solving our eating challenges?

Well, help is on the way! This week, we’re featuring one of my favorite CE courses by one of my favorite authors. Connie Evers, author of How to Teach Nutrition to Kids, is an immensely practical and experienced kid nutritionist, with a wealth of ideas to help your clients, or your own family, figure out how to feed ourselves better and solve some of our more vexing food selection and prep problems in the meantime. Here are a few of Connie’s suggestions from the How to Teach Nutrition to Kids book and course:

  • Create an Advisory Council to help critique the food environment and offer suggestions. Yes, kids are on the Advisory Council! Let them offer suggestions on how the kitchen could be stocked better with quick and easy foods they like. Teach kids how to pack nutritious snacks and lunches by themselves. Connie uses the example of the school lunchroom, but it can easily be adapted to a family setting
  • Use time with your kids (maybe in the car on the way to soccer practice) to play ‘What Would You Do?’ Connie provides loads of great scenarios around nutrition and meal planning to get kids, tweens and teens to solve some common problems they might encounter in everyday life. Or you can just make up your own, using your own family’s experiences. For example: “You have to rush to make it to soccer practice on time. You usually grab a can of chips but halfway through practice you say your stomach hurts. How could you solve this problem?”
  • Remember FIB! Fun, Interactive and Behavioral are the key words you need to remember when teaching nutrition to kids of all ages, according to Evers. Pick a food-related family challenge you have and then keep FIB in mind when asking your kids to help you solve it. For example, if your kids need to eat right at 6 to make their ballet class, but you don’t get home till 5:45, instead of grabbing take-out, make one night Kids Cooking Night and have your kids be in charge of dinner–FIB at its finest! Have them decide on a meal ahead of time that’s healthy and well-balanced and have the necessary ingredients on hand. (Note: this does not have to involve actually cooking–my kids make flatbread sandwiches with a raw veggie platter on their own and then I toast the sandwiches when they are done so everyone stays safe.)

Encourage experimentation with your clients and your own kids and remember that every challenge can be overcome. Here at Skelly Skills, we designed the CE course for How to Teach Nutrition to Kids to give you the opportunity to help your family or clients problem-solve using Connie’s techniques, ideas and strategies.  Check out her wonderful book for more activities, dialogue and suggestions and get 20 CPEUs for only $99.99! As you know, teaching kids to eat well is one of the best gifts you can give them. We are here to help you do this.

Healthy Regards,


Does Your Website Work for Your Nutrition Business?

webskillsIf you think your local nutrition consulting or private practice doesn’t need a website, think again: a full 51% of users searching for health information online searched specifically for information on diet, nutrition or nutritional supplements (Pew Internet Life, 2012). They’re looking for you, so make sure you’re online!

Here are three ways to make sure your website will bring you the clients you’re looking for:

1. Make sure your site is easy to navigate and user-friendly. Have all the information a potential client might be looking for, and make sure it is presented in a professional and credible way. In a recent Pew Internet study of consumers using websites for health-related information, far and away the top two reasons a user returned to a particular health site were because the ‘site was easy to use’ and ‘I trust the advice and information on the site’. To make sure your site is credible and easy-to-use, have at least five people in your target test it! Give them five tasks to complete, from finding a particular blog post, to learning about your services, to making an appointment with you. Another great way to learn how to make your website easier to is by subscribing to Jakob Nielson’s—the guru of web usability—free e-newsletter at

2. Make sure your website is optimized for use on a mobile device, as 51% of Americans now own a smartphone and, of those owners, over half have used their smartphone to look up health information (Pew Internet Life, 2013).

3. Take advantage of online search engine marketing (SEM) capabilities to drive visitors to it. This is how your clients will find you: 77% of online health seekers say they began their last session at a search engine such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo (Pew Internet Life, 2013). Since most of you will probably see clients in your geographic area, make sure your business is listed properly on Google Local, Yahoo! Local and MSN Local. It’s easy and free. Consider taking advantage of paid local SEM opportunities through these search engines as well—you can test it for just pennies a day and see the results immediately. It’s easy to tweak your campaigns and test new ones, too, based on the feedback you get.

Want to know more?  Earn 20 CPEUs and learn exactly how registered dietitians and CDEs can create and market a great website, and counsel clients online.   It doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming!

This step-by-step Continuing Education program gives you all the tips, tricks and secrets to making your website a magnet for the clients you’re looking for. And this week it’s 30% off! You can learn more/purchase this here.

Here’s what others are saying about Web Skills for Dietitians: A Guide to Creating and Marketing Your Website and Counseling Clients Online:

“It was easy to understand and actually the first information I have read on website building that was really interesting and applicable to my needs. To be honest, it was the first time I really enjoyed answering the questions at the end of a course.” Clara Iuliano, RD, LDN, Mohrsville, PA

“Excellent! I couldn’t put this book down. My website-building knowledge has soared. Now I am ready to build my website.” Gloria A. Petoskey, MS, RD, Detroit, MI.

“It was the best program I have done. It helped me create my website! Thanks for a really relevant, informative, up-to-date course!” Kristin Eising, RD, LD, Owner–Pomelo Wellness, Rochester, MN

And while you’re at it, sign up for our mailing list and get notified of other CE webinars and courses we offer for dietitians and nutrition entrepreneurs!

Healthy Regards,


Mindful Eating: Can it Change your Practice?

meToday I was reading one of our new continuing education courses on Mindful Eating by mindful eating expert Megrette Fletcher, MEd, RD, CDE. (It’s for kids and it’s coming out soon—stay tuned)! It was so gratifying. Rarely do I see approaches to combating obesity, improving diet quality and helping people truly enjoy their food that I feel are unique and groundbreaking. Mindful Eating is one such approach.

Skelly Skills (as you hopefully already know!) is always looking for new ways to help RDs and CDEs break out of the same-old and be more effective. When I first learned of Mindful Eating many years ago, I immediately wanted to learn more.

I met Megrette about eight years ago when she helped us out with a continuing education course we were working on. She’s an internationally-recognized mindful eating expert and a co-founder of The Center for Mindful Eating, in addition to being author and co-author of several bestselling books on mindful eating: Discover Mindful Eating, Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes, and—now—the forthcoming Discover Mindful Eating for Kids.

Why is Mindful Eating so powerful? Three things about it are most compelling for me:

  • It helps bring awareness to why our clients are eating. As we all know, it’s difficult to figure out sometimes!
  • It encourages curiosity, by helping clients explore what they are really hungry for (hint: often they will find it’s NOT food!), and discover, through this exploration, what food truly feels nourishing to them.
  • Finally, the non-judgment that is a hallmark of mindfulness can help free your clients from the endless guilt they feel over the food and eating choices they make. The journey is about learning and information, not judgment!

Sound interesting to you? You’re not alone. Mindful Eating is one of the most powerful “new” (but really quite ancient) tools around. See what it can do for your practice and your clients: Megrette’s easy-to-use intro webinar series to mindful eating will give you all the information you need to get started (and 8 CPEU/CEUs to boot)! And this week it’s 50% off! You can learn more/purchase here.

Here’s what others are saying about Megrette’s Mindful Eating webinar series:

“I feel that this webinar series has provided tools and resources to help my patients as well as myself pause and notice the feelings we encounter on a daily basis. I truly felt connected to Ms. Fletcher and the principles of Mindful Eating. This series has given me a new, refreshing way to teach the most challenging patients. Even in the most extremely difficult patients, I think it is worth mentioning mindful eating and how it can help us make better choices, and feel OK if we didn’t.” Elizabeth Marques, RD, Tampa, FL

And while you’re at it, sign up for our mailing list and get notified of other FREE CE mindful eating events we offer!

Get Your Entrepreneur On!

neI always find that fall gets my creative juices flowing. I think back over the summer, the occasional hour spent at the pool and the long, lazy beach days. I spent those days reading (currently working my way through Unbroken— I highly recommend but that’s another whole blog!) and taking the much needed downtime to then do… creative uptime. So, how does this relate to continuing education? Well, I actually spend quite a bit of time talking to a lot of you—on the phone, via email and so forth. There’s a theme that emerges, and that is one of transition. You’re either getting back to work after having kids, beginning to think about going out on your own after working for someone else for a few years, or even writing a book or doing other nutrition communications work. Many of you have already started counseling practices of your own part-time. I think this is awesome. And if you called me up, I would tell you this in person, too! Working on making your career as fulfilling as possible is SO important—after all, we spend most of our life at work! Here at Skelly Skills we love feeling like we might be maybe the teensiest part of making that happen for you.

Which brings me back to those creative juices…

Now that it’s fall and kids are in school, maybe you find yourself with a little more free time, a reduced patient/client load or even a weekend getaway. I would encourage you to make the most of it by thinking creatively about what you want for your professional life. If that includes entrepreneurial plans—and for many of you I know it does—part of this thinking includes doing some assessment of your personality and skills. Having recently launched the new edition of The Nutrition Entrepreneur: How to Start and Grow a Great Business (25 CPEUs), we spent a lot of time culling research on successful entrepreneurs—both RD and non-RD. It was fascinating and so much fun! We are offering the e-book version of this classic bestseller 50% off (save 60$!) through September 21st as our Deal of the Day.

Finally, some of you may have joined me for the free webinar on “Secrets of Successful Entrepreneurs”, but if you didn’t, I’d encourage you to listen to it as part of your thinking about entrepreneurial endeavors that may lie ahead for you.

“The presenter was great. I liked her examples. She was very motivating and it has made me want to expand my practice. Thank you!” V.S., MS, RDN, LDN, CDE, CLT

Awww, thank YOU! 🙂 I hope all of you find it as helpful. Click here to listen to the webinar.

Check out all the resources mentioned above for fabulous profiles of the dynamic and successful RD entrepreneurs that make us all so proud! And remember: go for your goal!

Empower Your Diabetes Education

lifewithAs many of you know, here at Skelly Skills we spend a lot of time focusing on empowerment. (Fun fact: the raised ‘e’ in the ‘Skelly’ of our logo is meant to convey ‘empowerment’. No, really.) In any event, we love to empower RDs, CDEs and other health professionals: to feel more confident in their professional lives, to develop the skills they need to be effective and competitive, and to create fulfilling careers for themselves.

That’s why when we found Marti Funnell’s work we were so excited. As an award-winning author and diabetes educator, she focuses on how diabetes educators can empower their clients. As author of the bestselling The Art of Empowerment (30 CPEU/CEU) and now the brand-new (Fifth Edition) of Life with Diabetes: A Series of Teaching Outlines (42 CPEU/CEU), she continually brings her empowerment approach to the resources she creates for all of us.

That’s one reason why I’m so thrilled Marti will be joining us this month for a free CE teleseminar on how to be a more effective diabetes educator. Drawing upon her own research and experience, and using some of the principles from Life with Diabetes: A Series of Teaching Outlines (5th Ed) (42 CPEU/CEU), she will be focusing on how to empower your clients with diabetes through practical teaching approaches.

Empowerment sounds a lot easier than it actually is. It centers upon the key recognition that we are lifeguards not swim coaches and that our clients are already motivated—we can’t motivate them. Marti’s CE teleseminar will review three keys to remember when helping your clients manage their diabetes:

  1. Make it about them. You can do this by using the word ‘you’ in questions you ask the class. Example: “Does using the Plate Method appeal to you?”
  2. Seize opportunities to have your patients problem-solve. Example: Have your clients choose and commit to performing a diabetes-related ‘experiment’ over the upcoming week.
  3. Use a variety of educational techniques. The Life with Diabetes book makes it easy—it contains ready-to-copy handouts and visuals, plus activity ideas and dialogue you can use to stimulate group discussion.

We hope you can join us for the FREE CE teleseminar with Marti on Wed, Sept 24th at 1 PM EST—you can register here:

You can also get 30% OFF Life with Diabetes: A Series of Teaching Outlines (42 CPEU/CEU) now through Friday, Sept 12 using code DIABETES30 at checkout. Don’t miss it!

“This program was unique compared to other self-study material I’ve completed. It is a real-world teaching curriculum, with supporting materials. I learned a lot from the sample questions and activities throughout the outlines. I found this resource to be valuable in making my education program more effective. Excellent job!” Dessa Hartz, RD, Havertown, PA

Get your copy today with 42 CPEUs at 30% off!

FREE stuff you can actually use!

25OK, now I have your attention. Here at Skelly Skills, that’s our goal: giving you stuff you can use right now! Boring words like practical, relevant and useful are what make our hearts soar (it doesn’t make for great cocktail party conversation but you can’t have everything). Every month, we try to give away something that’s helpful for your practice and makes your life as a health professional easier and more effective. Which brings me to this month…We’re giving away our ebook 25 Easy and Effective Nutrition Education Activities (and exactly how to do them) —a $20 value—absolutely free! This ebook contains 25 completely turnkey, handout-ready activities you can use with your clients and classes! Topics from label-reading, restaurant menus, behavior change goal-setting, exercise planning and meal planning are covered. They can be used for a range of conditions: weight control, diabetes education, hypertension, cardiac rehab, and much more.

We were inspired to create this collection based on your feedback; our CE course Beyond Lecturing: Effectively Educating Adults for Nutrition Behavior Change (14 CPEUs) got such great feedback for all its practical advice, easy activities and real-life case studies.

“It was a great course! I especially liked the practical application and ideas. I’ll definitely refer to this book for future classes. Thanks!” Elizabeth Hoelscher, RD, Oak Park Heights, MN

So, we figured more would be better! And now we’ve gotten 25 times better! 🙂

Want to use them for your next class or counseling session? Click here to download the FREE PDF.

Need some CEUs and want to improve your communication and education skills to promote behavior change? Here are some suggestions:

Lead to Succeed: Leading Groups to Behavior Change for Weight Loss and Diabetes (14 CPEUs)

50 Top Tools for Coaching (20 CPEUs)

Beyond Lecturing: Effectively Educating Adults for Nutrition Behavior Change (14 CPEUs)

As always, we want your feedback! Please let us know if the activities were helpful and what other resources your practice needs!

Micro-what? A Dietitian’s Lesson in Microperforation

microperforation for spinachMicro-what?

My husband brought our CSA weekly share home last night, and it looked delicious. He had barely set it down on the counter when I immediately removed the spinach, placed it in a plastic bag, sealed it and grabbed a large fork. To my husband’s shock, I started punching holes in the bag. “What are you doing?” he asked in horror. “Microperforation!” I answered.

One of the many benefits of running Skelly Skills is that I’m always learning. As dietitians, we’re so lucky to continually advance our practice through new and fascinating knowledge and skills. The best part? We get to help not only our clients, BUT also our family and friends, be healthier. Eating on the Wild Side (29 CPEUs) is a perfect example of why I love creating continuing education courses for dietitians. Not only is it one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a long time but, best of all, I get to use the information in it on a daily basis!

Ok, back to microperforation: Eating on the Wild Side author Jo Robinson (@eatwild) discusses this fascinating topic in her book  (and FREE teleseminar interview she did with us). Basically, all plants need to breathe—they respire, just like we do. And green leafy veggies have one of the highest respiration rates of all plants. This means they lose their phytonutrient content quickly. The good news? By placing vegetables like spinach and other greens into a sealed bag and placing 10-12 small holes in it (hence the term microperforation), we allow the greens to respire, which helps maintain their phytonutrient content (and flavor!) longer. This is music to my salad-loving ears!

Other gems I’ve learned from Jo? ‘Press, then rest’: the cancer-fighting compound in garlic—allicin—is formed when the garlic is chopped or chewed. By pressing your garlic and then letting it rest for 10 minutes before cooking, you ensure increased allicin formation. Now that our garden is overflowing with basil and we are making pesto several times a week, I find myself using this rule almost daily.

“Wow…I learned so, so much from this book! All the material is useable and shareable with my patients. I love that I can get CEU’s for reading a great book! I continue to use this book as a reference at least weekly…and suspect it will be one of my favorite “go to” books for months to come.” Melinda Lund, RD, Billings, MO

Learn the secrets to choosing the most nutritious varieties of fruits and veggies, how to store and prepare them to maximize phytonutrient content, how to use ‘botanical sunscreen’ to your advantage and much more in Jo’s fascinating book, and get 29 CPEUs to boot! Learn more and order here.

Get more FREE tips from Jo by listening to her teleseminar interview.