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Welcome back to BeREAL! This week, Diana and Ednesha are joined by Vanessa Rissetto, a dietitian here to discuss holistic nutrition coaching and diet culture.
Vanessa received her MS in Marketing at NYU and completed her Dietetic Internship at Mount Sinai Hospital where she worked as a Senior Dietitian for five years. She is certified in Adult Weight Management (Levels I & II) by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Her work in private practice also includes treatment of GI disorders, bariatric surgery, weight management, PCOS, and family nutrition. She is mostly interested in helping clients to take an active role in their health journey, any of her clients can tell you she motivates and ensures that they always achieve success. Vanessa was named by Essence magazine as one of the top 5 black nutritionists that will change the way you think about food and currently serves as the Dietetic Internship Director at New York University.
Vanessa begins the episode by explaining what a dietitian does and how one becomes a dietitian. She stresses how different the job is from a nutritionist. She has gone to through copious amounts of schooling and and training and is hold a degree instead of a certificate (like nutritionists do). Ednesha adds to the conversation by discussing her own experience with a nutritionist (again, not the same as a dietitian). Ednesha describes herself as a fad dieter, and in her work with a dietitian, she was asked to grade her diet each week. Vanessa disagrees with practices like this because it makes people feel guilty for going out and having a good time with friends. And, she adds, it’s a practice made by thin white women to dictate how everyone else eats.
Vanessa continues by emphasizing how she doesn’t want her clients to be extremely hung up on what they’re eating that it takes away from their social lives. More importantly, being an obsessive dieter can make you a burden to those around you. Vanessa is especially concerned about how guilt will manifest after COVID and people start going out to eat more. A sudden change in eating habits can create guilt and unhealthy habits, especially in a social setting.
Vanessa finishes off the episode by outlining what a consultation with a dietitian looks like. She goes over the initial session, what homework clients can expect, and how clients can expect their relationship with food and their dietitian to change over time. Lastly, she addresses the importance of making healthy eating available to all socioeconomic classes. Right now, the dietitian field is very elitist and promotes food lifestyles that not everyone can afford. Through her work she looks to make holistic nutrition coaching available to all people.
Thank you for tuning into BeREAL this week! Be on the lookout for an all new episode next Tuesday. In the meantime, make sure to check out last week’s episode with Kasey Compton about entrepreneurial confidence.
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