This week’s Dietitian Spotlight is on a great old friend of mine, Lisa Lang RDN, LD. We graduated from The Ohio State University together in 2009 AND got into the same internship program at Mount Carmel College of Nursing in Columbus, OH.
Lisa, what got you interested in the field of nutrition?
I grew up as an extremely picky eater. As a child, the thought of nutrition never entered my mind. As I became older, I realized I had missed out on a variety of foods, flavors and nutrients that directly affected my health. Science had always been my best subject throughout school and I knew healthcare was a viable career field to enter into after college. My career research led me to the perfect fit of becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.
What is your favorite part of going to work every day?
In the long-term care setting, most of the residents are there for the remainder of their lives or for an extended amount of time in order to reach their prior level of functioning. In the hospital setting, the average length of stay is 4.8 days. Dietitians may provide diet education or nutrition intervention in the hospital or acute care setting, but many times, the patient leaves and the outcome of your interventions are never known. My favorite part of my day is going to work and seeing if my nutritional interventions are working, and if not, the chance to try again to be successful.
What is the biggest challenge of being a dietitian in your field?
The biggest challenge of being a dietitian in my field is ensuring all state and federal standards of the Department of Health are met not only in the resident care setting, but the dietary setting as well. Documentation is large part of having a successful career in the long-term care setting.
Do you follow any certain diet?
I do not follow a particular diet per se, however the Michael Pollan book, “Food Rules”, captures a Chinese proverb that made sense to me and described how I felt was the best way for myself to eat: “Eating what stands on one leg (mushrooms and plant foods) is better than eating what stands on two legs (fowl), which is better than what stands on four legs (cows, pigs and other mammals.)” I try to keep majority of my diet plant based and as natural as possible.
What is one food you couldn’t live without?
The one food I could not live without would be cheese. There are so many kinds of cheese that add different flavors, texture and nutrients to foods. Whether eaten by itself or used as a small component of a dish, many dishes would not be the same without cheese.
What is the top tip you give your patients?
Most of my patients who are looking for my expertise are usually looking to lose weight to improve their health to make their rehabilitation more successful. The top tip I give them is to set obtainable goals. You cannot overhaul your diet all at once and expect to have sustainable change. When you set one, realistic goal at a time, you give yourself time train your body to pick up healthier habits to produce positive, sustainable change.
What is your favorite place to go or thing to do in your city?
My city is Columbus, Ohio. My favorite thing to do in my city is attend sporting events of any of the many sports teams that reside in Columbus. Sporting events are always the perfect reason to get family and friends together.
What advice would you give someone interested in a career in the nutrition field?
My advice would be to job shadow, observe, and work in the field of nutrition you want to pursue. You may feel that one a particular field is right for you; however, the day-to-day tasks and duties may not be what you had expected.
If you have any questions for Lisa, she can be contacted at: email@example.com.
Thank you Lisa for being a part of my Dietitian Spotlight Series and sharing your experience in the long-term care field!