PROLOGUE: When I created my Guilt-Free RD® name and tagline, and started sharing my philosophy, I received overwhelmingly positive feedback from other RDs and I knew I’d struck a cord with like-minded dietitians. That sparked an idea for a new way to interview, share and promote dietitians, their brands and their services. My traditional dietitian interviews are longer and more focused on sharing communications tips and tricks as well as the interviewee’s career journey. In contrast, these interviews will be shorter and more focused on the RD’s food philosophy. I hope you enjoy them and will contact me to share YOUR food philosophy!

Joanne Perez MS, RDN, LD

MELISSA: What is your food philosophy and why?

JOANNE: I am a big believer that my job as an RD is to help people achieve a healthy and happy relationship with ALL foods. I don’t believe in diets, bad or good foods or trying to fight your body’s natural weight. But I do believe and try to get people to believe the following:
•    Diet doesn’t mean starvation, misery or temporary. It actually means the kinds of food you eat regularly.
•    A diet doesn’t work, but a healthy lifestyle does.
•    Unless you have a medical condition that limits a certain food, ALL foods (in moderation) can fit into “your” daily diet.
•    Skinny is not what you are, but how you feel. Everyone has a happy & healthy “skinny.”
•    Knowledge allows you to be in charge of your actions.
•    There is a huge difference between proven and implied facts.
•    Eating is something that should be enjoyed, not feared.
As a society, we spend too much time and energy looking for a magic formula that will keep us healthy, and for me moderation, balance, variety and enjoyment are the keys to good health.

MELISSA: Tell us a little more about you and your brand.

JOANNE: I became a dietitian in order to heal what I would consider my own unhealthy relationship with food and exercise (yes, I am one of those crazy long distance runners). I never thought it would give me the opportunity to be an Army officer, manage university food services, work in computer software development, counsel NCAA athletes or oversee the feeding of people from over 100 different countries. Since I have always loved writing and public speaking, I decided to start Real Bite Nutrition and teach people that eating in the real world is about moderation, variety, balance and fun, and that life is too short to not take a real bite. Also, I want to be instrumental in changing the definitions of diet and skinny.

MELISSA: What are your services?

JOANNE: I offer virtual nutrition services (mainly weight management & learning healthy eating), a “Text the RD” program, recipe modification & development, article writing and nutrition speaking.

MELISSA: Where can we find you and follow you online?

Twitter: @realbiteRD

MELISSA: Do you have any resources and/or advice for other RDs to build their brand, boost their communication skills, start their own biz, etc?

JOANNE: Be versatile and think outside the box. When I was deciding on my Master’s degree, I knew I wanted something different so I went for an MS in management with concentrations in marketing and information technology. This gave me the opportunity to network with and learn from people outside of our field. Also, be willing to put yourself out there. You can’t wait for an opportunity, you have to make your own.

EPILOGUE: Thank you to Joanne for sharing her food philosophy, brand and services with us! I hope you have been inspired!

Like what you read here? Hear what other nutrition experts have to say about careers, communication and chasing their dreams. Visit the Directory of Dietitian Interviews and be inspired!

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