PROLOGUE: Although Amanda is from Australia, I recently had the pleasure of meeting her in person at the FNCE meeting in Nashville. I’ve enjoyed getting to know her and learning all about her career path and the creation of her product Portion Perfection. I hope you’ll enjoy our conversation….
MELISSA: Amanda, how did you become interested in a career in food and nutrition and what is your food/nutrition philosophy – what are you known for?
AMANDA: I’m known for practicality – explaining things in ways that make clients say “Oh now I get it” , using visual teaching tools and ensuring dietary strategies that they can live with.
MELISSA: What inspired you to create Portion Perfection?
AMANDA: I had noticed there was always a bit of a disconnect between the thought bubble above my head when I talked about portion size with clients and the image that appeared in their thought bubble. I realized I needed to show them what was in my head and give them a way of testing whether they were getting it right when they were at home. I created Portion Perfection as a visual tool to show clients how much to eat. Dietitians find it an easy way to communicate portion control messages which enables them to spend more time on the other strategies involved in making dietary change last.
MELISSA: Thanks Amanda – and for more information, people can tune into my podcast interview with you on Portion Perfection!
What types of food/nutrition communications are you engaged in?
AMANDA: Writing, consulting, social media and networking with US colleagues since expanding the availability of my teaching tools to US dietitians and residents.
MELISSA: What comes naturally for you and what does not when it comes to food/nutrition communications?
AMANDA: Developing explanations of concepts – usually written and visual tools. I developed an actual weight loss toolkit document listing every resource or teaching concept I have at my fingertips so when I’m talking to clients I have something easy to pull out that demonstrates a valuable and relevant point. This comes easier to me than speaking to groups but I do all that is required to get my message out.
MELISSA: Please share an experience that you think would help other RDs who want to improve their communication skills.
AMANDA: Many moons ago, Kathy King RD was a keynote speaker at the Australian Dietitian’s Conference in Brisbane. During her presentation she showed a slide which indicated how learning improved when visual tools were incorporated into the lesson. That clicked for me and that’s what has worked so well for me. I suggest that all dietitians look for ways to incorporate visual tools into their practice – they don’t have to develop them themselves, there are plenty of good photo based food tools and food models that convey clearer messages than our voice can describe.
MELISSA: Tell me about your recent travels!
AMANDA: I have developed a love of travel, and I’m especially in love with France. I have house swapped twice between my home in Australia and cities in France. In 2014 I had the opportunity to spend time sharing a home with a French couple with a large extended family over the holidays. We ate 3 course meals for lunch and dinner each day along with bread, cheese and wine. I lost weight during those days after having done a “tour de Patisserie” in Paris the previous week. Interestingly nobody ate anything between meals at the family home, we consumed 2 bottles of red wine between 14 adults each lunch and dinner and dessert was divine and small such as chocolate mousse in a shot glass with a sliver of pear. It made me realize amongst other things that in Australia we drink WAY TOO MUCH.
MELISSA: What kind of feedback are you receiving about Portion Perfection?
AMANDA: I attended Obesity Week in 2013 to sound out my US colleagues in obesity and bariatrics about whether my products were seen as useful to them. I received a resounding YES, so I spent 2014 working with some of those dietitians to Americanise the content. This culminated in the release of the International versions of two pictorial portion control books – 1 aimed at men, women and children and the other for those who have undergone bariatric surgery at FNCE and Obesity Week in 2014. Also in 2014 I had the great pleasure to attend the Nutrition Entrepreneurs networking event where I met some inspirational colleagues who have grown to be valuable friends. I’ll be returning to FNCE and Obesity Week this year, so I hope some of those people look me up again. I can be found here: LinkedIn, Website: www.portiondiet.com, or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
EPILOGUE: Thank you to Amanda for sharing her story, but most of all, for all of the outstanding work she’s doing in the field of nutrition! Tune into my podcast interview with Amanda to find out more about Portion Perfection!
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