Frequently Asked Questions
Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) are considered experts in the field of nutrition, trained in food and nutrition sciences, including biochemistry, physiology, microbiology and anatomy. They have completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university followed by a supervised practice program with 1000+ hours in hospitals and community agencies. They must pass a national examination and regularly complete continuing professional education requirements to maintain their registration.
Yes. Registered Dietitians (RDs) and Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) must meet academic and professional requirements set by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. As noted above, this includes a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, completion of a supervised practice program, passing a national examination and completing continuing education credits to maintain registration.
The term “nutritionist” is not regulated so anyone may use that title regardless of their knowledge and experience in the field.
Weight-inclusive care emphasizes non-weight markers of health and well-being and doesn’t use body weight as the focal point of treatment or intervention. It seeks to reduce weight stigma and normalize both a range of body shapes and sizes as well as paths to health other than weight loss.
Intuitive Eating is an evidence-based, flexible, non-diet, mind-body approach to eating and movement that takes into account your physical, mental, and emotional health. There are 10 guiding principles that help you become attuned to your body’s hunger, fullness, and satisfaction cues, while helping you move away from rigid, problematic rules and beliefs about food and your body. You can learn more about Intuitive Eating at intuitiveeating.org.
Health at Every Size® (HAES®), trademarked and defined by the Association for Size Diversity and Health, is an approach to practicing healthcare that does not stigmatize or make assumptions about an individual based on their weight and shape. The framework is an alternative to a weight-centric approach in which weight is an important (often the most important) marker of health. The HAES® principles promote health equity, support ending weight discrimination, and improve access to quality healthcare regardless of size. It supports people of all sizes in adopting healthy behaviors. For additional information, visit the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH).
In short (jk, not really): I do not believe that weight is a true measure of health. I believe that all bodies have the potential to be healthy by incorporating health-promoting behaviors, regardless of shape or size. I believe that much of what we think we know from weight science/research is flawed based on the inability to account for the impacts of weight stigma, weight cycling and a lack of long-term studies. And I believe that the stigmatization people in larger bodies face, and the weight cycling they endure, create negative health outcomes.
Practicing as a non-diet dietitian means that I do not prescribe weight loss diets, or encourage weight loss to be the primary focus of our work together. Instead, I will encourage you to focus on health-promoting behaviors and habits, letting weight settle where it will naturally fall.
That being said, please know that I understand and honor your desire to lose weight. It is almost impossible to live in our society and not constantly hear the messages of diet culture or the “thin ideal” and watch how people are rewarded for living in smaller bodies. Many of my clients come to me with some degree of body dissatisfaction and a belief that weight loss will improve their health condition and/or life.
But I want you to know, all bodies are good bodies. Your body deserves respect and care, regardless of what size it is. And while I will hold space for your desire to lose weight and help you to unpack the beliefs and feelings that drive it, I hope it’s something we can work to put on the back-burner so we can focus on your wellbeing through health-promoting and sustainable behaviors and gentle nutrition.
This is one of the biggest fears I find with my clients. They believe they will never be able to stop eating certain foods that are forbidden, foods they don’t trust themselves around or may even consider addictive. Or they feel that they will never make “healthy” choices, rather they will routinely opt for foods they consider to be “bad” for them. This process looks a bit different for everyone; however, once clients are able to fully embrace all the principles of Intuitive Eating, they will begin to trust themselves around all foods and will eventually find themselves making choices that feel good for their mind and body.
Yes. While I do not work directly with weight loss goals, I will meet you wherever you are in this journey. However, it will be challenging to really get in touch with your body’s cues around hunger, fullness and satisfaction, as well as break the restrict/binge cycle, if you can’t put the weight loss goal aside during our work together. Many clients come to me not ready to give up on their ultimate goal of weight loss but through our work together are able to recognize how this pursuit is keeping them stuck in an ongoing diet cycle.
Who I Work With
Weight-inclusive care for PCOS uses a non-diet approach to manage symptoms of PCOS through nutrition and lifestyle, free of restriction or a focus on weight loss. Many of my clients have been told, whether through internet research, other dietitians or even their doctors, that weight loss is the solution to PCOS. However, we know that diets do not work long-term for the vast majority of people and that the weight cycling that ensues can be detrimental. By focusing on what we can include in the diet to improve symptoms as well as lifestyle modifications and key supplements (when appropriate), PCOS can be successfully and sustainably managed, health and wellbeing improved, and risk-factors for comorbidities reduced.
Yes! While specializing in those areas, I am able to work with clients facing other chronic illnesses as well. As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I have been trained in a wide array of illnesses that can be addressed with medical nutrition therapy including cardiovascular health, cancer, diabetes, liver and kidney disease, gallbladder and pancreatic issues, food allergies and intolerances, to name a few. I also work with clients looking to ensure proper nutrition for the prevention of chronic illness. Based on your needs and lifestyle, this could be related to: wanting to learn how to eat for optimal health; how to make better choices while dining out or traveling; meal planning, or simply finding solutions to the barriers preventing you from eating in the way that will optimize your health.
Please feel free to contact me or schedule a 15 minute consultation so that we can discuss further. Eating disorders, disordered eating, and relationship to body and food all occur on a spectrum, so we can discuss to figure out where you fall on this spectrum. If I believe another clinician would be appropriate, I will do my best to provide a referral to a dietitian who may better suit your stage of recovery.
Through telehealth, it is possible to see clients outside of NJ but please contact me prior to scheduling an initial consultation to determine if I can work with you. This will be determined based on the state in which you are residing as some require me to be licensed within that state and others do not.
I primarily work with clients 18 and older. However, I am willing to accept younger clients on a case-by-case basis depending on their needs and whether I feel I am good fit for them.
After scheduling your appointment, you will receive an email with instructions to complete several online intake forms through the patient portal. These should be completed at least 48 hours before your appointment so that I will have adequate time to prepare and review. You should also collect any information you believe to be relevant, such as notes or reports from doctor’s visits, recent diagnostic or lab test results and a list of medications and supplements you are taking.
Both the frequency and number of follow up appointments will vary based on your needs and treatment plan. This will be discussed toward the end of our initial consultation. Many clients schedule appointments every 1-2 weeks to start and then as time goes on may need to be seen less frequently. Regular follow-up appointments allow us to check in on progress and revise treatment plans when necessary. For hormone health issues, 3-6 months with decreased frequency between visits may be ideal as it can take time for hormones to regulate enough to see changes. If you have questions regarding the number of follow-up appointments, feel free to schedule a 15 minute complimentary phone call to discuss.
Though it’s a frequently requested item, I do not typically create meal plans for clients. Why? They often don’t help! This is for several reasons. First, a more beneficial and sustainable approach is to work WITH you in session to identify strategies for meal planning on your own. Second, I believe that a meal plan I create can act as an external set of instructions on how to eat, making you lose connection with yourself and your body. As your dietitian, I’d prefer to support you by providing guidance and tools around food so that you will feel more empowered to make the food choices that are right for you.
Of course, in some situations, clients find a customized meal plan created for them to be a useful tool to provide structure in getting started on a path to optimal health. In these cases, I am happy to help. (Note that because insurance does not reimburse for time spent creating meal plans this must be an additional, out of pocket expense unless it is done during our session.)
I use telehealth to meet with clients remotely via a secure, HIPAA compliant platform. We will connect through a video call and you simply need to click a link sent to you when it’s time for our session. You can connect using a computer, phone, or tablet.
In many situations, a referral is not required to be seen or to bill insurance. However, there are a few special circumstances for which a referral – or at least some form of documentation – will be required.
Aetna requires all dietitians have a referral on file in order to receive reimbursement for services. This is regardless of whether your plan requires a referral. When your plan does not require one, I do not submit it to insurance, but I still must have one on file per my contract with Aetna.
For all insurance providers/plans, when filing a claim for medical benefits (rather than preventative benefits), I am required to have some form of documentation indicating the ICD-10 medical diagnosis code. Since it is out of my scope of practice to diagnose medical conditions, this must be provided by your physician. It does not always have to be a referral but could be chart notes or some other form of documentation that lists the code(s). This will be specific to you and your goals for our work together so feel free to reach out by phone or email so that we can identify what will be required for reimbursement.
If you know that your plan requires a referral or you meet the criteria above, please reach out to your physician and request that a referral and/or chart notes be faxed to my office at 855-615-2920. If they ask for my NPI number, it is: 1013514918.