Confessions of a Registered Dietitian

An Interview with Robin Amylon

Robin Amylon has about four titles one can suffix to her name, and that's only a glimpse into her credentials. A Licensed, Registered Dietitian, she joined Cambridge Athletic Club in March in addition to her job as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach and Sports Dietitian at Boston University. Not one to sit still, Robin spends her spare hours performing with a contemporary dance company in Boston.


As we were sequestered to our homes just as she was hired, we sat down to chat with Robin so you can get a betteridea of who she is and the work she does as a Registered Dietitian.


Ground-level


AS: How did you get into this field? Have you always been passionate about nutrition and health?

RA: My passion for training and nutrition developed from my love for dance. I’ve always been active and have danced most of my life. In high school I started working with a personal trainer and I loved it. I’m very competitive and have always loved pushing myself. My first job related to the field was as a spinning instructor and a few years later I started personal training. Eventually I decided to get a degree in both Nutrition and Exercise Science. I really wanted to help others build a healthy relationship with food and exercise, and feel good about themselves.


People often use the terms nutritionist and dietitian interchangeably- can you shed some light on any differences there might be? Can you be both?

Anyone can call themselves a “nutritionist”. There are no education or licensing requirements to become a nutritionist. On the other hand, to be a registered dietitian, you need to receive a nutrition degree from an accredited program, complete an accredited internship program, pass the dietetic registration exam, obtain licensure in your state of practice, and maintain continuing education.


Nutrition in daily practice


Do you have a philosophy or mantra when it comes to healthy eating?

I firmly believe in a “food first” and “all foods fit” approach. I work with my clients to build a healthy meal plan that is adequate, consistent, balanced, flexible, variable, and includes moderation. Together we define goals that are realistic, achievable, and can be maintained long term. I live by the mantra “feed the machine”, focusing on fueling the body rather than depriving it.


What about life-wise? What’s your favorite quote?

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” -John Wooden


What’s your go-to for…

Breakfast- English muffin topped with peanut butter and banana

Lunch- A sandwich with cut up veggies and fruit on the side or leftovers

Dinner- Chicken or salmon with potatoes or rice and veggies

Snack- Trail mix or cheese and crackers

Drink- Water


Working with a Registered Dietitian


What are some of the most common nutritional mistakes you observe in your clients?

The most common mistake among my clients is under-fueling. They typically skip meals or don’t eat enough in general, following a meal plan that is too restrictive and can’t be maintained long term.


What can someone expect during a nutritional consultation with you?

During the consultation we will discuss what made the client seek nutritional help, what their goals are, and what they are looking for in a dietitian. We will briefly discuss possible changes that could be worked on if they decide to pursue nutrition counseling, as well as what the next steps would be to get started.


What’s the most ridiculous nutrition myth? The most dangerous?

There are a lot of ridiculous myths out there. Here’s my take on a few:

  • ”Carbohydrates are bad and will make you fat.”

This is NOT true. Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of energy and the main source of energy for the brain. They are not “bad” and should be included in a healthful meal plan. The quantity of carbohydrates will vary from person to person based on their activity level and personal goals, but they should not be restricted nor completely avoided.

  • “Fat is bad and will make you fat.”

Fat is also not bad. Actually, consuming a diet too low in fat can be harmful. Fat has many important functions in the body that help keep you healthy. Some of those functions include protection, insulation, cell and brain function, production of hormones such as estrogen and testosterone, and enhancing the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.

  • “I need to 'detox' to 'reset' my digestive system.”

"Cleansing", “juicing,” and “detoxing” don’t actually detox anything. There is no scientific evidence that indicates any of these “detox” diets actually neutralize or eliminate such toxins from the body at all. Your body is designed to remove toxins efficiently on its own. Why do you think we have kidneys, lungs, skin, a liver and a colon? They aren’t there just to fill up space in your body. Each of these organs work to remove waste and toxins from the body.


Never stop learning


What are your favored research resources? How do you keep up to date with your profession?

I am a member of organizations such as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition (SCAN), Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association (CPSDA), and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Through these organizations there are many opportunities for continuing education through conferences and webinars as well as access to a wide array of research articles and other resources.


Are there any podcasts, websites, books you would recommend for anyone interested in learning more about a healthy lifestyle?

There are a lot of great resources out there. When looking for information on nutrition I would strongly recommend finding materials that have been written by a registered dietitian. Below are a few of my go-to's:


Websites:

The Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association'

Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition, by Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Eat Right, by Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

National Strength and Conditioning Association


Books:

Sports Nutrition Guidebook by Nancy Clarke

The Healthy Former Athlete by Lauren Link


Confused about what a "healthy diet" even means? Want more tea spilled about detoxes and cleanses? Comment below any requests for future blogs by Robin. If you're interested in 1-on-1 nutritional consulting, you can reach out to her for a complimentary 30-minute consultation here. (We take most popular insurances!)

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