5 Steps for Branding Yourself as a Nutrition Expert

Build credibility of the dietitian brand by becoming an expert in your field.

Build credibility of the dietitian brand by becoming an expert in your field. Photo Credit: Flickr

You can also view this article on the Food & Nutrition Magazine blog, Stone Soup.

 

As registered dietitians, we should be seen as the go-to resource for nutrition information. Unfortunately, misinformation about diet and food runs rampant on social media and the Internet, many times promoted by self-professed experts with little to no schooling or training about dietetics.

What can we do about this information gap? By making an effort to brand ourselves as nutrition experts we will increase awareness of the profession and instill credibility in our skills.

We are exposed to brands every day. Whether on TV, billboards, magazines, food packaging, or storefronts, brands identify the product or service of a “seller” and serve to differentiate them from others. While branding on the business level is common, it’s becoming just as important on a personal level, especially when it comes to being recognized as an expert in a field of work.

While branding sounds like it should come naturally, it does take effort. Here are five steps to brand yourself as a nutrition expert:

1. Be Up-to-Date on the Latest Research

Research is continually evolving and it’s our job not only to be aware of new findings, but also to be open to new approaches to diet and lifestyle. More importantly, we must be able to translate new findings into appropriate recommendations for the public. Subscribing to scientific journal newsletters, building relationships with researchers personally or through social media (such as following them on Twitter), or attending nutrition conferences are ways to stay up-to-date on the latest science.

2. Align with Other Professionals in Respected Organizations

It’s not enough just to be a member of professional organizations to build the credibility of your brand — you need to make the next step. Take on a leadership position, commit to attending meetings or mentor other members. A major part of your brand is the people you surround yourself with. Getting involved with your state or district Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics section is an easy way to link arms with like-minded nutrition professionals.

3. Invest in Continued Education

To truly be an expert in your field, you must be willing to continually learn. Make it a priority to attend conferences (such as the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo), listen to webinars and read books about your profession. Equally as important to gaining new knowledge is strengthening basic skills such as writing, public speaking and social skills. If you feel that you lack these skills or they are weak, take a class at a local community college or join an organization such as Toastmasters (a public speaking organization) to sharpen your skills. Knowledge is power for building your brand as an expert in the field of nutrition.

4. Be Present on Social Media

Being present on social media is essential for building your brand. It’s important to respond to messages and requests because they may open the door to new opportunities for growth and development. To be an expert, you must be connected with your community and accessible to those who need your guidance. In addition to a presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, create a “resume webpage” where your credentials and accomplishments can be shared.

5. Find a Mentor

Finding a mentor to impart knowledge and provide guidance can help you make choices that are true to your brand. Reach out to someone you respect and actually ask them to be your mentor (rather than just calling on them when you have questions). Set up reoccurring meetings and come prepared with discussion topics. Advice from someone who is knowledgeable about your career field is invaluable when developing your brand.

The question is no longer if you have a personal brand, but whether you will choose to guide and cultivate the brand or to let it be defined on your behalf by someone else. Start building your brand as a nutrition expert today and be an influential player in the future of the field of dietetics.

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A Nutritionist’s Workout Routine

HIIT

When it comes to staying fit and healthy, I’m all about quick, high-intensity workouts. You will never find me at the gym casually strolling on an elliptical for 60 minutes. Not only is that boring, it’s neither efficient nor effective for burning fat or stimulating muscle growth.

Instead, I am a huge fan of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which involves quick bursts of energy expenditure (30 seconds to 2 minutes) followed by a rest period (30 seconds to 1 minute). The high intensity intervals get you sweating and your heart pumping in a short amount of time. That’s the best part–there’s no need for a 60 minute workout. For example, instead of going on a 4 mile run, I’d rather jog over to the park and do 10 sprints up the hill followed by a cool down. In just 30 minutes of HIIT, I feel accomplished and satisfied.

There’s a lot of research supporting HIIT for weight loss. In a recent study with over 4,000 subjects, researchers found that intensity of a workout mattered more than how long they exercised. Those who worked out at a higher intensity had a lower risk of obesity whether it was performed in sessions shorter or longer than 10 minutes.

Many of the latest workout videos are based on HIIT (think P90X or Insanity). While I enjoy going to the gym, there are hectic days when I can’t even afford the 10 minute drive and, instead, a quick video workout gets the job done. I personally like the Insanity DVDs. In fact, when I traveled for a work conference last month, I took the DVDs along with me and did the workouts in my hotel room.

Another great resource for workout routines can be found in health and wellness magazines (Women’s Health, Shape, etc). I actually keep a folder of tear-outs from magazines and randomly choose one to do at the gym–or for a morning workout, in my living room. These routines usually offer exercises that I have never tried before so I end up working new muscles and always feel it the next day.

For me, working out is more than just about staying in shape–it’s a stress reliever. For that reason, I also enjoy walking my dog or doing yoga, activities where you can let your mind relax. For a fantastic resource, try doyogawithme.com where you can watch free yoga and pilates videos. (I really enjoy the teacher Kim Wilson because most of her classes are around 20 minutes.)

Overall, I don’t stress about how long I workout. I focus more on how it makes me feel. My goal is 3, 3, 1–three days of cardio (running/spin class), three days of resistance training (weights at the gym), and one day of balance (yoga/pilates) per week. Many times those workouts mix together, say if I take my dog for a run and then do 15 minutes of yoga.

So, what’s the best workout? Whatever makes you feel refreshed, confident, and accomplished.

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