Libby Parker Guest Speaker

Guest Speaker – Libby Parker

Recently, I was asked to speak at the San Francisco dance school “ODC” for the “Dancer’s Day of Health.”

This day was all about health information and free screenings for freelance professional dancers. We had medical doctors, mental health professionals, physical therapists, and of course – dietitians, all giving their time to screen and educate the dancers.

The panel I spoke on asked us each to briefly say what our role is on the dance medicine team. Here are my bullet points of what the Registered Dietitian does:

“The #1 goal of nutrition counseling is behavior change” – Herrin & Larkin

  • Registered Dietitians are specially trained to be the food & nutrition experts in helping you be healthy in general and for optimal performance.
  • RDs are the only nutrition professionals that can legally give individualized medical nutrition therapy – which means individualized plans for eating based on your medical issues, medications, and specific needs.
  • Look for RD or RDN initials (Anyone can claim to be a “nutritionist”).

We help dancers specifically:

  • with eating for bone health & density.
  • figure out what foods feel good in your body and give you enough energy to support your level of athleticism.
  • deal with digestive issues, food allergies, and disordered eating (my specialty).
  • determine if foods/nutrients will interact with medications or supplements (along with your doctor and pharmacist); or if you even need supplements (most people don’t, and food should be the first source whenever possible).
  • by being another set of eyes on your labs and other medical reports, making sure everything is looked at from a whole-person view.
  • by being a source of accountability with health/nutrition goals.
  • by disseminating the science nutrition and health trends so you know what is legit to follow (or not); and help you save $/time/frustration on products/programs that are not going to work.

When you work 1-on-one with a RD you are going to get help on eating for your individual lifestyle, medical needs, and your personal preferences. No generic meal plans, and any RD worth their salt will come from a place of “all foods fit” and “health at every size” meaning we can focus on health behaviors and risk factors without weight being the focus or “fix.”

Do you need a RD in your dance life?

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