Mary Koch: Thank you, Fallon for 25 years
I spend a good part of my job meeting with people who are interested in discussing their nutritional health and looking to make changes. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about nutrition but I have also gotten to know more about people in general. Today I’d like to share with you some of those things as they relate to helping people make changes to improve their health.
First, it’s not my place to tell anyone what they need to do. I think of it as if someone showed up in the morning and instructed me on what I need to wear to work. That’s none of their business, after all. What people chose to eat, or not eat, is very personal. My role is to learn more about them and their concerns.
Second, I’m not judging anyone’s habits. When I’m asking questions it’s to get to know them, not to pass judgment. Before my appointments, I’ve gathered medical information from their health history, labs and doctor’s notes. This helps me prepare and be ready so I don’t have to spend time having people repeat themselves.
Third, I’m not necessarily looking for things to be removed. Personally, I like to focus on habits and behaviors that people are already engaged in and reinforce those. It’s easier to support and build on things that already exist.
Fourth, I provide education on topics to support the reasons they came to see me in the first place. I keep in mind the reason for their referral but always ask their specific goals. They may have something totally different they want to learn about that may not be what their doctor wrote the referral for. I want everyone to become the healthiest versions of themselves they can be.
Finally, I help people set goals that are reasonable and achievable. I don’t want them to feel so overwhelmed that they throw in the towel the second their feet hit the pavement. The fact that they’re willing to come talk to me is a big step toward making good changes that will become habits over time.
On this final note, I want to announce that this will be the final Eating Smart I will write for the LVN. I started writing September 1993 and have enjoyed the opportunity to write for over 25 years. I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read my articles. I want to especially thank the LVN editors who continued to support me and everyone who I’ve run into personally who have expressed enjoying what I’ve written. I will forever be grateful for this. Thank you, Fallon!
Mary Koch is a Registered Dietitian at Banner Churchill Community Hospital and the VA Lahontan Valley Outpatient Clinic. Send your nutrition questions to Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org.