March is National Nutrition Month® which is an annual campaign from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to invite people to “learn about making informed food choices and developing healthful eating and physical activity habits.” In celebration, we sat down to talk with Sabrina Goshen, MS, RD, LD, a registered dietitian from Hancock Wellness Center in Greenfield to talk about her profession and how anyone can make balanced nutrition a priority.
Starting out in the field of nutrition
Goshen started out in college studying pre-med, where she took her first nutrition class taught by a dietitian. “At the time, I was doing weight sports and got really bad guidance from coaches about how to cut weight,” said Goshen. “It ruined my performance and can make it really easy to fall into disordered eating patterns or experience body dysmorphia.”
The dietitian leading the nutrition class took Goshen under her wing to teach her proper ways to fuel herself — without starving. As she saw the results of taking this dietitian’s advice and “doing it right” she knew she wanted to learn more. “I started to fall in love with it and just thought, ‘I see this a lot in former teammates, peers, other women.’” said Goshen. “So I switched my major that semester to dietetics.”
Working at the Hancock Wellness Center
When Goshen chose to start working as one of three registered dietitians at Hancock Wellness Center, their innovation in preventative care was a huge motivating factor. “It’s not just nutrition, it’s not just exercise,” she said. “You have all these degreed medical professionals putting their minds together to help the clients and I wanted to be a part of that.”
Our three Hancock Wellness locations are also the only medical fitness facilities in the region certified by the Medical Fitness Association, which also made a big difference. “That sets them apart from all the other facilities, small private practices or gyms.” Goshen primarily works at the Greenfield Wellness Center location, but she also visits the other two locations and refers clients to her fellow dietitians based on their professional specialties, such as sports or community outreach. Goshen’s specialty is women’s health.
A typical day as a dietitian
For Goshen, her day typically starts at 5:30 a.m. to coach athletes in Hancock CrossFit or the Barbell Club. She usually goes into her first one-on-one session by 7 a.m. and sees patients back to back until about 4 p.m. “If it’s their first session with me, I will usually spend 60 to 90 minutes with them,” said Goshen. “If it’s a follow-up or I’ve met with them before, it’s probably going to be 30 to 45 minutes.”
She sees the most popular nutrition services in weekly meetings for Performance Fueling athletes and preventative care clients. “It’s so affordable and you get so many times to meet with the dietitian for hands-on individualized coaching,” explained Goshen. The Wellness Center also recently began accepting healthcare insurance and she has seen a major uptick in clients using their preventative coverage. “Because we’re using a preventative coding method, sometimes we can see them for zero dollars.”
Goshen’s advice for National Nutrition Month
For this local dietitian, nutrition is all about balance. “For the bulk of people I’m working with, it is how can we make food meet your physical health goals, but not at the cost of your mental, emotional, social or religious health,” she said. Food plays a role in every area of our lives, and Goshen wants to try not to allow a physical health goal to keep clients from enjoying a slice of Grandma’s pie or time spent out with friends.
Goshen’s biggest tip for National Nutrition Month is to “find YOUR balance” because there is not a one size fits all approach to a nutrition journey. “I urge patients to consider making nutrition fit your life, not making life fit nutrition,” she said. “Will you have to make some lifestyle changes? Absolutely. But find changes that you can sustain for life.”
You can learn more about the nutrition and weight management services provided at Hancock Wellness Center at hancockwellness.org.