We chatted to Nicole Lubasinski, the new ADSA President (July 2017 to June 2019), to find out about her plans for ADSA and why she became a dietitian, what she loves about her work and what the challenges are:
As the new President, what are you looking foward to achieving?
I am looking forward to playing a role in unifying the profession, continuing to build a great Association for all our fellow dietians and to achieving ADSA’s vision – to represent and develop the dietetic profession to contribute towards achieving optimal nutrition for all South Africans.
Why did you become a Registered Dietitian?
This is a complicated question for me to answer as there were many factors in play. Food is a key part in our daily lives, as with most young girls weight and food were an intricate part of my life growing up. I wanted to be able to understand our relationship with food better and to hopefully help other people come to terms with it too.
What do you enjoy most about the work you do? What are the most satisfying moments?
I think it’s similar for most dietitians. We tend to be the patients last resort for many patients and the “ah ha” moment that happens when people realise achieving a healthy balanced lifestyle doesn’t have to be restrictive or stringent. And that dietitians can often work in favourite foods to limit the sense of deprivation.
What has been your career highlight?
I think the achievement that sticks out the most is receiving my IOC diploma in Sports Nutrition in Switzerland. The reason being is I completed my final assignment whilst in hospital after delivering my little girl & she happened to be breastfeeding at the time of submission.
What are the most challenging aspects of your career?
Being the last resort, people have preconceived ideas about what a dietitian is or does. Automatically people judge you for your appearance and food choice, or feel you will judge them for theirs.
How do you cope after a day of nutrition disaster and bad eating choices?
Everything in moderation. Add in an extra few KMs or reps in my work out session. Life happens and its ok. We tend to be pretty hard on ourselves and I think that needs to change.
What are the three things that you think people should stop saying when they meet a dietitian?
- “Oh goodness, I better not eat this in front of you then”
- “So what’s the best way to lose weight”
- “Oh really, I would of thought dietitians needed to look a certain way”
What should clients look out for when deciding which dietitian to work with?
Someone you can relate to. A patient relationship with a dietitian is more than “just tell me what to eat”. The ups and downs that come with changing a lifestyle or dealing with a health condition can be emotional, it’s good to have someone in your corner who will motivate you in a way that works for you.
What is your favourite dish and your favourite treat food?
Oh wow, just about anything my mom cooks. But my all-time overly decadent high day and holiday meal is grown up Mac and Cheese. One of our wonderful ADSA chefs needs to tailor this to be more nutritionally balanced