A Conversation with: Nadeen Risi, MS, RDN, LD/N
Role at Avance: Registered Dietitian at Avance Care Cary
Years at Avance Care: Less than 1 year
My first job: I’ve always worked with my dad in his pizza and sub shop as a kid but I guess my first job where I got paid would be as a cashier at Burger King in Apex.
Why primary care: Primary care is the first line of defense for most patients – when they are sick, healthy and just need a physical, or dealing with more chronic care management. The idea that I could be part of the initial care is truly amazing to me and it’s where I feel nutrition can make the most impact. I can follow up with patients more regularly and build real relationships with these patients.
Why I love Avance Care: One word: interdisciplinary. Having primary care, nutrition, behavioral wellness, psychiatry, allergy, and pharmacy all under one roof is a rarity. Avance Care is a one of a kind type medical facility that helps streamline healthcare. Being at the forefront of something like this is exactly where I want to be. I want to be a part of change and that is what Avance Care is doing. It is changing and improving healthcare.
If I wasn’t a dietitian I would be: Now, if I weren’t a dietitian, I would aim to be a personal trainer – why would I not want to be in workout clothes all day?! If you asked me 20 years ago it would have been a cardio-thoracic surgeon.
My favorite part of nutrition is: The wonderful connection between food and fitness! My passion for nutrition grew from my passion for exercise. Once I started learning more about how food can truly change your performance I could not stop researching and learning more. I love to think of food as fuel for my body and I try to relay that same message to all my patients, regardless of their activity level. You must fuel yourself well before you can build a proper exercise regimen and understand how that fuel can impact your body.
If someone wanted to start a conversation with me they should ask me about: Camp Gladiator – it’s the boot camp that I have done for over 3 years now and I cannot see myself doing anything else (outside of some weight lifting).
How I connect to patients: I try to get them to see me as their equal. A lot of times, patients come into my office thinking of me as the “food police” or the one who is going to judge. I work very hard to make them realize that there are times that I struggle with food, that I have cravings as well… I eat fast food at times, too. Empathizing with patients versus sympathizing is important because patients want to feel they have been heard and understood versus just going through your template or routine. I try to understand those emotions and work with the patient and not make the session to feel like “here’s what to do”, but that it is always a judge-free zone.
The one piece of medical advice I tell my patients but have a difficult time incorporating into my own life: Eating regularly… On days with back to back patients, there may be days where I don’t eat for 7-8 hours at a time. Also, water intake — I will be in the midst of talking with patients and go a few hours without water, even with it right in front of me. I need to practice on small sips, even while talking with a patient.
If I have a three-day weekend, I can be found: Ideally, I would spend those weekends in Asheville, because the mountains are my happy place. But typically, I am lounging at home with my husband and our three dogs – Gunner, Harley, and Diesel.
The four people I would invite to my ultimate dinner party: Ashley Christensen (one of my favorite restauranteurs in Raleigh), Joanna Gaines, Tia-Clair Toomey, and Justin Timberlake – all my favorite things: food, design, fitness, and music.