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EP:40: Rivka Breuer, RDN and Certified Diabetes Educator – No More Shame, No More Extremes
In todays episode of Get INTUIT with Gila, I sit down to speak with Rivka Breuer.
I felt like I had to have Rivka on this show because besides for her being an amazing Registered Dietitian, she is also a Certified Diabetes Educator. Now, this is a very much needed specialty in the field. But besides for that, Rivka’s approach is unique because she understands that this is an individualized plan of care for each and every client. We cannot use scare tactics or shame when trying to help someone manage their diagnoses of diabetes. This is not something YOU caused. This is not something to be ashamed of. So much of our physical and mental health has to do with genetics and we have to be aware of this.
Diet culture shames people into changing their body.
Look how that has worked. It hasn’t. We need to start giving people the medical care that they need, irrelevant to their weight.
If you are struggling with diabetes or know someone that is, I think this episode will really enlighten you.
Rivka has been a dietician for 20 years. She is also a certified diabetic educator which means she specializes in helping clients who have diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder where the pancreas doesn’t have the ability to make insulin. The management for type 1 diabetes is much more controlled and may include insulin shots. With type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, there’s still some activity left in the pancreas but with a resistance to insulin. If you can stop it early on, you’re ahead of the game and you just have to focus on making lifestyle changes. Most of her clients have type 2 diabetes. She has a private practice based in Cedarhurst, but it is all virtual now. She realized that virtual sessions are very productive with regard to nutrition. Clients are in their own comfort zone so they feel like they can open up a lot more. She works in a nursing home and a doctor’s office on the side seeing patients with diabetes.
Rivka was always interested in becoming a dietician. She was that heavy kid who learned how to lose weight in an unhealthy, unnatural way. When she went to Israel for seminary she gained 30 pounds and then lost it on a diet. She had an amazing intro to nutrition course in college, which made her really want to go into the nutrition field. She learned how important it is to work with each client based on where they’re coming from. Not every client can be given the same meal plan and expect it to work. For example, when working with the elderly population, especially in a nursing home, you want to give them calories and protein, and if the way to do this is through supplements, then that’s okay. There are so many factors into deciding what to give them: not having teeth, not being able to digest food properly. We need to treat each population individually. There is so much demonizing of food going on now and people have no idea what they’re talking about.
After completing undergrad, Rivka moved to New York and worked in a nursing home, because it was convenient as a young wife and mother. However, working in the nursing home didn’t put her in her happy place. Afterwards she worked in a wonderful nursing home full time which she loved. One day, all of the dieticians were suddenly let go. She never would have left that job so Rivka believes it was the best thing that she was let go. Rivka’s husband convinced her to start a private practice because he knew it was something she always wanted to do. She definitely had many learning experiences in the first few years of her private practice. It was scary to start a practice but she really enjoyed doing it. Once she started, she realized this is what she meant to do. Many dieticians aren’t given the tools to learn how to start a private practice so they end up working in the nursing homes as a fallback. Rivky enjoys working at the nursing home now part time in addition to her private practice.
Rivka’s mistake in the beginning of her private practice was accepting everyone. At first she didn’t realize how hard it was to work with clients who want to just be fed information and don’t really know why they’re there. Her ideal client is around 50 years old whose A1C is creeping up, which is your blood sugar level. The pancreas secretes insulin after a meal so that your blood sugar doesn’t go up. Type 2 diabetes is often genetically linked. Many of her clients are ashamed when they develop diabetes, believing that they did something wrong, however this is so wrong! Just because your BMI is above a certain level, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll develop diabetes. It may happen more but doesn’t mean if you eat sugar you’ll get diabetes. Diabetes is a metabolic disease. Rivka tells her clients that they are in the driver’s seat; if you can get your blood sugar down, you can save yourself the probability of developing so many scary complications. It’s all about balancing foods. Someone with diabetes shouldn’t eat a lot at one time because the body won’t be able to keep up with the amount of sugar and the amount of insulin that needs to be pumped out. People think that diabetics need to cut carbs but it’s really carb control. It also doesn’t mean you cannot have sugar. Everybody is different and will react to foods in different ways. When you make a choice that isn’t optimal, don’t starve yourself for the rest of the day! Just move on with your day and eat a nice dinner. Shame has never helped as a tool for losing weight.
The pandemic has been a trauma for many but we should be empowering people, not shaming them to lose weight. When we take away the shame, it makes it easier for people to take responsibility and individualize how they can change things for themselves. It’s important to start with baby steps and do small things at first. The weight may come down as you change what you’re eating but it also may not. Looking at the big picture, what we’re trying to do is change your quality of life and cut out complications.
A bit about Rivka:
Rivka received her Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Illinois in Chicago and completed the coordinated program internship there as well. She is currently based in Long Island, NY, where for over 20 years, she has been providing nutrition and wellness counseling as a Registered Dietitian to patient groups and individuals in long term and primary care settings, including private practice. As a Certified Diabetic Educator Rivka is uniquely qualified to empower people with Diabetes by gently guiding them with the necessary tools to improve their health and quality of life. She also specializes in Prediabetes, Heart Disease, and Metabolic Syndrome.
Reach out to Rivka at: https://www.facebook.com/rivkabreuerrdn/
For the YouTube version, click here: https://youtu.be/4CkjMbeYVuQ
To see more episodes like this and read the full blog on today’s episode, please visit my website www.gilaglassberg.com.
If you are interested in making peace with food through the principles of Intuitive Eating and the practices of self care, go ahead and schedule a free call via my website, https://gilaglassberg.com/scheduling/
Catch me on Instagram @gila.glassberg.intuitiveRD. You can work with me one on one or sign up to be in one of my intuitive eating online support groups via Zoom. Have a wonderful day!
Gila Glassberg is a Master's level registered dietitian and a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. As a teenager, she was faced with constant diet talk, body shaming and obsessive guilt around food. She struggled with disordered eating. This is what propelled her into the field of nutrition. She uses a non-diet, weight-neutral approach called Intuitive Eating. She helps growth oriented women break out of chronic dieting, and regain clarity into what is really important to them.
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