Several months ago I was hired as the dietitian for the Merage JCC in Irvine, California to provide adult and pediatric nutritional care. The experience has been wonderful. Here is an excerpt of an article published in Orange County Jewish Life this month.
Recently, Melanie Silverman, MS, RD, IBCLC, was hired as the JCC’s dietitian and began working with the 75 participants of the J’s popular and successful Largest Loser program. Jason Meyers, the JCC health and wellness director, said that, “Melanie is now working with our members because diet is one of the most important components to living a vibrant lifestyle. We want to have an environment where physical activity, health education and healthy eating behaviors are valued and taught. We believe in offering our members every opportunity to achieve their wellness potential.”Silverman doesn’t want people to be confused by all the media hype about the dangers of obesity, the super foods we should eat, how to feed children or the latest food fad. She knows people are bombarded with conflicting nutrition advice from friends, family, doctors and the media. So she is on a mission to set the record straight and teach adults and children a common sense way to eat.
Juli So, Largest Loser participant, said, “Melanie is so committed to helping me succeed through a holistic approach to nutrition. I had all the knowledge on nutrition, but needed help applying it to my everyday life.”
Silverman has the credentials to support her opinions about nutrition. A registered dietitian (RD) and a board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC), she spent seven years as a clinical dietitian at The University of Chicago Medical Center in the neonatal intensive care unit, pediatric intensive care unit and adult and pediatric burn units. She also served as an adjunct faculty member at Loyola University Chicago. She is a preceptor for various dietetic internship programs and has lectured at state and national meetings for the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, March of Dimes and the Prader-Willi California Foundation.
Over the past 14 years in practice, Silverman has developed philosophies on how and what adults and kids should eat. They consist of two principles and require real soul searching for some.
1) Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. 2) Eat a variety of different foods.
Eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full is easier said than done. Silverman teaches adult clients to listen to their internal cues and respond appropriately to their hunger and satiety. By doing this, adults can settle at a comfortable weight for themselves.
Another Largest Loser participant, Danielle Saffer, had this to say, “Melanie not only tackles nutrition from the perspective of food…it’s about weight loss, health, culture, upbringing, history, stress and most importantly about compassion and forgiveness. She created a safe place for sharing between people and helping me to find the courage to face my shadows.”
For both adults and kids, choosing a variety of foods is important because this insures people have a balanced diet and a healthier life. Picky eating is a big problem for children, especially toddlers and preschool-age children. “I’ve treated hundreds of children who won’t eat much beyond macaroni and cheese and prehistoric animal shaped chicken (nuggets). Breaking picky eating habits in kids is some of my favorite type of instruction, because the kids become healthier, and the parents, who are often frustrated and worried, become more relaxed.”
Silverman counsels on a wide range of adult and pediatric nutritional issues including: weight management, food allergies, vegetarian or vegan diets, healthy eating and remedies for picky eaters. She strives to customize each JCC nutrition-counseling session.