Dietetic Fitness Spotlight: Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on MARCH 8, 2013
From working for SELF Magazine to blogging, meet Sally Kuzemchak, expert freelance writer, blogger, and child nutrition advocate. – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
I saw a dietitian during college after gaining the dreaded Freshman 15. I learned so much from those visits–and eventually lost those 15 pounds! After college, I worked at SELF magazine as an assistant in the nutrition department. I was immersed in nutrition all day–reading, researching, writing articles, and talking with dietitians. I just fell in love with the field and realized I wanted to be a dietitian too–then I could combine two things I loved (writing and nutrition).
Your Job Title?
Registered dietitian, Freelance writer, Blogger, and Educator
Company you are with now?
I’ve been self-employed for 15 years. So I work for myself!
A typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you?
I work part-time and am home with my preschooler for part of the week. My work days are mostly spent at home, writing and researching in front of my computer with a cat on my lap.
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
I’ve been a freelance writer for 15 years. I was on staff at SELF magazine out of college and then transitioned to freelance from there. I’ve written for nearly 20 consumer publications along the way, including Shape, Fitness, Family Circle, Prevention, and Health. I was also a Contributing Editor for Parents magazine for six years. I started my blog in 2009 as a way to tell more personal stories.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
I’ve always, always loved to write and have been interested in journalism since my days on the junior high school newspaper. My undergraduate degree was in English, so when I went back to school for nutrition, it was a huge shock taking hardcore science classes (I never really had those before!). So I definitely started using a different part of my brain. I have learned a lot along the way–like how to be comfortable speaking in front of groups (a stint teaching nutrition courses to college students helped a lot with that). I have a couple of mentors that I check in with occasionally as well, and I learn a lot from them, like the importance of holding out for what you really want and not selling yourself short.
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
Do what you love–if you aren’t happy, work hard to find that happiness. Meet your deadlines, be gracious and accommodating, and be willing to start at the bottom. When I was first starting out as a freelance writer, I did a lot of very small, thankless, low- or no-paid jobs to get good experience.
And lastly, follow your passions, even if they lead you to places you never thought you’d be. When I was in college, I thought I wanted to write about music for Rolling Stone magazine. I would never have pictured myself writing about nutrition, much less being a dietitian. When I started out as a dietitian, I thought I wanted to do counseling for weight loss. Now I focus on writing and advocating for children’s nutrition.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what would it be?
Produce, meat, and eggs from my local farmer’s market!