Dietetic Career Path Spotlight on Andrea Lieberstein, Mindful Eating Training and Well Nourished Living
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on FEBRUARY 26, 2018
Meet Andrea Lieberstein, MPH, RDN, RYT, whose mindful dietetic approach and practice has opened many new doors for her including a newly published book, a private practice, and a fantastic developed program. – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
I became passionately interested in optimal health and well-being of the whole person as a teen. In my own life food was an integral part of that. I was attracted to food as healing, food as medicine, food as a source of well-being and radiant health, and I wanted to share this with others. Later on, I learned that all the mind body and mindfulness skills and tools that I used in my personal life and as a teacher and coach in Behavioral Health and Mindfulness Programs, helped reduce the suffering and struggle around food as well. Focusing on Mindful Eating and Living became a natural fit for my career.
Your Job Title?
Mindfulness-Based Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Coach
Company you are with now?
Mindful Eating Training and Well Nourished Living
Describe a typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you?
A typical day for me can include a mix of online and in-person teaching or coaching. Also, lots of follow-up on email, communication with clients, communication with my professional training programs and students, organizing or planning my retreats, guest teacher or speaker communications, logistics and administration, etc. Any given day I might have any combination of the following.
– Teaching: Every week I teach an online mindful eating program for health professionals with 28 CPEUS for RD’s. My days might include the live class, Q & A sessions, or the Graduate Mentoring Group. I also teach retreats in mindful eating and well nourished living based on my new book, Well Nourished. Some weeks I am at retreat centers teaching professionals or the general public.
– Individual Clients: In-person visits for clients in my disordered eating practice in a local wellness center of independent practitioners or virtual coaching appointments.
– Professional Mentoring and Supervision. Virtual or In-person mentoring sessions with my graduates of the MB-EAT Mindful Eating and Living Mentoring Program or simply those that want support around mindful eating skills.
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
I created it! I worked at Kaiser Permanente for over 20 years and the last 10 was part time. During that time, I slowly built my private practice and online or in-person professional training programs. I took some trainings to learn how to do it that were invaluable. I am very grateful to have a profession that enables me to work at home predominantly but also to travel and teach. Great loves of mine.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
I was born a natural teacher. I started my first group at 14 years old as a summer program at a community center teaching theatre and drama skills! Ease at being in front of people teaching and speaking as served me well my whole career. I am naturally compassionate and empathetic and a good listener, but have deepened these skills with some wonderful mindfulness trainings. Learning the practice of meditation and mindfulness in my teens and twenties changed my life. These practices brought me to the same place inside that being in nature did, a place of profound stillness, beauty, balance, expansiveness, and more. I found powerful modalities that could help people live a balanced, more peaceful, joyful life. I became a mindfulness-based stress reduction instructor in 1993, and was instrumental in bringing the program to Kaiser Permanente Northern California Region. I also developed and oversaw other mind body programs. Ten years ago, I became a consultant and an instructor in a research study on mindful eating based on MB-EAT. I found that the mindful eating skills and approach change lives profoundly and our relationship to food. That’s when my mindfulness/mind body and nutrition “tracks” came together and where my work is now predominantly focused. Sharing this with both clients and professionals. Many of the important skills and tools I learned along the way are summarized in my new book, Well Nourished. This is a great guidebook for RD’s to use with clients, also to develop their own skills and for clients to use. Just some of the skills and tools include mindfulness, mindful self-compassion, mindful eating, cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, ecotherapy, behavioral science, meditation, visualization, affirmations, and more!
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
It may sound cliché but truly, follow your bliss. Get in touch with what you really love, what you are passionate about, how you most like to serve, where your gifts and talents match that and go for it. Learn any additional skills and tools that you need to reach your dreams. Keeping the flame alive of what you love will draw those circumstances and opportunities to you. Practice saying yes, but also stay discerning to what no longer works for you in your path and don’t be afraid to let go of that when the time is right as you open to your new life. [Leaving my secure job at Kaiser Permanente was a big step for me some years ago but I had spent years paving the way, and building my dream practice and job. I couldn’t fully embrace the full potential of my private practice, “mission” and business and fly with it until I took the step to make full space for it in my life. Timing is everything too. For many, many years, Kaiser was my dream job, particularly the earlier pioneering years of helping bring mind body and integrative programs and approaches, until it was time to move on. I am a pioneer at heart with what I feel passionately about and now it is mindful compassionate eating and living, and spreading the message of Well Nourished Living in my Well Nourished book!]
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what
would it be?
I love to travel, teach, and live in other countries. If I could be given travel and overseas retreat teaching all set up for me (!), a beautiful little villa/cottage in Bali, Italy or some of my other favorite places to live in, I would write, teach, and travel from there and enjoy and “savor!”