Dietetic Career Spotlight on Heather K. Jones (AKA The Diet P.I.), RD
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on JANUARY 18, 2012
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
My father struggles with his weight (and he now has lots of weight-related diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure), so I grew up in a house where nutrition and diet were always a topic of discussion. My health-minded mother taught my two sisters and me to eat well (fresh fruits instead of frosted cereal, crisp veggies instead of chips, and water and tea instead of soda), and to be healthy, both inside and out—she didn’t want us to follow in our father’s unhealthy footsteps, so she encouraged balance, moderation and a healthy lifestyle.
I am passionate about nutrition (thanks to my mom!), but I am also a foodie! I love grocery shopping, cooking, eating, going out to eat, and trying new cuisines and foods, so studying food and nutrition was a natural fit for me.
Your Job Title?
Nutrition Entrepreneur/ freelance writer and author.
I am a health journalist, a nutrition consultant for The Best Life Diet by Bob Greene (Oprah Winfrey’s personal trainer), and the author several health books, recently including Drop 5 Pounds (Sterling, 2010), which I wrote with the editors of Good Housekeeping Magazine, and The Salt Solution (Rodale, 2011), written with the editors of Prevention Magazine. I am also the co-founder of www.wholeuweightloss.com and the owner of www.thedietpi.com.
I recently finished the What’s Your Diet Type? e-books series and am currently working on the shopping guide The Grocery Cart Makeover as well as a book with the editors of SELF.
A typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you.
My days are random and rather disorganized! However, typical activities include writing blog posts and articles, interviewing health experts, reading and editing manuscripts, working on meal plans, managing my team of interns and contractors, and developing, testing, and running health workshops. I also do nutrition communication work for a few food brands, as well as PR and marketing for my own brands (Whole U and The Diet P.I.).
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
Before I worked for myself, I spent seven years working with the Nutrition Action Healthletter, the nation’s largest circulation health newsletter, published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (a consumer advocacy group).
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
I’m creative and have lots of ideas for nutrition articles, books, and programs. I am also a fast learner, a hard worker and a natural negotiator and networker. I love working with people and implementing new ideas!
I am not very organized and I am a bit of a procrastinator, but I try to set daily deadlines to keep on track! I’m also a big picture type of person, so details are not my thing, but I‘ve learned how to be a diligent fact-checker.
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
Work hard, be persistent and NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK. Make many contacts and friends in your field, and partner with people you like and trust.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what would it be?
Travel points! I LOVE to experience new cultures and cuisines!