Dietetic Career Spotlight on Julie Chudak at Davita Healthcare, Lifelong Nutrition and Fitness
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on MARCH 27, 2017
Meet Julie Chudak, RDN, CPT, who practices a well-balanced life of independence, travel, fitness, and health. Her work emphasizes a holistic approach incorporating nutrition, activity, and lifestyle. Read on to learn more how Julie inspires her clients. – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
I believed lifestyle is medicine YEARS before it was trendy. My first career was in business. I worked in the Group division of an international life and health insurance company. It was then I came to realize no country could afford a sick population and that people wanted to live life and their retirement on their own terms (i.e. independent, travelling, spending time with the grandkids) without taking fistfuls or pharmaceuticals.
Your Job Title and Company?
Founder of Lifelong Nutrition and Fitness, Dietitian for Davita Healthcare
Other Social Media links you would like to include:
– Instagram: juliechudak
Describe a typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you?
A typical day? Well, there are 2 kinds of days. The first involves waking up early and having the luxury to reflect and organize in my mind my coming day at the dialysis center while I drive peacefully on the California freeway at 4:30 a.m. Once I arrive at my desk, I independently and confidently go about counseling and educating patients about their lab results, assisting patients in obtaining insurance authorization and financial assistance for medications and nutrition supplements, overseeing the work of others, charting and preparing for meetings.
The second kind of day involves a little less confidence (smile and grin) as I go about, like many of you, switching the various hats we entrepreneurs wear: writer (of blogs and social media posts), creator (of recipes and lifestyle programming), photographer (of recipes and exercises clients can try at home or in the gym), administrative assistant, wellness coach (to clients or prospective clients), business tycoon (looking for and creating partnerships with like-minded entrepreneurs) and cheerleader (to my clients but primarily to myself as I chart new territory and tell myself ‘I can do this’ even when I have no clue).
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
To be honest? I was sick and tired of working for a RD consulting company where I travelled over 100 miles a day to a different facility every day, working 6 or 7 hours a day, leaving home at 4:30 a.m. and not getting home before 6 or 7 p.m. I was writing my resignation letter when I came across an ad for a renal dietitian position at a dialysis unit in the same city I lived in. I applied and got the job.
When it comes to my own business? I’ve always enjoyed getting in front of a group of people or working with individuals empowering them with needed information on how their lifestyle (nutrition and fitness) can help stop and maybe even reverse disease processes. I’m not a fan of pharmaceuticals. Since most of today’s chronic diseases are lifestyle related, I believe lifestyle, not medications, should be the first line of treatment. Historically, I have never been ‘conventional.’ I became a personal trainer while going through my undergrad program over 20 years ago and I was one of the first people to go through the Wellcoaches coaching program over 15 years ago. I believe in holistic care of the individual (i.e. dealing with the whole person) and creating a ‘can do’ environment where my clients successfully take simple steps towards healthy one day at a time.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
Oh wow! Where do I start. I am the product of my upbringing and grade school/secondary education where hard work and integrity were just two things that were taught and valued.
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
LOL. I’m not that successful especially when it comes to my health and wellness coaching business. Do what you enjoy. Always do your best – at the end of the day who cares what others think, you have to live with yourself. Never stop learning. Don’t be afraid to try or ask – it’s an automatic ‘no’ if you don’t.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what
would it be?
Tough. That’s assuming this form of payment is widely accepted and traded in the world so I could ‘pay’ for my living expenses. If we are being less practical, compliments and stories of how my clients are able to live their healthiest selves, traveling, being around for family and family events, or massages.