Meet the Dietitian: Karen Busch
As a New York transplant to Southern California in 1980, Karen moved to San Diego in 2000 to earn her undergraduate degree. The weather was so great here that Karen and her son (at the time in 6th grade) decided to stay and participate in the active, healthy lifestyle of the region.
Why did you become interested in the field of nutrition?
When my son was an infant and had weaned himself from breastfeeding, I joined a weight-loss program to lose my baby weight. That program taught me how to eat healthy and balance energy in (calories) with energy out through exercise. The program nutritionist took me to the local grocery store and walked me around explaining nutrients and food labels. This new world was so fascinating to me because I could see progress toward my goal of losing weight. After learning these new facts about food, how to eat healthy and add exercise to my life, I decided that I wanted to help others do the same. I was hooked! In 2005, after earning a degree in foods and nutrition from San Diego State University and completing my dietetic internship, I passed the RD exam and became a registered dietitian.
What is your particular focus area as a registered dietitian at Sharp?
I have a wide variety of interests in nutrition and have enjoyed a variety of responsibilities at Sharp Coronado Hospital since 2006, including working with elderly; different disease states, such as renal and liver diseases; and nutrition support. Working with individuals that wish to make positive changes in their lives is extremely satisfying for me. I teach that eating healthy is more than "being on a diet." Rather, it is eating a variety of colors, flavors and textures in the right amounts for one's individual needs. Once my residents and patients understand this, providing nutrition counseling and education is so gratifying.
How do you strive to inspire your patients?
I once had a short-term resident who wished to lose weight but was hesitant to restrict his food intake as he was concerned about feeling hungry. I offered to provide small frequent meals every few hours while limiting his calories and providing education on healthy eating. I explained that by doing so, he would feel satisfied without feeling hungry. He agreed to try this approach. After a few days, I followed up with him and sure enough, eating every few hours was keeping him satisfied so he decided to continue the regimen! Several weeks later, after he had been discharged home, I ran into him on the sidewalk in front of the hospital. He looked good and shared that he was still eating the way I had taught him and continued to lose weight. Is that motivating or what?!
What is your best piece of nutrition advice?
I like showing and telling others that I practice what I preach: I eat the same balanced way as I recommend to others for healthy living.
For More InformationTo learn more about Sharp's specialized hospital nutrition support services, please call 858-499-3114.
To learn more about Sharp's Nutrition Education and Counseling Program or to schedule an outpatient appointment, call 619-740-4632 or send us an email.
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