Kelly Dutcher, registered dietitian, has been with the Sharp Weight Management and Health Education program since January 2008. She received her degree in applied nutrition from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, and then completed a dietetic internship in Philadelphia with Sodexho. Prior to Sharp Weight Management, Kelly was a nutrition counselor with San Diego State University’s Women, Infants and Children Program, as well as a clinical nutritionist at a local hospital.
How did you choose the weight management and health education field?
When I was 12 years old, I was diagnosed with type I diabetes. Since then, I have spent my life learning how food choices and physical activity can help manage my diabetes. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and experience with patients in order to help them live fuller, healthier lives.
What do you do at Sharp Weight Management and Health Education?
As a registered dietitian and wellness education specialist, I coach weight management classes and provide dietitian consultations, corporate wellness lectures and metabolic analysis.
How do you help your patients become more successful in managing their weight?
I am able to help my patients succeed through the continual support and accountability that the Sharp Weight Management Program provides. No two patients are the same. I treat each one as an individual in order to understand where they are coming from and what role I can play in helping them to achieve their goals.
What do you think is the key to successful weight loss and maintenance?
I think the key to success is forming new, healthy habits. No one can change their unhealthy behaviors overnight, but slowly over time they can build new healthy habits that can last for a lifetime. Another key is being able to understand that no one is perfect. If we fall off the wagon for the day, we should accept it and choose to immediately continue with the healthy habits we have been forming.
How do you find time to make healthy meals with your busy schedule?
Like most people, working long days can make it difficult to find time for exercise and healthy meals. There is so much temptation to eat fast and unhealthy food when we are pressed for time. In order to overcome this, I spend time every Sunday to plan my upcoming week. I go to the grocery store and buy fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables. I wash and prepare all the fruits and vegetables and put them in containers so they are easy to grab when I am rushing out of the house in the morning.
What types of exercise help you manage your weight?
Running is my favorite form of physical activity. I look forward to running in the morning because it gives me time to think before a long day at work. I make it a priority to get at least 30 minutes of running in every morning. During my break at work, I go for brisk 15-minute walks. This is another opportunity to step away from my fast-paced life and refocus myself when I come back to work. I keep a pair of walking shoes under my desk so I never have an excuse not to go. When I get home from work I try to spend another 15 minutes on the elliptical machine while watching my favorite television show. Because I am so captivated, I usually end up going for more than 15 minutes. It’s a win-win situation!