Erica Leon, MS, RDN, CEDRD
What is your current position?
I am the owner of Erica Leon Nutrition, a group nutrition practice that specializes in eating disorder treatment and prevention. We use a non-diet, Health at Every Size ® approach to help chronic dieters re-connect with their natural, internal signals of hunger, fullness, and satisfaction. We work with clients with all types of eating concerns. We also have group meal support, cooking programs, and in-person and online intuitive eating and nutrition workshops.
How did you get started in your career?
I enjoyed my nutrition coursework in college, so I decided to do a dietetic internship and work in a hospital. I loved doing that work, but I was young and impatient, so I tried my hand at several other nutrition careers. I worked in sales and marketing for a formula company. Next, I worked in public relations for some big-name products like Optifast and Sweet and Low. I found I missed working directly with patients, so I eventually started my private practice.
What advice would you give to someone new to the field?
a) Experiment with different nutrition jobs. I found my way to eating disorder treatment through trial and error. That’s how I learned which career excited me and was the best fit for my needs and skill set. How can a young person know which job is right for them until they are out in the field?
b) Network. Go to events and talk to people. I learned about every one of my jobs through connections I had made at various dietetic association meetings.
c) Have supervision if you do direct patient care. Particularly with patients who suffer from eating disorders, make sure you have guidance. Supervision was not readily available when I first started seeing patients. I had to rely on wisdom from the therapists who were working with my patients. Nowadays, supervision is a prerequisite to becoming certified as an eating disorder specialist.
Lastly, I do have a book in the works but it’s too soon to announce it! I will just say that there are recipes in it, and it’s anti-diet culture. That’s all I can say right now!