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March 13, 2024

Staff Spotlight, Liam Reilly

Staff Spotlight, Liam Reilly

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Liam Reilly (he/him). I am a Dietetic Technician at The Emily Program’s Columbus, OH, Residential site, and I have been with the company for nine months.

What does the role of a Dietetic Technician entail?

I was hired as a Culinary Assistant when I first started working at The Emily Program. I worked in this position for six months before transitioning into the Dietetic Technician role.

As a part of our wonderful nutrition team, our main goal is to support our clients’ nourishing process in the dining room. We work hard to prepare the dining room for each meal and snack and work closely with the dietitians and chefs to meet each client’s dietary requirements. We also work closely with Behavioral Health Technicians (BHTs) to ensure each client is supported while eating through meal coaching and answering any questions the clients may have while in the dining room.

In honor of National Nutrition Month, what nutrition myth would you like to debunk?

The biggest myth I often hear in the nutrition field is that “one diet fits all.” Everywhere you look, whether in books, movies, television, billboards, and especially social media, you will see advertisements for a “new diet that will fix all your problems.” More often than not, these “special diets” are highly restrictive and cause more damage, including malnutrition. These diet suggestions often involve removing foods that are deemed “unhealthy” when, in reality, there is no such thing as an unhealthy food. All types of foods are important to properly nourish the body, including so-called “junk food.”

Not one single diet or lifestyle will work for everyone. Each individual has specific dietary and lifestyle needs that differ from those of anyone else and must be addressed individually instead of generically. While it can be very easy to be misled by false advertisements, individuals should listen to their own body’s specific needs and seek guidance from certified professionals regarding nutrition advice.

What motivates you to show up for work each day?

I’m motivated by knowing the positive impact I am making on each and every client’s life. Whenever I walk into work, the clients always say “Hi, Liam” with a big smile on their face. Each client teaches me something new about myself and how to support our clients better.

While they teach me a lot, I also like to joke around with the clients to remind them that while this is a very difficult time in their lives, there is still room for fun. Their eating disorders do not define who they are, and sometimes, having a little fun or making a joke here and there helps make the recovery process a little bit easier. At the end of the day, my favorite part about my work as a Dietetic Technician is seeing all the clients’ personalities come out as they become more nourished.

What do you look forward to learning in 2024?

This year, while continuing to work as a Dietetic Technician at The Emily Program, I will graduate from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Dietetics.

While I continue to learn within my position, I will also be studying to become a certified personal trainer so that I can better understand and care for the clients I work with. I want to deepen my understanding of not only the benefits of physical fitness, but also the impacts of physiological movements and processes. I will also be applying for graduate school this year to pursue a master’s in nutrition and begin the next step of my journey toward becoming a registered dietitian.

What piece of advice would you give to those struggling with eating disorders?

The biggest piece of advice I have for those struggling with eating disorders and disordered eating is that you are not alone. Millions of people around the world are struggling with something similar. While it may seem daunting, you can get the help you need and deserve. There are many people and places that specialize in helping specifically you and the problems you are experiencing. So, never give up hope no matter what because things truly can and will get better.

Get help. Find hope.