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Small Business Q&A: Betsy Thurston RD

This East Cobb registered dietitian and behavior change specialist consults adolescents and adults in a holistic approach to health and wellness.

"Would you rather be right? Or would you rather be healthy?" are the questions registered dietitian and health coach Betsy Thurston often asks new clients.

She explains her program as teaching a person about their relationship with food and facilitating change to make the relationship balanced.

Thurston holds a master's degree in nutrition and has graduated from the Institute for Integrated Nutrition, where she learned a holistic approach to health that looks at a client's environment of career, physical activity, relationships, spirituality.

She uses the Integrative Nutrition Food Pyramid to demonstrate healthy diets. The pyramid is built with a balance of high quality vegetables, fruits, grains, proteins, healthy fats and water.

"I don't make out diets for people. I teach them to enjoy food, to slow down, and learn to understand their relationships with food," says Thurston.

One of the behavioral tools Thurston teaches is the practice of intuitive eating, which focuses on eating when your body is hungry and stopping when your body is satisfied.

The top five out of seven leading causes of death in the U.S. have ties to diet, according to Thurston, who sees this statistic as red flagging a national health crisis.

Thurston works alone and considers herself as much a life coach as a dietitian. Her interest in nutrition, behavior, and the neuroscience of human behavior is rooted in family. Her horticulturist academic grandfather gets credit for creating a formational environment filled with fresh vegetables and whole foods.

Website, word-of-mouth, and doctors' referrals are ways clients first meet Thurston who works out of her East Cobb home. She also blogs about nutrition issues for .

Q. What's the best thing about your job?

A. It's a privilege and honor to see people's problems and to be able to transform them. I change the way people think about food and their relationship with food. It's awesome.

Q. What is the best thing about East Cobb?

A. East Cobb has everything you need.

Q. Why did you pick this kind of business?

A. I have twenty-some years experience as a dietician, some of it in hospital setting- and, my work at hospitals only involved food. Working for myself, I get to work my passion, behavior change. My counseling is mostly a spiritual practice, mind, body and spirit. I get good results. What I do is about 75 percent behavior change, 25 percent educating people about food.

Q. What are some of the services you offer that people may not know about?

A. I meet with people by Skype. I help with emotional eating, chronic yo-yo dieting, diabetes, cholesterol. I offer tools and give accountability.

Q. When did you start your business?

A. 2009.

Q. How did your business get started?

A. I wanted control. If you work with a doctor, the office closes at five. Here, I'm able to have evening appointments four times a week.

Q. Do you have advice for anyone who'd like to start a small business in this area?

A. Follow your heart. Find your passion. Trust that you can do anything.

Q. Is there anything else you'd like our readers to know?

A. If you are struggling with your relationship with your weight and your relationship with food, know there is hope. You can learn tools to take weight off and keep it off.

Changing the way you eat can change your life.

Betsy Thurston, health coach, registered dietician




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