Meet Shane Clack MS, RDN, LD! Shane is a Texas-based dietitian with his own private practice, North Texas Nutrition Consultants! Shane specializes in helping clients with eating disorders and works with them to help them achieve their natural healthy weight, especially men battling Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and Anorexia Nervosa. He has just recently opened up his practice to offer Telehealth as a way to maintain a connection to clients looking for additional support between in-office sessions to help them achieve the health goals. We at Healthie are so lucky to have Shane in our Healthie community. Hear about his incredible journey to becoming a dietitian and see what advice he has to share!
Tell us about your path to becoming a dietitian!
It was a long one! Not just a path but a road with winding switchbacks. I have always been interested in nutrition since about my senior year in high school. I would say it was much more an obsession then interest. I was overweight the majority of my life until around my junior year in high school. During my junior year I started losing weight due to increasing my exercise, and eating little amounts of food. I pushed myself for weight-loss because I wanted to play on a college tennis team. I knew that if I was heavier I could not move as well on the court. I continued to lose weight rapidly and the compliments started pouring on, from peers, family, strangers. Anyone that knew me could tell that I was working hard and looking better but they couldn’t see the battle that was going on inside. From about my senior year in high school to my senior year in college I moved about the eating disorder world from one disorder to another…Anorexia, Bulimia with purging and without, Body Dysmorphia, back to my old friend Bulimia, all while tangoing with alcohol and depression.
I went into college with the ambition of becoming a math teacher and tennis coach. After two years of basics and a few introduction classes within the math department, I knew it wasn’t for me. After a few rabbit trails I finally made my way to the Nutrition Department. I thought, “What the heck, I like to eat and nutrition should be easy.” After finishing some leveling courses to get up to speed with the other junior level students I began finding that the nutritional sciences were not as easy as I had thought. All during my classes I learned about how food fuels the body and how important it is for development but I never connected what I had learned and implemented the concepts in my own life. All the side effects of binging and purging and anorexia read in the textbooks did not pertain to me. Honestly, I never saw a dietitian for my eating disorders until I was well out of school and it was never personally, just during my internship. Because of my own battles with eating disorders I saw how dietitians helped others and the positive impact that the dietitian had on them.
Hundreds of dietitians I know have these great stories on why they became a dietitian. I don’t feel that I had a clear path. Basically I could sum it up to say: I had problems, I understood what it was like to have those problems, I loved people and found them extremely interesting, I was a great listener and empathizer, I loved how food could bring people together, I loved educating people, I became a DIETITIAN.
Tell us all about North Texas Nutrition Consultants! What is your approach to care?
Our approach is patient-centered. We want the patient to feel that they are healing their mind and body. That is why I love the saying “Treating the person, not the disease.” Some people move faster with nutrition counseling and some people move slower. Our goal is not to force the person to make changes. We want to understand the person so that the connection is built for trust. I tell my clients that the first appointment is the “Getting to Know You” phase. Do you like me, do you want to work with me, and do our personalities mesh. All these things are extremely important when you are looking for a dietitian. If you do not trust the dietitian you will not be truly willing to give in and accept the nutritional counseling process. I don’t pride myself on much but listening is one of my best traits. I understand when to push the client and I understand when to back off and give them space to breath. Overwhelming the care process only makes for bad outcomes.
What are your three favorite things about your career?
- Human Connection/Interaction
What advice do you have for dietetic students just graduating / completing their internships?
Its not like it is in the textbooks! You have to get out there and find your way. You never fail; you just gain more experience on what you don’t want to do or what not to do.
How do you think technology is changing the way dietitians are practicing care?
Technology is an exciting new way to bring people together. I feel, in the Healthcare field, we are only seeing a brief sampling of what technology is going to be able to do as far as advancing provider care. I know that a majority of medical professions have started dabbling with TeleHealth. I have read several articles about dietitians incorporating TeleHealth into their practice. It seems that this new technology has shown great outcomes. I do offer TeleHealth in my practice but only within the state of Texas at this time. A majority of my clients prefer, face to face. However; this busy world that we live in makes TeleHealth an extremely convenient tool for patients. I think using this technology depends on if the dietitian has a speciality and if that speciality lends itself to a face-to-face approach or a tele-approach. Personally, because I specialize in eating disorders, I prefer the face-to-face approach for these clients. However; this is not to say that this would be extremely useful if I have a client who travels for work, goes off/back to college, or even moves states and wants to continue under my care. I think it is an exciting time to be a dietitian and technology can make a huge difference. I do believe that we have to be mindful not to let the technology overshadow the emotional connection that our patients need.
Why are you excited about using Healthie?
Healthie is a great platform and I have only begin to use all the features that it offers. The most exciting things from Healthie that I find are the scheduler, the text message reminders, and the option to fax progress notes and assessments to referring providers. The fax option provides a great continuity of care that some practices lack. It my personal use, I have seen where referrals have increased from providers just because I send them follow-up notes. The referring providers appreciate that the dietitian is taking care of their patients. I do not currently use the billing function but have investigated the user functionality. The billing function is very user friendly and allows for the process to be extremely efficient.