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Interview on Dr. Proctor, KHTS

Meet Dr. Jessica Schulman

As a registerd dietician/nutritionist with multiple degrees in health and clinical psychology, Dr. Schulman is passionate about healthy and happy living. That's why she wrote Relational Nutrition: The Psychology of Attachment and Eating Behavior. Here are just a few ideas you will find in her book:


** "Our food culture is full of symbols and language that represent a pathological relationship with food.  This is particularly true with breastfeeding infants and toddlers. There is no question that there are psychological and physiological benefits to a two year-old who is nursed.  Of course, cultural controversy persists and even health care providers are undereducated about nutrition and breastfeeding."


** "Interestingly, another practice in the U.S. is to place babies in cribs and put them to sleep with bottles and pacifiers. Not only does this allow for prolonged absences of the mother, but it also creates emotional pathways for attachments to food rather than human objects."


** "As previously discussed, in the U.S. our relationship with food tends to be dysfunctional such that we encourage indulgence while at the same time expect that youth make good choices."




Why did you become a wellness expert?


Thirty years ago, my step-father became gravely ill from complications resulting from type 2 diabetes, that were completely preventable. The doctors were undereducated about nutrition and I began to study diet therapy and disease prevention. (Refer to:  Schulman JA, Rienzo BA. The importance of physicians’ nutrition literacy in the management of diabetes mellitus.  Med Educ Online, 2001;6:6.)


How is your approach in the book different from any other diet that is out there?


I am a registered dietitian nutritionist with advanced training in health behavior, psychology, public health, and lactation.  And have discovered that optimal health and healing only happens from the “core” (or within) when we address:  (1) behavior + (2) mind + (3) nutrition.  My book, and my practice, address core psychological and emotional issues that impact nutrition behavior.  Most authors write about one aspect of nutrition or do not have the experience and training to discuss nutrition from a holistic standpoint that is grounded in science.  Without core nutrition, wellness goals cannot be sustained.


How is your training different than other nutrition and health experts?


My approach to nutrition and preventive medicine i integrative due to my experiential learning and formal education.   After graduating from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, achieved a master’s degree in public health nutrition, while completing a dietetic internship at the VA Medical Center, West Los Angeles. I completed my PhD in health behavior at the University of Florida and a master’s degree in clinical psychology.  However, my most challenging job was hybrid-schooling my daughter with special needs and being a mother. I am a huge proponent of good nutrition and take a family centered approach to wellness.  While raising my children I wrote the books:  (1) Nutrition in Sickness and in Health and (2) Relational Nutrition: The Psychology of Attachment and Food Behavior.


Can you help me to improve my nutrition health?


Today, there is more of an awareness of the importance of nutrition education among physicians, but registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) continue to be the leading experts.  People that call themselves “nutritionists” have little or no training and are generally motivated to sell nutrition products or programs that are not grounded in science.  Everyone deserves the benefit of working with a qualified RDN and I am now accepting new clients. Web:


What would you say are the most important things you can do to keep the weight off as you age?


Chose a personalized diet plan that works for you.  It must be sensible and fit your particular life circumstances.  Diets ought to be followed for the long-term, so don't start something you know you will never sustain.  You cannot cut corners -- with quick weight loss programs -- when it comes to keeping a healthy weight through the life course.


How do you keep up your nutrition and fitness?


It is very challenging!  I have a first grader and teenager with vastly different needs, three adjunct teaching positions, and writing projects that need attention. However, I find that I am at my best (physically, emotionally, spiritually) and work most effectively when I have eaten well and exercised.  I created an environment that makes it conducive to maintain good self-care.  For example, I joined a gym that is on my drive home and always keep running shoes in my trunk.  (Think of your membership fee as the best health insurance in the marketplace!)  If I only have 20 minutes free, I will use that time to exercise.  Also, I know myself well and acknowledge that I must surround myself with healthy foods or I will eat whatever is convenient when I'm in a rush -- which is most of the time.  So, please don't send me fresh baked cookies because I will eat them at every meal!  I have found that mindful eating is the key to good nutrition and may be more important to public health than reading food labels.







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