Meet the Dietitian: Liz Abel of Free + Abel
Learn how Liz Abel of Free + Abel changed careers to become a nutrition coach. Read why her Yin Yoga classes are a vital aspect of her practice.
Meet Liz Freeman Abel! Liz is an LDN who owns her private practice, free + abel. At free + abel; Liz not only offers nutritional coaching, but also Yin Yoga sessions. For Liz, her practice is not only about changing her clients’ eating habits, but changing their lives! We at Healthie had the fortunate opportunity to chat with Liz about her career so far and how she practices what she preaches!
Can you tell us about your path to becoming a LDN?
In 2010, Liz explained, she suffered a massive neck injury that left her in debilitating pain. It was this incident that lead her to decide that she was going to change her health through food. She consulted with her chiropractor to put together an anti-inflammatory diet, but the more research Liz conducted on this diet, the less clear-cut it became.
On a mission to seek out the information to help her own health, Liz enrolled in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. At the time Liz was teaching yoga, and soon, as she was able to see how her nutritional care helped her own health, she quickly began getting requests from her yoga clients to help them to do the same. In 2016, Liz received her LDN credential so she can practice nutritional coaching in the state of Delaware.
Can you tell us about your career to date?
Liz became a LDN to follow her passion after a previous corporate career. In this career, she focused on business strategy and people strategy. Liz was also a part of an initiative in corporate wellness. Her interest in behavior change from this past career has lived on in her practice. She continues today at free + abel to help her clients discover the root of what they’re looking to change and make that change in their lives.
How have you integrated yoga into your practice?
Yoga does something for the mind and spirit, Liz told us. It’s relaxing. Liz has been teaching yoga since 2009 and though she has taught many different classes, today her yoga practice centers on Yin Yoga. One unique aspect of Yin Yoga is the length of time one holds a pose – it can be for five to six minutes!
It can be difficult to hold a pose for that long. For this reason, Liz softens her clients into these poses with poetry and essential oils. When you’re holding a pose for that long, Liz said, eventually everything around you feels quiet and you’re left with your thoughts. These classes allow for her clients to get the chance to reconnect with themselves. When Liz takes on new clients for nutritional coaching, she always recommends that they try one of her Yin Yoga classes as an additional method to combat the additional stress-related causes that lead them to seek coaching.
Can you tell me a little about your decision to go into private practice?
After a successful corporate career, Liz decided that she wanted to be her own boss. In opening her own private practice, Liz was able to create the life that she wanted to live. She was able to make her own vacation days and limit the stresses that she let into her life. Liz told us, “I wanted to practice what I preach!”
What advice do you have for dietitians just getting started?
Liz admitted she did not have the most traditional career path to becoming an LDN, however she did have some advice to share for anyone young or just out of school. “Don’t take things personally,” she advised. “One of the mistakes I made is that I thought that I changed people. I didn’t change people but I created a safe space for them to make their journey. It is such an honor to be a part of people’s journeys.”
Liz also advises that young people realize that they will always be learning. They will always be students, continuing to learn, not only from their clients, but in every situation they enter into.
How do you think technology is changing the way professionals like you are practicing care?
“The tech is awesome,” Liz said. Not everyone has the flexibility in their lives to make it to in-office appointments. Telehealth options not only provide flexibility for clients, but also allow Liz to set appointments on her own schedule from anywhere she’d like. “I would love to eventually spend the whole summer at the beach!” Liz shared. With that said, Liz still prefers to have initial consultations in person.
Liz also loves using Healthie. Because she is concerned with her clients’ behavior changes, Liz has always allowed her clients unlimited text and email. With Healthie, however, she has been able to have that same contact with her clients without the bombardment to her personal devices. Healthie makes this process even easier because it streamlines all contact into one professional space. Liz said that instead of dropping everything to message clients throughout the day, she uses Healthie to communicate with her clients and it only takes about 10 to 15 minutes a day.
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