Contributor Interview with Clinical Dietitian and Founder of Metro Dietetics Feng-Yuan Liu
Image credit: True Exposure Photography
Melbourne-based dietitian Yuan has a Bachelor degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Monash University. Over the years, Yuan has developed a special interest in the area of metabolic health, and has successfully helped people with diabetes, dyslipidemia, fatty liver, PCOS, obesity and other chronic diseases that have stemmed from what she firmly believes to be hormonal and metabolic imbalances.
Welcome Yuan, thank you for taking the time to speak to us. So Dietetics, has it always been your passion, where did it all begin?
To be honest – no. I always knew I wanted to work with people and help people (how cliché!) and I dreamt about being a doctor or a lawyer. To be fair, that probably had something to do with my upbringing and what I was brought up to believe were “good” occupations and “successful” occupations. In fact, I actually got into Law School!
However, it wasn’t until I went to the Uni open day that I realized how dry and boring the coursework seemed and that I wasn’t passionate enough about law to put myself through that.
My mother was actually the first person to suggest Dietetics to me. At the time I didn’t even know it was a course that existed, and I was quite resistant to look further into it. However, when I did look into it, I saw it as a way for me to potentially transfer into Med School one day. So I rejected my Law School offer, and applied for Nutrition and Dietetics.
I must admit, I didn’t always love it. As I said, I wanted to use this as a way to transfer into Med School. However, what really struck me was the fact that the classes I MOST enjoyed were in fact the nutrition classes.
As the course rolled on, I became less and less interested in the idea of transferring to Med School, and I became more and more excited about being a dietitian. It wasn’t until I started my private practice, however, that I actually developed a true passion for what I do.
Wow, always great to hear how people find their professional calling. Now from what I have been told you have adopted a different model and opinion of Dietetics, straying from the conventional approach. Can you tell us more about that?
Yes, absolutely. I have never been one to follow rules just because they were the rules. I like to question things and understand things for myself.
I like to call my approach a science driven approach to nutrition. Not guidelines driven. Not rules driven. But science driven.
I believe that dietetics SHOULD be the application of nutrition science in improving health outcomes of clients, independent of or as an adjunct to, traditional medical therapy. However, what dietetics has become is a passive “management” of lifestyle conditions that have been first and foremost referred to for medical therapy.
I believe that obesity and modern day chronic diseases are SYMPTOMS of metabolic disturbances and hormonal imbalances. Instead, conventional dietetics sees obesity and chronic diseases as DISEASES, and the management is done on a superficial level, and not at the root-cause level. I mean, conventional dietetics tell you to manage obesity by getting the client to lose weight. We all know that needs to happen, but telling someone who is obese to lose weight is like telling an alcoholic to drink less alcohol. It just isn’t as simple as that!
So, against conventional wisdom, I treat the root cause – I treat the hormones. I treat the metabolic disturbances. I get to the root of why obesity and chronic disease develops and I help people reverse they situation.
Fantastic that sounds like a logical approach, is it received well within your profession and by the public, and are people seeing the results?
It can be a tough battle to justify my beliefs within my profession, but it’s not a battle I am willing to engage in. Instead, my mission is to educate the public and to help my clients with their health.
Collectively, we have had some amazing results. This year alone, we have clients who have lost 50+kg in less than a year; we have clients who have successfully resolved their fatty liver disease without any medication; we have clients who have sent their type 2 diabetes into remission, so much so that their GP has taken them off their insulin AND medications; we have women who have battled with PCOS and endometriosis all their life now living pain free and finally seeing consistent weight loss which they have never seen previously; we have individuals who have lived on Nexium (for reflux) for as long as they can remember, and are now living symptoms free without it; we have cyclists who are able to lead the pack in 400+km long rides without needing to refuel in between with sugary gels and drinks, and are recovering with no muscle soreness the very next day.
I would like to think that these examples are indicative enough that we are getting some compelling results.
So let’s talk about Metro Dietetics, how did that begin?
I started Metro Dietetics almost 8 years ago as a new graduate, straight out of Uni. I had done a stint at a large Metropolitan hospital and I really didn’t enjoy the fact that I had very little time with my patients, and made virtually no impact on their long term health. I wanted a platform where I could help prevent patients from ending up in hospitals and I wanted to be able to make a positive impact on their life and inspire positive change.
With that vision, I decided to go out on my own and set up Metro Dietetics. Although I was only a sole practitioner at the time working as a contractor out of other medical clinics, I always knew that one day I wanted a space to call my own and a team of practitioners who all share my vision and passion for health.
After a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work, in February this year, we opened the doors of Metro Dietetics HQ and we now have a team of 7 practitioners and 1 intern! We cover all areas of health, including nutrition, exercise and sleep, and I cannot be happier to see my vision from all those years ago unfold right before my eyes!
Wow what an exciting journey! So it’s not just Nutrition but you have different practitioners on board too?
Absolutely! We have 4 dietitians, a nutritionist, an exercise physiologist and a sleep therapist. We all work together, learn from each other and support each other towards our individual goals, as well as our collective vision in health care.
As much as we all have a specific niche area of interest, the one thing that is shared by all our practitioners is the passion for what we do. We all love our jobs! We also function as a team, working collaboratively to help educate and inspire our clients to make the right changes for their health. It becomes so rewarding when they start seeing results they have never seen before, simply because we were able to look at the client as a whole package, and not just for the superficial symptom of “weight gain” or “cravings” they come in to see us about.
So education and a holistic approach to exercise, nutrition and life, I love it. So for everyone looking for information of what you do at Metro what is the best way to contact you?
Our HQ is located in Melbourne’s Inner Northern suburb of Thornbury at: 72 Wales Street, Thornbury VIC 3071
Our phone number is (03) 9484 1990
You can find more information about us at our website on: www.metrodietetics.com.au
We are also on Facebook: www.facebook.com/metrodietetics
And we share lots of amazing tips and photos to help guide our clients on their journey towards better health via our Instagram: @metrodietetics
Excellent, thanks Yuan for the interview!