Dietician Amy Sercel ‘14 doesn’t believe in calorie counting,
“My goal is to help people use their internal cues to guide their eating habits,” she said.
Sercel is an on-campus dietician. She offers drop-in office hours at Living Well in the Davis Center to work with students on their relationship with food.
Sercel received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in nutrition at UVM. However, her interest in food began in high school.
“I was always really into cooking and food,” Sercel said. “When thinking about a career path, I always knew I wanted to do something health related. My mom suggested that I look into nutrition.”
During her time studying at UVM, Sercel felt compelled to get into the nutrition counseling aspect of her field.
“I realized I wanted to create those one-on-one connections with people and help them on a more individual level, rather than on a public policy level,” Sercel said.
Sercel promotes intuitive eating, which goes against the traditional aspects of dieting like calorie counting and weight restrictions.
Sercel described intuitive eating as a more personal and natural approach to eating.
“[Intuitive eating] encourages people to listen to their own bodies and use their own internal hunger and fullness cues to guide their food choices,” she said.
Sercel believes other universities should offer
“College is such a fun place to be a dietician because students are in the learning mode, and it’s usually their first time away from a parent or caregiver that’s previously been in charge of making the food,” she said.
Sophomore Natalie Weidick said she believes in the necessity of an on-campus dietician.
“It’s hard to learn, by yourself, how to feed yourself,” Weidick said. “And, how to feed yourself with the right things for your own body.”
Weidick added her personal experience with diets and their effect on her.
“I am very anti-diet,” she said. “I grew up in a family of dieters and that definitely gave me some food problems throughout my school years.”
Sercel’s general advice for college students trying to lead a healthy lifestyle is to listen to their bodies and try new foods with curiosity in mind.
“Let yourself experience lots of different foods and see how they make you feel, and know that it’s okay if you try a food and you don’t love the way it makes you feel,” Sercel said.
Sercel’s drop-in office hours are 30-minute time slots. Students can also schedule an appointment through UVM Student Health Services, depending on their needs.
She said her meetings with students are informal and individualized from student to student.
“I usually ask the student if they have any questions for me and then we’ll go from there,” Sercel said.
“We’ll talk about what [the students] have eaten within the last 24 hours,” she said, “I’ll ask them about what foods they don’t like, won’t eat or foods they have a bad reaction to.”
Sercel said wanting to hear about students’ appetites, relationship with food and any other questions that they might have.
“If you have even one question about nutrition, that is enough to come in to talk to me,” Sercel said. “I am happy to help people navigate eating on campus or off campus.”
To make an appointment with Sercel, students can visit mywellbeing.uvm.edu or call 802-656-3350.