Everyone loves a good success story and Lucille Beseler, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE, lights up when sharing one in particular. President of the Family Nutrition Center in Coconut Creek, Florida, Beseler tells the inspiring story of a 15-year-old teenager who was struggling with obesity.
He came to her practice 60 pounds overweight and recently diagnosed with high blood pressure. He was also shy and bullied at school. “In one year’s time he lost 55 pounds," says Beseler who notes how he burst out of his shell and is now a star baseball player at his high school. "He ended up becoming this great advocate for good nutrition and I always think of that young man very fondly."
A native New Yorker who moved to South Florida in 1991 and quickly opened a private practice, Beseler received her bachelor’s from Queens College and a master’s in science at New York University where she was employed at a hospital and worked in pediatrics, gastroenterology and nutrition. She is passionate about children’s health and nutrition.
Beseler is the co-author of Nurturing with Nutrition (DMI 2003), a handbook on how and what to feed your baby. “We have to empower parents to teach children to eat right from day one,” she says. Beseler is quick to recognize the time and money burdens placed on families. “The best thing to teach parents is to give them the tools to put a quick, healthy meal on the table,” she says. “That means try not to take [food] out of a box and put it in another box, which is the microwave.”
Dietitians for Family Nutrition Center conducted more than 200 community, health and sports events last year, impacting more than 100,000 people. In 2012, working with Kids Eat Right, Beseler partnered with the Wyland Foundation to bring nutrition into classrooms. Children across South Florida partook in a unique exercise in goal setting to help Stella — a nearly life-size illustration of a baby right whale, created by muralist Wyland — migrate 700 miles from one end of the state to the other in an effort to draw attention to the plight of the endangered North Atlantic right whale. Although the project didn’t have a budget for RDNs, Beseler worked with a long-term wellness client to mobilize RDNs for the project, free of charge. The RDNs presented on the importance of nutrition and eating a healthy breakfast while comparing the children’s nutrition to Stella’s nutrition.
In recent years, the Family Nutrition Center has expanded to include weight management programs for children, teens and adults. Beseler advocates a simple approach. “I’m not the food police,” she says. “I’m not here to say, ‘no, you can’t eat that.’ I’m a dietitian who likes to eat.” Instead, she forms a partnership with her clients that focus on attainable goals. “I’ll say to a parent or adult, ‘why are you here today and what would you like to achieve,’” she says. Beseler will then evaluate their nutritional intake and identify a possible problem, working with her clients to improve their health and wellness.