SpringBoard Series: Lisa Andrews, Sound Bites Nutrition

After many years of experience as a clinical dietician, Lisa Andrews launched Sound Bites Nutrition, offering nutrition counseling, meal planning, grocery store tours, corporate classes and more. SpringBoard is ArtWorks' business development program that targets artisans and creative entrepreneurs.

How did you start your business?
I originally had a business partner. We’d started talking about doing a business in August of 2007. It officially launched January 2008.

How’d you decide when to do Sound Bites full time?
My kids are getting bigger, I was starting to get burned out on the clinical side, and I realized that if I didn't do this, I'd never know if I could succeed or not. And it was starting to pick up to the point that I had regular work every week.

So, why did you decide to do SpringBoard last October?
I’ve been a clinical dietician for 23 years, working in a hospital. I’ve also been doing random consulting and teaching; I had been part time on and off, and I’ve been working outside the hospital for years. I had talked to a friend of mine who talked about seeing clients at home or a coffee shop, but she said that what really helped her was SpringBoard.

SpringBoard built my confidence, so that I realized I could actually do this—and that I was actually already doing it. The energy made me want to succeed. I thought, I’ve put time and energy into this and I need to just try it. I’ve been doing it for so long, I didn’t think I could half do it anymore.

You're transitioning away from clinical work to running Sound Bites full time. What’s your schedule like?
Insane. For the past several months, I’d use part of my lunch hour and vacation time to do lectures. Sometimes I’d see people after work or in the evenings. Now that I finally resigned, I’m going to see people around their schedule. I also do quite a bit with Kroger—store tours and consulting; they also have a [corporate] wellness program.

Many people are familiar with the basic tenets of good nutrition, but that doesn't mean they eat well. How do you give advice without sounding like a broken record?
I try to find out what the motivation is for the person to do it and what’s been successful for someone before. I also personalize my advice to find out what people will actually eat versus talking about what they can’t eat any more. We’re classically trained to be Nazis, but that makes people feel really restricted and they’re less likely to follow recommendations.

Among relatively healthy people, which misconceptions are most common?
There’s a good handful of people who starve themselves a lot and think that’s healthy. Or they avoid certain foods. It comes down to them having a poor relationship with food—it’s an all or nothing mentality.

And there’s people that exercise quite a bit but don’t fuel their body correctly, so they don’t feel as good as they could. I saw one woman who was in great shape, but the timing of her meals was off; the type of food she was eating was off. We tweaked a couple things and she felt better. I think there’s always room for improvement.

What sets you apart?
I’ve got a lot of experience and a strong clinical base. I'm also an entertaining speaker with a good sense of humor. I’m also less restrictive because of my upbringing. I’m Italian—food’s a celebration. I want people to enjoy their food, not to see it as punishment. If you come to me and you want to lose weight, great, but lets figure it out in a way that’s liveable.

Interview by Robin Donovan