Nutritionist, dietitian, marketing maven, app cofounder, bariatric surgery expert, mother — there’s not much Vanessa Rissetto can’t do. After a successful stint working in the media industry, Rissetto decided to make a career out of her passion for understanding the science behind healthy living, so she went back to school to become a registered dietitian.
In 2017, Rissetto took a chance and left her position as a Senior Dietitian at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City to launch her own practice. The career move paid off, earning her an expanding portfolio of consulting jobs, national television spots, and private clients.
Rissetto has a fulfilling career that enables her to help people in adopting a sustainable and realistic plan for healthy living. Clients look to Rissetto for her honest feedback, recognizing her personal investment in improving other people’s overall health and happiness.
Read on to learn more about Vanessa Rissetto and how her no-BS approach to healthy living has been the secret sauce behind her successful career.
Introduction by Meredith Reed
Name: Vanessa Rissetto MS, RD, CDN
Job Title: Registered Dietitian
Current home base: NYC
Originally from: Rockland County, NY (Everyone from Rockland County says they’re from Rockland — but they’re not necessarily referring to the actual town. You’d have to be from Rockland to understand.)
Your superpower: I am amazing at organization and multitasking. I can clean my house, bathe my kids, walk my dog, cook dinner, and counsel a patient on the phone, all in 45 minutes.
One thing on your bucket list: To go to India!
A woman in history you admire and why:
Amelia Boynton Robinson. She helped organize the 1965 Selma [to Montgomery] March and became famous after being beaten by Alabama police officers during the protests. She didn’t win [when she ran for Congress in 1964], but she did bring about awareness regarding voting discrimination. I did a paper on her in elementary school and I’ve always wondered why [more students] didn’t learn about her and all of her contributions to civil rights.
A present-day woman you admire and why:
Malala Yousafzai. This young 21-year-old woman risked her life in order to stand up for human rights and the education of women and children. I can’t think of someone more deserving of solidarity. She is such a role model.
Quote/piece of advice that you live by:
Only make moves if your heart’s in it! Only do things that you’re totally passionate about because if you’re not authentic, that will show in your work and how you connect with people. Since I am in an industry that requires me to motivate [other] people, this piece of advice has always rung true for me.
What inspired you to get involved with your current venture?
I always had an interest in science. After college, I lost a lot of weight just by eating healthy and exercising. I thought it couldn’t actually be that easy, so decided to take some classes to learn more.
How are you making a positive impact through your work?
I teach people on a regular basis that the goal isn’t to be perfect, or a size two, or to compare yourself to models and celebrities who have endless resources to achieve their goals. I encourage people to be realistic, understand what works for them, and work toward their goals on a daily basis without judgement — just [by providing] support. People respond to that. They want to know you’re in their corner and that you understand how they feel.
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Are you looking to make some real lifestyle changes, but just don't know where to get started? Have you always wanted to work with a nutritionist, but thought the services won't work with your schedule or budget? I am here to tell you that I have services that can help everyone! Whether it is in person, digital, a mix, etc. Shoot me a DM or email today for some more info! Looking forward to chatting with you! 😊 https://www.vanessarissettord.com/ #RDapproved
What is one thing you have accomplished through your work that you are most proud of?
I was asked to be the co-founder of the nutrition app called Fenix. It’s an app that allows participants to be connected to a registered dietitian and to receive support and nutrition advice in real time.
What is one major work-related milestone that you would like to accomplish in the next year?
I would love to be published in a nutrition book. I think it’s important to help people understand what is healthy, what they should be doing in terms of nutrition, and [the results] they can realistically achieve in [a healthy] way.
What is one project you are currently working on that you are most excited about?
An outline for that nutrition book!
What, in your opinion, is one of the biggest challenges facing your industry today?
So much noise. So many fads and gimmicks. People don’t want to admit to patients or clients that eating well and being fit takes real work. I have found time and time again that when I’m real with my clients, they appreciate it. They know I’m doing everything I can to help them reach their goals.
What is a trend in your industry that you foresee becoming popular in the future?
There are so many trends in nutrition right now. It’s hard to keep up. I think, eventually, we are going to see more and more information out there that cuts through the fluff and gives people a real-life perspective on nutrition.
What is one of the greatest challenges you have personally faced in your career?
I want to give everything to my clients, and sometimes [that means] going overboard and trying to do it FOR them. [I have had to learn that] just because someone comes to me doesn’t mean they’re actually ready to work with me. It’s taken me a long time to recognize that type of client, and [to be able to] say to them that frankly, I’m not sure they’re ready to work with me.
I’ve had many people return later, ready to work, and they acknowledge that my turning them away was actually the best thing for them. It forced them to look inside and admit to themselves what the crux of the problem was, and how they could fix it.
What were you doing before your current role?
After college, I got a master’s degree in marketing. I was working in media before I went back to school to become a dietitian.
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With me, you can live a healthy lifestyle and still eat your chocolate cupcakes…I know most nutritionists and health bloggers probably aren't posting chocolate cupcakes, but I am here to tell you don't need to cut out every guilty pleasure! Want to know how to change your life without cutting out cake, cheese, and more? Contact me today! P.S. I am posting this cupcake recipe soon so make sure to turn on my post notifications. You are going to want this recipe! #RDApproved
What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve ever received and why?
Don’t be so quick to respond to everything. Sometimes when you truly focus on what people are saying, you’re able to interpret more and give a more thoughtful response or action to what is needed.
What is one of the worst pieces of advice you have ever received and why?
“As long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters. The money will come.” That type of advice bothers me. Sure, I need to be happy with what I’m doing, but it’s also important to be realistic and remember that I have a family to contribute to.
I think that honesty, integrity, and drive will propel you forward toward success, and hopefully, that will help you make a profit. You shouldn’t have to feel bad because you’ve made money doing something that excites you in an honest way.
Can you tell us about a time when you took a huge risk and it totally paid off?
In 2017, I was tired of working for someone else, so I quit my job and started seeing clients on my own. That [decision] led to consulting projects, national television spots, article writing, and lots of freedom. I was definitely scared, but I think being slightly freaked out about your future can be [the things that] propels you forward toward success.
Is there a charity or cause you care about that you would like to share?
Imerman Angels. This organization pairs someone who has cancer with someone who has survived the same type of cancer. I think support is paramount to success, and knowing that there is someone out there who can understand what you’re going through is incredible. This organization helped a dear friend of mine, so it’s near to my heart.
Also, Storm the Heavens. In 2016, I was scrolling through Facebook and learned of a little girl named Philomena with terminal brain cancer. Her family didn’t want money or gifts. They wanted prayers, because they knew she needed a miracle. Unfortunately, Philomena passed away. Today, her family has put all of their effort toward bringing awareness to childhood cancer research and how [the research is] lacking. They also [are focused on] finding and funding a cure for DIPG [a rare type of brain tumor found in children].
Fun fact about yourself:
I played piano from the age of 4 to 18!
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