Wellness is About More Than a Number on a Scale

Interview with Patrick Johnson, RD, at Open Door Health Center
By Josephine Acland

Fad diet plans are never suggested for patients at Open Door Health Center (ODHC). Patrick Johnson, Registered Dietitian at Open Door believes that cutting out major food groups or making extreme changes to one’s diet is not a sustainable route to wellness. “Weight loss and management are not as simple as measuring the number on a scale.” Patrick encourages his patients to adopt process goals rather than outcome goals. Instead of recommending that patients lose a given amount of weight he suggests they add a serving of vegetables to every meal or take a 20-minute walk three times a week. His services also include treating eating disorders, helping patient’s meal plan for themselves or a family, and teaching patients general ways to improve their diets with variety.

Before joining Open Door’s team as their registered dietitian in 2018, Patrick Johnson studied Dietetics and Exercise Science at MSU Mankato then went on to earn his Masters in Nutrition at MSU St. Paul. To those who are unfamiliar with the services offered by a dietitian like Johnson, his approach to treatment might surprise you. His approach begins by having a patient list their own behaviors and how they feel those behaviors impact their wellness. From this list, he asks patients to choose which of these behaviors they would like to keep, and which they feel able to give up. Using this information Patrick is able to customize treatment plans that fit the lifestyle of each individual.

Patrick’s favorite part of working for Open Door is the diversity of people he gets to work with; Patrick understands the importance of recognizing the needs of individuals and meeting them where they are at in a judgment-free approach. By encouraging the addition of simple, healthy behaviors rather than extreme lifestyle changes, Patrick helps patients in two ways: by taking the power away from the scale and giving way to sustainability.

Open Door Health Center is a federally qualified health center and has been providing quality medical, dental, and behavioral health care to the greater Mankato area for 25 years. Whether you have private insurance, high-deductible insurance, state aid or no insurance at all — Open Door offers affordable health care that you and your family deserve. Free legal help, assistance with insurance enrollment, and referral to resources for basic living needs (food, shelter, safety) are other services offered at Open Door. Whether you visit our clinic in Mankato or Jordan, our door is always open to you.