Reflecting on the Past Year as a Dietitian
As of July 29th, I have officially been a dietitian for a whole year! I realized my "RD anniversary" was coming up a few weeks ago and it got me thinking about how my views on nutrition have shifted over the past year. Last week was super chaotic. Between moving to a new apartment and juggling an uncharacteristically crazy work schedule, my usual routine was shot. That meant foregoing a lot of things that I enjoy. But despite being pulled in so many different directions, I was fine. I wasn't overly concerned with only eating pretzels for dinner while I unpacked. I didn't feel guilty for not working out even a single day out of the week. It was easy to show myself compassion.
Would I have felt better if I had eaten a vegetable or two and moved around a little more? Probably. That's because I enjoy those things and they make me feel good. But my point is that I gave myself room to be okay with an imperfect situation last week and it was exactly what I needed. I'm not so sure I would have been totally comfortable with that reality a year ago.
After my internship, I spent a lot of time listening to podcasts, reading books other dietitians' blogs. I had learned a little bit about intuitive eating and Health at Every Size in the my program, but really started to dive into those messages in the beginning of 2017. The more I learned about those principles, I started to notice a significant shift in my own thinking about nutrition and how to eat. It just clicked, and I knew this was not only how I wanted to practice as a dietitian, but how I wanted to live.
I think the HAES and intuitive eating messages resonated with me because as a Christian, they align closely with many of my core beliefs. I've noticed so many parallels between this way of thinking about body image, anxiety, perfection, self worth, etc and what the Bible teaches us about those things.
The world and diet culture teach us that we'll find lasting happiness in ourselves if we work hard enough. It promises us we'll find our worth in our successes, and the way we portray ourselves to others. And these messages are EVERYWHERE. They're so so hard to get away from and they leave us endlessly chasing things that will never fulfill us.
HAES and intuitive eating are the opposite of that message. Intuitive eating aims to teach us to embrace imperfections, that food should just be food, and that we should show ourselves grace when we miss the mark. HAES focuses its message on the notion that weight, BMI, etc, are just numbers and cannot define our health and worth. Those are the kinds of messages I can get behind.
Another huge reason I'm on board with these messages is that they're founded on evidence based, peer-reviewed research. It would be unethical for me, as an RD, to promote my own ideas of health just because I felt that it was the "right way." But as "luck" would have it, the research is there to back it up. If you're skeptical, read the studies, look into it for yourself and make an informed decision.
I started this blog as a way to share what I've learned as a dietitian, in a positive and personal way. I'm working to make some changes to this blog to better reflect how I choose to live and practice as an RD. I hope that the messages will resonate with others as well. As I work to make these changes I'm hoping to continue writing new blog posts on a weekly basis but that may not happen and I'm still trying to find the right balance. I'm hoping to work out all the kinks by later this fall! So keep checking in and feel free to contact me with any questions!