I decided to move away from the healthy recipes and great tips for one day and be honest and real about life as a dietitian. Below are a few of the things that we have to deal with daily:
- The first thing most people ask me when we meet is; can I give them a meal plan for weight loss / weight gain or for muscle building or what is my opinion about banting. Make an appointment, just like everyone else – this is how I earn a living. It is hard enough having to compete with various weight loss products on the market that publish their amazing ‘results’ in magazines as part of the company’s marketing campaigns.
- This point goes hand in hand with the first point – we follow an individualized approach – one size does NOT fit all! So we need about an hour to do a complete assessment in a quiet and controlled environment where we guide the answers. I do not have a generic copy of information and meal plans that I hand out left, right and center to everyone I see.
- Yes, I do like food, cooking, baking and chocolates – stop staring at me when I pay for a chocolate (or something else that you consider to be ‘unhealthy’). I am a human being, just because I am a dietitian does not mean that my brain is wired differently than yours – Doctors become sick, people in a financial career can have debt, etc.
- I also have bad days – days where I crave chocolate or go to restaurants and have the chips instead of salad. I also order dessert every now and again. This will only be a problem if I do it every day and not only on special occasions.
- I have struggled with my weight – as a student and before I went to study to become a dietitian. I know how it feels and what you are going through. This was not always easy and I did not always have all the right answers.
- I am not a big fan of exercise. I have basic rules in my daily life – I always climb the stairs, I carry my shopping bags and shopping basket instead of pushing a trolley, I park further from a shopping mall’s entrance, I always walk at a brisk pace, etc. But I know exercise is good for my overall health – so I try to increase my weekly exercise levels by doing fun activities like hiking or going to the gym and alternating between strength and cardio – doing Pilates, zumba or yoga.
- I have spent countless hours reading up on the ‘latest’ research, I spent most of my nights studying (and not sleeping), I have spent days on my feet running around in hospitals and that is why I am qualified to give nutritional advice. I will not ask a banker for medical advice or a teacher to build my home or even a cashier to give me financial advice – then why are there still so many people out there that believe celebrities and your average person on Facebook / twitter, etc. when they make outrageous nutritional claims.
Being a dietitian is a career, a passion and a way of earning a living. We might not be celebrities or well-known authors, but when it comes to nutrition – trust your dietitian!