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In Defense of Food: 10 Things Dietitians Do




Today, we celebrate those who spend a lot of their life helping others find ways to improve on their own. It is one of the only careers focused on prevention rather than treatment. It is also a rare career in that, while we learn so much about food and food science, a lot of us spend the larger part of our days counseling and motivationally interviewing families. You don't need someone to tell you to eat more veggies, but you may need someone to help you figure out a plan that is feasible for you. Or, let's say your child can't eat by mouth, someone needs to be sure they are getting sufficient calories and nutrition from tube feedings. Do they have CF or Diabetes? Maybe someone needs TPN (or IV nutrition) who should calculate those macronutrients?

An RD is so much more than a foodie who majored in what outsiders may view as home economics. I haven't worked in a cafeteria since college and have no clue what the hospital is offering today. We are scientifically trained, chemically educated (too many Chemistry classes in my opinion), Master's degree holding, clinically trained, healthy eating counselors who really want to see YOU succeed. If there was a special diet pill, we would be the ones who wanted you to have it! Why? A) we'd be rich B) we really want success for you! But, there isn't. Living a healthy, well balanced life takes a lot of hard work and planning. There's no magic and any restrictive diet or special trick that tell's you other wise is a scam---which is why no one likes the dietitian--- it's why people love Paleo, and gluten free, and Atkins, and every other drastic plan out there. The truth is a hard preventative pill to swallow. 

We get a bad rep of "food police" but of all the dietitians I know (which is a lot), we don't usually notice what other people are eating, unless we have been asked to pay attention. Eating is a very personal experience, unique to each individual. It's also an art. Which is why it feels so invasive when someone (a dietitian) tries to change a person's eating habits. We don't spend our time invading your privacy by judging your food intake. Honestly, we just want to eat our own lunch in peace and pray you don't make a "healthy- you're- being- so- good" comment. But, some people are genuinely interested in what Dietitians eat...If you are, next time you eat with an RD, instead of viewing a dietitian as someone who judges what you are eating, relax, and if you want to, take note of how they plan their meals. Is it a piece of pizza + a huge side salad instead of 3 pieces of pizza? Do they have a lean protein and plenty of veggies? Did they pack it? Did they have dessert? 

I have observed dietitians eating/exercising/celebrating for over 4 years now and there are really profound consistencies. Here are some things I have noticed we all have in common:

1) A fruit or vegetable is at every meal, usually a fruit + a few vegetables
2) There is always a source of lean protein
3) We drink mostly water, never sugary drinks!
4) All of us regularly exercise  
5) Occasionally, we have a treat that's worth it- no store-bought cookies or crummy stale cakes- and then adjust the day accordingly. Mostly because we all really love food and are pretty good in the kitchen so we bake some pretty great treats! We notice if it becomes an every day thing, then cut back. Some of us struggle with portion control and sweets too!
6) We always pack lunch and a snack and rarely eat out. If we do eat out, it's for an occasion and not a drive thru. 
7) We eat regularly scheduled meals and plan for splurges. We know we would make terrible mid-afternoon snack choices if we skipped lunch!
8) We don't have cheat days or cheat meals, but understand that eating should be enjoyed. We actually enjoy vegetables and special treats. 
9)We focus on healthy cholesterol and healthy weight vs. appearances and know when to reign in our own eating habits because we constantly evaluate them. 
10) Most of us keep track of each day in some way to help us stay on track, (whether mentally or on a tracker) but we do not use trackers in a restricting calorie way. 

Interested in learning more about what a dietitian does? Read this article.
In honor of being a dietitian, check out a few of these RD bloggers I just love to follow!

Leave a shoutout to your favorite RD blogger below!

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