I've mentioned here before that people often brag or confess to me what they eat when they find out that I'm a dietitian. It's not always clear what I'm supposed to DO with the information they give me, but I tend to either get excited with the braggers and just laugh with the confessors.
I used to work in a local hospital, filling in for other dietitians. My first day there, one of the other staff (I think it was PT?) followed me around in the cafeteria - to see what the dietitian eats.
At a Ranger's baseball game, a friend gave a pitied look to my husband and said, "it must be a drag coming to the ballpark with a dietitian," as we looked at the food choices.
I know of another dietitian who has made it a habit to hide from casual friends what she does for a living - because people judge her eating habits.
That all feels pretty ridiculous for someone who has made it their life’s work to help people make the best food choices for themselves and their families.
Can I just take a minute to say that I'm not the food police?
I'm not here to make you feel guilty about what you eat.
Guilt and shame are really crappy emotions, and it's not my goal to produce them in you. Especially in relationship to food.
When we eat a meal together, I'm not judging you by what's on your plate.
I don't look at you like you're a project.
I'm not trying to kill the joy of eating.
Often, I'm not even paying attention to what you’re eating. I might not notice your plate at all.
But I am a health-promoter, a health coach, an educator, a counselor, a motivator, and a source of scientific knowledge.
I don't want to see you develop diabetes, heart disease or cancer.
I believe that it's good to make the best decisions we can - with the resources we have - when it comes to food.
I believe that healthy food can taste good. And that if your food tastes like cardboard, you shouldn't eat it.
I think it's good to treat yourself.
I know that what you eat is personal. What you eat is based on a lot of factors, including emotions, family tradition, convenience and your budget.
I know there is a lot of BAD nutrition advice out there that you're going to be tempted to believe.
Being a dietitian is about more than just saying, "eat this, don't eat that."
If you decide to make some changes in your life, be open to the process. It's a lifestyle change. Cliche, but true. After all, no one is looking to be healthy for a year or two. Everyone I know is looking to be healthy years from now. For as long as possible.
I have the tools and the resources to help you meet your goals. Real, practical and sustainable resources.
I don't have an easy fix, a quick pill you can take or a magic money-back-guarantee. I’m not going to ignore your mental health as you work on your physical health. If you hate your body - no matter what size it is - you’re not healthy. If you ruin your social life and can’t maintain relationships to maintain a certain “ideal weight” - you’re not healthy.
So can we just agree that I won't judge you and you won't judge me? And we can work together to make us both healthier?