What's It Like Working With a Non-Diet Dietitian?
It takes a lot of courage to reach out to a dietitian when we are often depicted as the food police. Will you be shamed for what you have been eating? Will we take away all your favorite foods? Will wE make assumptions based on your size? Fortunately, this is the opposite of what you would experience if you were to work with a non-diet dietitian.
As ambivalent as most people are about reaching out, we know that you might be feeling really bad when you finally do. Most people are tired of struggling with food and their body. They have been subject to the fear-mongering media and don’t know what’s the truth anymore, and they often carry a tremendous amount of guilt or shame. Understanding this allows us to listen and empathize with you. In my experience, there are several common concerns that keep potential clients from reaching out for help.
We don’t lecture
One of the most important things I have learned as a dietitian is that lecturing or trying to transform people into something they're not doesn’t work. At all. Most “diet programs” don’t have your body’s best interest in mind and are too busy planning and teaching instead of listening to what the body needs. Besides, we aren't superior to you. We are just humans trying to figure out life too and want to journey alongside you. Therefore, sessions in my office resemble good conversation around a coffee table.
We understand you are terrified
I know it feels like you are going to be judged. But what I’ll tell you is that you might actually be judging me instead. For instance, it’s easy to presume that I eat kale salads all day and spend hours at the gym. In reality, I enjoy pizza as much as salad and I get enjoyable movement in my day when I can. We don’t even expect you to eat perfect. We don’t either! Judgement and shame have never helped anyone to grow.
You aren't going to disappoint us
I promise. Even if we talk about the same thing for 5 sessions in a row, you come to sessions with nothing new to share, or just can’t eat a single vegetable that week. You aren't on this journey to impress us or anyone else other than yourself. The fact that you have the desire for a healthier relationship with food and your body is enough.
You aren't going to scare or shock us with your story
In fact, we want to hear the whole story so we can develop a plan together to best help you. I’ve heard hundreds of stories in my office, each one different and unique, and all of them have been worth my time. I do this every day and these conversations are completely comfortable to me, although I'm aware that they might not be for you. My hope is to provide a space that feels safe so you can trust me with your health.
We will empower you
As a dietitian, I frequently hear apologizing or negative self-talk from my clients. It is very important for me to help them soften this shaming and bullying so that we can make forward progress. A great piece of advice I once received is to stop apologizing for who you are. Apologizing continues to cloud how you perceive your worthiness and no one wants to take care of a body they hate. When you are able to treat yourself kinder, you can then feel empowered and confident to make healthful choices.
While we might not know exactly what it’s like to be in your body, we will ask you to educate us. We won’t promise a quick fix, but prepare you for a journey. We will ask questions and some of our discussion will have nothing to do with food to encompass your whole health. You won’t be a number to us because we won’t use the scale as a measurement of health. Most importantly, we will help you discover a whole new definition of health so that you can live a happy and fulfilling life.