Why This Dietitian Looks Beyond What You Ate For Lunch

by | Jul 22, 2019 | Body Image, Eat To Thrive | 0 comments

So, what do you do?

I’m a Dietitian.

(Nervous laugh) Oh, I don’t usually eat chips/burgers/pizza/insert other stigmatised food. I’m usually a ‘healthy’ eater.

I have experienced many variations of this exchange recently when meeting new people and it has been playing on my mind. I can see why someone would have this response. It’s in the name after all – Dietitian. When the word ‘diet’ is on the table it’s not uncommon for people to think about food rules, guzzling fruit and vegetables and avoiding (perceived) ‘bad’ foods.

However, I must admit, this response makes me uncomfortable. I do not want you to feel compelled to have to justify your food choices around me. I certainly did not become a Dietitian so I could be the food police. I became a Dietitian to empower people to manoeuvre the world of food, nutrition and health in a way that enhanced their wellbeing. Essentially, I wanted to help people embrace food that made them feel good.

That is why in my work, I look at the bigger picture. Beyond food rules and diet plans. I appreciate that health and wellbeing are shaped by so much more than what we eat.

Of course, that is not to say that I can not see the value in nutrition. I just see greater value in viewing nutrition alongside other wellbeing-related factors, such as:

· Social connectedness and relationships

· Enjoyable movement

· Smoking

· Alcohol consumption

· Making time for sleep

· Body image & self-esteem

· Mental health

· Prioritising self care

These factors interplay with health, disease and eating behaviours – three areas that Dietitians help people navigate. Without consideration of these factors I would be unable to do my job effectively.

Instead, by viewing people within the larger context of their health, I am able to avoid making assumptions. I am able to see the harmful and misguided nature of making judgements based on food choices and behaviours.

Ultimately, I am able to see that whether or not you eat those chips says very little about your health.

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