I thought once I learned all of this cool nutrition stuff that clients and others would be excited to hear all about it, as excited as I was to learn it. Fours years undergrad with a ton of sciences plus a year in the field unpaid with grad classes; I was more than eager to utilize my new degree.
I was ready to give out nutrition therapy for any diet plan related to a specific disease. I thought people really wanted to know what they could (and should) eat to help their disease or heal their body or feel better. As I jumped further into my field I realized how much people rely on google for nutrition advise and more daunting now, social media “nutritionists”. I’ve had to sort through how best to tackle ALL of the diet trends as they cycle through: remember Atkins, blood type diets, weight watchers, sugar busters, now Noom and keto and all plant based and other high protein nonsense are all the rage.
I felt like I wasn't truly using my credentials to their fullest. The information I possessed was getting lost in translation. In those early years I didn’t quite understand how valuable it was to listen. I didn't talk the whole time during a session but I definitely did not practice great listening skills or much empathy. I was 23.
Along the way, through trial and error I realized nutrition therapy is to listen. It is not always about the food you eat but how you feel or how you go about it. Your thoughts and patterns around eating are so ingrained and so learned over time that even acknowledging necessary change is hard for many.
Nutrition is so much more than getting in enough protein (or any macro-nutrient for that matter), more than an 1800 calorie diet, (or 1200!! eek!) it is more than lowering your sugar intake or increasing your fiber –its simply YOU! It is your beliefs and values, lifestyle, family make up, food likes and dislikes and trends, movement patterns, heredity, mental health and everything else that makes you you!
In the past 10 years or so when I connect with a client for the first time I am trying to take all of that in. I am trying to get to know you and figure out where food fits in to your life. I want to be able to look at your eating habits through your eyes and see how you think about food. Every single person has their own unique view and it is fascinating. It takes a lot of patience, practice, hard work, active listening and remembering combined with years of experience and knowledge from keeping up on continuing education.
One thing has not changed since I was 23 and just passed my RD exam is I truly want and feel like I can help you. It was not learned or taught because it is part of my personality. Also, I am not blunt, bold or judgy (maybe a little sarcastic) so don’t expect that from me. If you tell me you are on the next XYZ diet to come along I will not shame you or the diet. I will try to learn more about what you like about it, what is working and why. I will always listen. I will make you think. I will give honest and sound information and examples with a ton of perspective specifically for you. It won't be easy, because nothing worth doing ever is. I promise you it will be worth it.