Sounds ironic? Believe me, it isn’t.
Many people think that dietitians are food police, going around judging people by what is on their plate or in their grocery cart. Others think we take all the joy out of life by forbidding burgers and prescribing carrot sticks. Couldn’t be further from the truth.
I’m a dietitian because I recognize that food is powerful. It can help make the body strong, healthy, and durable, or it can weaken the organs and promote sickness and infection. It can be the setting for many a social gathering, or it can be the focus of a solitary binge. It can be a pleasure at each meal and snack, or it can be an emotional nightmare. Food is powerful.
Many of us don’t know what to do with food. It’s a sort of love-hate relationship that causes daily turmoil. What should I eat? When should I eat? How much should I eat? We feel guilty for our food choices, and think that it is our social duty to hate our own bodies. We think that shaming ourselves with help us eat better, exercise more, and feel great. Yes, we’ve gone mad.
I am a dietitian because I want people to rediscover a love for food and themselves. It is possible to have a healthy relationship with ice cream and an “imperfect” body. Common beliefs and cultural norms are harming us; I want to undo the damage and help people overcome disordered eating, reverse chronic disease, and become their own best friend.
The next time an image of a critical, food dictator comes to mind when you think of a dietitian, replace that image with one of someone who truly cares about you and the health of your mind and body. We really do!