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Dietitian Confessions

5 Confessions of a Registered Dietitian

The following post was originally featured on Fannetastic Food, which is part of POPSUGAR's influencer network.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Sheila Gim

I can't believe it has been 4 years since I became an RD — I've officially been a dietitian longer than the amount of time it took me to become one, which is cool. Since I changed careers to become a dietitian and was coming from an unrelated field, it took me a total of 3.5 years to complete the prerequisites, required science-heavy coursework, and internship hours required to sit for the RD exam. Whew!

In December 2012, I graduated with my Masters of Public Health in Nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and in February 2013, I passed the RD exam and shortly after started my own nutrition coaching private practice at!

Image Source: Fannetastic Food

I'm not your typical dietitian in that I tell clients to quit calorie counting and throw away their scales and stop following rigid diet plans (because being healthy means not always being healthy, in my opinion). I love helping others to improve their health in a balanced, sustainable, and non-stressful way through intuitive eating — so much so that besides focusing on it in my private practice, I also created a virtual non-diet intuitive and mindful eating group program last year called Joyful Eating, Nourished Life!

I thought it would be fun to share some confessions of a registered dietitian. Enjoy, and please feel free to include your own (whether you are an RD or not) in the comments!

1) I can't even remember the last time I packed lunch

When I was working in offices back in the day, and when I was in grad school full time, I used to pack lunch almost almost every single day. Now, as you've probably noticed by the fact that I haven't shared a packed lunch idea in ages. I almost never pack my lunch, even though I work outside of the house at my co-working space in the city two to three days per week.

I often head straight to my co-working space from a workout class, so my backpack is not only stuffed with my work stuff (laptop, notebooks, etc.), but also all my sweaty workout gear (shoes + clothes) and shower stuff. Unless I got a HUGE backpack there's no extra space for food (besides snack bars), and I'm really not interested in also carrying a heavy lunch box on top of all that other stuff.

But most importantly, there are tons of delicious fast casual places in DC near my co-working space that I want to enjoy! So I treat myself and refuse to feel guilty about it, even though it's obviously more expensive. :)

Image Source: Fannetastic Food

2) I'm terrible at meal prep.

I know, a dietitian that sucks at meal prep — crazy, right? I know some people swear by meal planning and prep, but for me, it just feels overwhelming and limiting — and I never want to spend hours over the weekend in the kitchen prepping food. I've found that what works for us is to:

  1. Have a few "wing it" dinner ideas that we always have the ingredients on hand for in the fridge/freezer/pantry (things like my saucy tomato artichoke chicken, or my recent fave Sheet Pan Asian Salmon — or there's always breakfast for dinner).
  2. Get Sun Basket (affiliate link for 3 free meals) or a similar service every week to cover 3 of our dinners and so we get to try new-to-us meals.
  3. Have ingredients on hand for my go-to easy breakfasts (like my Perfect Microwave Banana Oatmeal and Flour Free Breakfast Pancake) and lunches when working from home (I usually make a grain bowl with greens, grains, beans, avocado, and random veggies).

I actually have a blog post coming up on easy pantry meal ideas/things to have on hand to be able to throw together easy meals without prep, so stay tuned for that.

Image Source: Fannetastic Food

3) I think cooking shows are boring.

I know I might be in the minority on this one, but I think cooking shows are really boring. Enough said. Travel/adventure shows, on the other hand? Love them. I'm also partial to teenage drama series that I probably shouldn't be watching as a woman in my thirties, but I do anyway. Bonus points if they have vampires and/or werewolves involved.

4) Sometimes I don't take my own advice.

I write a lot about eating mindfully without distractions (and why you need to take a lunch break), and on listening to your hunger and fullness cues. But you know what? I'm human and certainly not perfect, and while I aim to take my own advice most of the time, sometimes I don't. And that's okay too. Sometimes I just really, really enjoy eating a meal in front of the TV. And sometimes I don't plan ahead as well as I should have and I get a little too hungry (HANGRY) in the afternoons. Sometimes I have dessert or a few more bites of that burger and fries or another glass of wine, even though a little more will probably leave me feeling a little too full.

Image Source: Fannetastic Food

5) I get tired of people judging my food choices after I tell them that I'm an RD.

This one drives me especially crazy because, as an intuitive eating/"everything in moderation" RD, it bugs me even more that people assume I'm basically the food police (or on some sort of strict diet, or ready to put them on some sort of strict diet) because I'm a dietitian.

Inevitably, if I tell someone I'm an RD, especially if we are eating a meal together, the other person immediately makes assumptions and comments about what I'm about to eat or am already eating. Things like: "Oh, I better not eat bread in front of you!" or "I can't believe you're eating that burger!" or "Of course you're having a salad!"

It's all I can do to smile and explain that yes, I'm a dietitian, but I focus on intuitive eating and no, that does not involve restricting calories or food groups. Whatever I'm eating, "healthy" or not, is because I actually want it in that moment. I know people have good intentions and are just making conversation — but I'm so ready for the "food police" stereotype to be over with.

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