This year for Christmas, I created my own personal themed tree. I know what you may be thinking…a dietitian’s themed tree must be decorated with fruit, vegetables, whole grains, or something along those lines. So, you may be surprised to learn that my tree is actually full of desserts. Over the years, I have been gifted (and purchased for myself) several adorable dessert ornaments. Why? Because I like, no – I love – desserts!
Yes, I am a dietitian who loves (and eats) desserts.
Based on my own experience as a dietitian, I have made several interesting observations over the years. As soon as I mention I’m a dietitian, people tend to…
- watch what I eat—and often have an opinion. If I’m eating a food considered “healthy,” I must be doing so because I’m a dietitian. If I’m eating a food considered “unhealthy,” it seems to catch people off guard.
- feel as though I’m going to judge their food choices or that I am going to try to take all their favorite foods away.
- think that since I have studied nutrition, eating healthy foods must come naturally to me, and I may not understand what it is like to struggle with making healthy food choices.
So many misconceptions! Similarly, I think we too often have untrue (and sometimes harmful) perceptions of our own diets. We look at what we eat and associate some kind of negative or positive comment with that eating experience. “I ate carrots, so I am good.” “I ate chocolate cake today, which is really bad”. We judge ourselves based on our food selections. We assume that we must always follow a strictly planned eating pattern full of healthy foods in order to be successful. We join in with the latest diet fads that promise immediate results because maybe this diet will be different than the last.
As I look at my lit tree covered in donuts and cupcakes, it is a reminder that I can help people break through those many misconceptions in order to create long-lasting health improvements. And it is an honor to me that I get to support people with that significant task.
By: Julia Blackford