March is National Nutrition Month where loads of neRDs like myself celebrate healthy eating. Yesterday was Registered Dietitian Day. And due to a hectic schedule and poor planning, I’m a bit late on this post.
I’ve been fortunate to have a diverse career in dietetics, but it wasn’t always that way. I remember thinking I could never change jobs because there simply wasn’t a lot of things a dietitian could do. Even 20 years ago, most RDs worked in clinical jobs, long term care or food service. I loved my time as a clinical RD at the VA and learned a lot. But, also recognized, there was not a lot of movement for me there. When I left after 23 years, I had the same title, position and desk!
Dietitians now can work in industry with food companies, universities, hospitals, outpatient clinics, long term care, corporate venues and more. There are lots of avenues to take and it’s a very exciting field.
Here are my most rewarding things about being a dietitian.
- I love to help people. I love to see a person’s face light up when their blood sugar or cholesterol improved or they lose a few stubborn pounds. It’s in my nature to want to “fix things”, but really, I’m just the facilitator. The client is doing the work.
- I get to talk about food all day. We all eat and it impacts so much of our lives. I enjoy speaking with people about how they can make better food choices within their budget, culture, health issues and food preferences. My motto is “food should never be punishment”. If you have to hold your nose to eat something, pick something else to eat.
- I have a voice. I’m a silly person by nature and like to use humor when I write and counsel people. Being an RD has afforded me the chance to blog and write professionally.
- Science changes everything. We’ve gone from “eat frequent snacks” to maintain metabolism to “intermittent fasting may help with weight loss”. If there is one thing that is constant, it’s that nothing is constant in the nutrition world. Studies are coming out daily about food, nutrition and how if impacts our health. One thing is true- vegetables never go out of style unless there’s an e-coli outbreak.
- I am always learning. There is always more to read and experience in the nutrition world. New products are coming out and technology has changed the way we shop, cook and eat. Unless our food becomes pellets (God help us), dietitians will always have a place.