I recently read an article about how Dietitians are not sexy. My colleagues, friends and myself have often had similar discussions. As Dietitians we have a sound and important message to promote, backed by science, evidence and experience, but people are not that interested in hearing it – it’s just not sexy enough! Yet, as soon as a celebrity says anything about nutrition, it is like gospel (I’m thinking Pete Evans and Gwyneth Paltrow just off the top of my head – apparently Gwyneth has recently gotten involved in other areas as well and has been been singing her praises about steam cleaning your vagina – I welcome her advice on acting, but lifestyle advice – maybe leave to the experts. You can read about what I mean here: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jan/30/sorry-gwyneth-paltrow-but-steaming-your-vagina-is-a-bad-idea )
Anyway, I have also recently read an article about why Dietitians should in fact be sexy. And it got me thinking. Thinking about how great Dietitians are. We need to be a little more vocal about our abilities, and do a little more self-promotion because we truly are the experts when it comes to eating right. And being an expert in something does not mean that we are boring, have our hair pulled back in hairnets and wear white lab coats. We don’t have to be completely prim and proper to command respect. We just need to be knowledgeable in our area of expertise. And guess what? We are.
And whilst this is probably not happening in every hospital (although it might be) here are my thoughts on why Dietitians ARE bringing sexy back.
Dietitians are just like you; regular people that you see at cafes, in the supermarket and even sitting next to you at the movies with an ice-cream and carton of popcorn. We don’t do all our grocery shopping at Organic stores and expensive Farmer’s Markets and we certainly don’t spend our lives making all of our own almond milk and eating only raw foods. Guess what? I had grains and dairy for breakfast. Miraculously I haven’t grown a third arm or become so bloated that I couldn’t fit into my jeans…
Dietitians are armed with the TRUTH. We won’t try and sell you a fad or promise that you will drop 5 kg of belly fat in one week and charge you the earth for it. Sorry. But that’s only because losing 5 kg of belly fat in one week is just not possible. We will however equip you with the tools and ability to make informed decisions about your every day food choices
We have studied for 5+ years. That means we are super smart. And because we spent so long at University it means that we definitely had a lot of practice drinking and can help you choose the lowest calorie drinks. It also means that we know about more than just ONE type of diet. We understand that a low carb or Paleo diet might work for person A, but it might be completely rubbish for person B. We understand about time constraints and budgets – we won’t pressure you into spending all of your disposable income on fancy ingredients or make you spend all of your free time slaving in the kitchen.
We are NOT the diet police. And as such we won’t throw our hands up in despair if you ate a block of chocolate or forgot to have your raw organic green smoothie at breakfast. I don’t use the term ‘cheat meal’ because I believe that having treats as part of healthy eating is normal. Calling it a ‘cheat meal’ or ‘cheat food’ leaves us thinking that we have done something wrong and creates poor relationships with food. Dietitians will encourage you to have the foods you like, in suitable amounts for your lifestyle so that you can enjoy them and move on without any of the associated guilt of ‘cheating’.
Just because someone posts ab selfies does not make them experts in nutrition.
Lucky for them they may be ‘blessed’ with a body type that allows some ab definition. It does not mean that their diet is particularly healthy. I am not sure that I will ever have visible abs, and I’m not sure how many Dietitians actually do as we don’t tend to judge each other’s ability as a Dietitian by looking… What I am trying to say here is that we come in different shapes and sizes, and the stereotype that we are all rakes that eat carrot sticks for lunch is a myth.
Next time you are out and see someone normal looking walking down the street and think ‘wow, they look great’ it might just be a Dietitian. Makes you think, huh?