I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Dammit!

On the heels of watching a video which tried to give helpful nutrition advice, but provided several unhealthy mindsets regarding food, this morning I woke up to see more non-registered dietitian nutritionists posting nutrition advice.

Here’s the thing, I get that even non-licensed professionals, with no or less training than me, have a right to give their two cents about healthy eating. I did the same thing: when I was 8 through when I was 19—I loved giving people nutrition advice! I grew up with two health-conscious parents and a father who was a doctor and an avid health nut and fitness enthusiast. I know how fun and fulfilling it is to spread knowledge and awareness of how to take better care of your body! That is why I decided to get a masters in nutrition, complete my dietetic internship, and become a registered dietitian nutritionist.

I grew a lot as a nutrition adviser from gaining this education and fieldwork. I had a deeper and broader understanding of nutrition and health. It was a great education.

But here are three things that are frustrating about becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist:

1-Being in school for nutrition dulled that spark inside of me— that loved to educate and empower people—because I was learning about all the things I DIDN’T know, and it was a humbling experience that made me take a step back in what I told people. (For example: the socioeconomics behind food, the politics, what type of research studies were more credible than others.)  It took me a year or so of practicing as a registered dietitian nutritionist to regain that intrinsic excitement I had, since it had been buried under multiple textbooks during those 3 years of graduate school.

2-It costs a lot of money and/or leads to tens of thousands of dollars in student loans.

3- This relates to the first two. After having put my own nutrition passion through the ringer, and putting in tens of thousands of dollars into my education and training as a registered dietitian nutritionist, I see people with no or little nutrition training doing exactly what I am doing now.

So, I, like my fellow registered dietitian nutritionists, work not only in our nutrition jobs, but in another job as well: educating others on what it means to be a registered dietitian  nutritionist, and how we are different from a nutritionist and/or a health coach, who may have received their certification in a matter of weeks. And even for those programs which do last a year, they do not provide the same rigorous clinical and scientific training.

Read here to find out more about what registered dietitian nutritionists do and our training process.

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