How I Became A Non-Diet Dietitian
I’ve shared a snippet of My Intuitive Eating Story on the blog, but today I’m pulling back the curtain to show you what it’s been like becoming a non-diet dietitian. From my initial interest in nutrition to my dietetic internship at Vanderbilt, and my first job as a health coach in corporate wellness. Here’s where I got to where I am today!
Becoming A Non-Diet Dietitian
Just so we are on the same page, I call myself a non-diet dietitian because I stand for:
- Health At Every Size (HAES®)
- Weight Inclusive Care
- Non-Diet Approach to Health
Focusing on weight backfires. Instead, focusing on behaviors (not weight) is freeing and empowering. Learn more about the non-diet approach to health here.
My Initial Spark For Nutrition
It all started on the soccer field (and swimming pool). I played competitive soccer and swam from early childhood through high school. My earliest memories of paying attention to nutrition correlate with sports.
I can remember a soccer coach saying that chocolate milk was an excellent post-workout fuel, and my interest peaked. I wanted to know why. Why was it the perfect ratio of carbs to fat?
I focused on fueling my body with wholesome and healthy foods to improve my sports performance. When I learned that this was something I could help others with, I immediately knew I wanted to become a dietitian.
A Complicated Relationship With Food
My innocent interest in nutrition turned complicated in high school. My friends and family referred to me as the “healthy” one, but inside I was depriving myself.
I started to identify with this label and wanted to maintain “perfect” health and wellness. My eating habits became restrictive and disordered. I feared eating certain “unhealthy” foods and tried to get by on the bare minimum amount of calories. I weighed myself frequently and had intense fear and anxiety if the number on the scale crept up.
As for my sports performance…it started to plummet. I couldn’t finish a tough conditioning practice or long endurance event anymore.
I include this low-point as part of my journey because it’s why I now feel so passionate about working in the Intuitive Eating space.
Undergraduate Education In Dietetics
As I worked to heal my own relationship with food, I continued studying to become a dietitian. I majored in Dietetics and minored in Psychology at Indiana University.
As my fellow dietitians and RD2BEs would agree that the path to becoming a dietitian is not a walk in the park.
My class schedule included organic chemistry, anatomy, physiology, and food chemistry. Yes, dietetics is the one career where one lab you’re baking a loaf of bread for the perfect texture, and the next lab you’re identifying the tendons on a cadaver (eeeeek, but true).
My favorite classes included physiology to understand how the body works and Complementary and Alternative Approaches to Medicine (CAM) — where we learned the benefits of yoga. Fun fact: somewhere in there I did become a registered yoga teacher, too!
The Dietetic Internship
Completing a year-long dietetic internship is a crucial (and competitive) step for becoming a registered dietitian. It includes at least 1,200 hours of supervised practice in the community, food service, and clinical settings.
I felt fortunate to complete my dietetic internship at my #1 choice: Vanderbilt University Medical Center. I calculated tube feeds, led wellness presentations, created diet education materials, and worked with patients in pediatrics to geriatrics. While I loved supporting patients through trauma and disease, everything clicked for me with outpatient counseling and 1:1 health coaching.
After I passed the RD exam, I began working as a health coach in the corporate wellness setting.
Becoming A Health Coach
As a health coach, I’ve coached hundreds of individuals through various wellness topics including weight management, stress management, personalized nutrition, physical activity, heart health, and sleep hygiene. I’ve always loved that health coaching focuses on the whole person, not just nutrition. Health is so much more than the food we eat!
As I worked with more and more people, I couldn’t ignore the nudge of my intuition telling me to niche down and work with women recovering from disordered eating and yo-yo dieting. I felt called to help these women transform their relationships with food because I knew from personal experience how life-changing it could be.
In 2020, I decided to start my private practice (yes, the year of a pandemic) and combine my counseling, coaching, and mindfulness skills all in one. And I haven’t looked back since!
Today, I’m a non-diet dietitian specializing in Intuitive Eating and Mindfulness. I help women ditch diets forever and reclaim their energy, confidence, and freedom with food. It lights me up to watch my clients go from restricted eaters to food freedom rockstars.
I’m committed to ongoing education and sharing what I learn with YOU! My goal is to create free education (like the blog posts you find here) and exclusive content on Instagram to help more people find Intuitive Eating and experience food freedom wins.
Then the real magic happens in 1:1 Nutrition Coaching. If you’re interested in working together, schedule a free discovery call today!