My Journey to Becoming an Intuitive Eating RD
I’ve been somewhat hesitant to write this blog, but I think it’s important so here goes nothing! I wanted to talk about why I embraced Intuitive Eating as the cornerstone of my private practice.
I found my major in nutrition and dietetics a little differently than most dietitians. I switched into the major after hating the emergency responder class (CPR on a dummy freaked me out, let alone a human) that I was required to take my freshman year as an Athletic Training major. I happened to really like my nutrition elective class, really love to eat, and generally excelled in science classes. So I switched my major to nutrition.
I wasn’t sure what I would want to do with my degree, but my advisor really pushed “going the dietetics route” and becoming an RD (as opposed to nutritional science, or general nutrition) as it would open more doors for me in the future, so I gave it a shot.
Over time in my new major I came to realize I had a notably different relationship with food than most of my classmates. If anyone knows me…I can eat. Even though I was learning all about healthful diets and chronic diseases in class, it never really changed the way I ate, because I’ve always eaten a generally healthful diet, because it makes me feel my best.
Unfortunately, some of my classmates were struggling. Largely due to all this information they were learning. Dietitians are notorious for being a Type A personality, and usually they will always try to be the best at what they do. I am one of those strange RD’s that isn’t quite Type A (but still loves a job well done) ! So I was lucky to leave college, without succumbing to diets. Phew!
I then went on to complete my dietetic internship in Denver, Colorado, which was rooted in clinical experience. After living in Denver for a year and working for free (ain’t internships grand?), I was broke and had to move back home.
When I got home, I studied for my RD exam, passed, and very quickly got a job as a clinical RD in my small hometown hospital. I knew this would not be my dream job, but I thought it would be a wise decision to expand my clinical knowledge. Here is where I have to admit… I was pretty burnt out with dietetics. I have a hard time engaging in conversations about diet—I was fed up with people asking me to tell them everything I know about the latest trendy food, or someone wanting me to give them their exact macros for their bikini bod. When talking to patients, I found myself lowering my voice as I’d say things like “you know no food is inherently ‘bad,’” or “no foods are off limits,” for fear of what my coworkers might think.
So I went to work each day, but found myself avoiding the outside dietetics world more and more. I didn’t read about nutrition, I didn’t go to conferences, and I certainly didn’t follow any dietitians on instagram. After many late-night conversations with my S.O., I finally decided to actually reemerge into the world of dietetics, but on my own terms. I wasn’t going to hide that I don’t believe in diets, weight loss supplements, or calorie-counting. I decided it was time for me to stop lowering my voice.
But as I was searching for a perfect virtual dietetics job that I could take with me wherever the struggle bus went, I realized one didn’t actually exist. This ensued more late-night chats and lots of research but I finally admitted that I would be happiest being my own boss. And just like that, 21st Century RD was born!
The first RD on the instagram world that I found was Alissa Rumsey, an Intuitive Eating & HAES virtual practitioner. Here’s the embarrassing part: I had never looked into what “Intuitive Eating” was before that. I can vaguely remember hearing the term before, in my internship, but never bothered to read up on it. Here I thought I needed to take on the world as a crazy, rebellious RD and there was already literature, evidence based research, and other RD’s out there that also hate diet culture as much as I do, and know that diets that don’t work!
The crazy part is one day after following Alissa, she posted an instagram story about having 2 spots left for her “mastermind retreat”. In the post, she goes on to explain how this is a weekend conference for any RD’s looking to start their own business.
Like, what?! I knew I couldn’t pass it up. It seemed meant to be!
The retreat lit a fire under my booty to actually start my business and get my website up and running. I also met some amazing RD’s that inspired me to get on the social media train, as it is a wonderful (and free) way to advertise.
Fast forward to now: I am currently enrolled in the Evelyn Tribole (AKA a total badass and the Intuitive Eating co-founder) Intuitive Eating counseling course. It is pretty amazing to be able to learn this stuff directly from the source. This is how I know I am pursuing my passion, because I WANTED to do this. I want to learn more, and be the best non-diet RD I can be! But as a lifelong Intuitive Eater myself, I feel I have an adequate experiential knowledge base already to start helping others take on this journey.
I know that I can’t be alone in feeling burnt out early on in my career. So instead of shutting out the professional world, I encourage you to explore more, try a different avenue of your field. I wish I had started this journey years ago! But I know I am right where I need to be at this moment.
Had you ever heard of Intuitive Eating before? Health At Every Size? Do you want to learn more? Shoot me an email, I’d love to chat!