An Open Letter: What Dietitians Do (me)

diaryDear Public,

Hold on to your hats. A rant is coming. Well kind of. But it’s from the heart ;)

A couple of weeks ago a debate/discussion/argument ran in social media. It wasn’t really a new debate. However, it’s taken me a little while to decide how I feel about the whole thing and to write about it.

I went through a range of emotions. &%%$$$ off. Then confused. Then Really Sad.

Then just over it and couldn’t care less.

Now. I’m kind of reflecting on What Dietitians Do…

Let me give you the background info

One fine morning I awoke to an email to a link to Pete Evan’s Facebook page. Pete, a Celebrity Chef, had made a comment asking for support from Australian Dietitians to work together to change the Australian Dietary Guidelines (that’s great right?). However at the same time from comments posted, there seemed to be an underpinning feeling that Dietitians ain’t what they are cracked up to be. That we are promoting processed and packaged foods by the big multinationals.

For Pete’s Facebook post click here post has now been deleted!
For a rebuttal from Larina Robinson (Dietitian) click here

Both are good reads for loads of reasons :)

I don’t feel like there is anything I can add to the debate on the Dietary Guidelines. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion on what they should eat and their opinions of the Dietary Guidelines. I am sure these will evolve over time just as our eating and food supply has.

There will always be opposing views in science and that’s fun –  particularly with nutrition as things do change from time to time (read my post on dietary dogma here).

BUT….

My thoughts now….

Personally. I don’t really care if someone is Paleo. Vegan. Vegetarian. Gluten Free. Dairy Free or ANY KIND OF FREE.

I’m also not that fussed about discussing the Australian Dietary Guidelines. Or the Plate or the Pyramid.

All I care about is that my clients are happy with what they are eating and their health.

See some. Well, a lot of Dietitians, don’t actually “tell” or even “encourage” people what to eat. We work with them based on their food ethos, what the science tells us and what the client wants to change. Together we work through a solution that matches the client.  If someone wants advice on specific food products, I can talk through a few solutions or examples and discuss the pros and cons of each.  The key though is OPTIONS need to be discussed and it’s not ONE SIZE FITS ALL.

So I guess all I really what I want is for people to know is what I (Christina) actually do most days.

I thought it might be helpful to tell you about my typical client:

History

  • Long term binge eater
  • Stressed. Sometimes suffering from issues such as depression and/or anxiety
  • Not sleeping much
  • “Apparently”, larger than the “suggested” weight for their height
  • Years of following diets – all different kinds. Low Carb/Atkins, Vego, Paleo, Low Calorie, Fat Free, Dairy Free…

Advice Given by Me

  • how to access support and help for the “hard stuff” in their life
  • how to listen to hunger
  • how to eat mindfully – slowly – with awareness that is
  • how to plan meals and shopping to cope with extra stresses
  • how to explore and decide what foods they like to eat and cook
  • how to include a variety of foods in their diet to maximise vitamin and mineral intake
  • how to start to move their body in a way that feels good to them
  • how to nurture themselves with self-compassion
  • that’s pretty much it

Advice NOT Given by Me

  • which brands of foods THEY SHOULD BUY
  • which KIND OF EATING style they should follow (e.g. paleo. dairy free, vegan or anything else)

 

I guess I’m worried people won’t now seek help from me or other Dietitians because they think we will make them eat something made by Campbells, Arnotts, Unilever, Nestle or anyone else.

That just makes me feel a bit sad.

yours truly

Christina (Accredited Practising Dietitian/Accredited Nutritionist)

 

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