Before I started my internship, my only knowledge about how dietitians handle nutritional counseling was really from the professors at school. In class, they show a more black and white approach to nutrition but from observing Amy I have learned it’s more shades of gray. So I am going to share with you some common misconceptions some people believe about dietitians.
The first thing I really observed was how dietitians construct such personalized plans. Amy takes the time to talk to each client about his or her routine and works the plan around it. A “one size fits all” plan does not exist. While I knew to calculate the amount of calories for each meal plan, I didn’t know just how customized it should be. Amy asks what foods you eat on a normal basis and fits those in rather than giving out a standard plan.
While shadowing, I also see that the meetings are not all about the food. Before, I believed that dietitians would only talk about a meal plan. I’m noticing Amy really takes the time to talk to each client about their life and about daily stresses. She helps counsel them to push through obstacles that may be stopping them from reaching their full potential. Each meeting is not just about the food consumed but also about what is going on in their everyday life.
Another main thing I’ve noticed is nutrition is not an all or nothing subject. The reality is that you will probably have a bad day here and there. You will crave that piece of chocolate cake at a birthday party and will probably want that extra drink while on vacation. A lot of people think there are “good foods” and “bad foods” but those do not exist. Amy has a saying though that I’ve heard her use many times “majority rules”. It’s okay to have a bad day and enjoy the dessert. You never want anything to stop you from living your life. Just remember to not let it get you down and start fresh the next day with the motivation to get back on track.
I’m learning so much about nutritional counseling at Kindred. I can’t wait to be able to use it in the future when I start to make meal plans on my own!