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5 Common Misconceptions About A Non-diet Dietitian

5 Common Misconceptions About A Non-diet Dietitian

By Alex Raymond, RD,LD. I think most people would agree with the statement, “nutrition is a hot topic.” Nutrition “advice” (see how I put advice in quotes, that was intentional) is everywhere… on magazines, the TV, Instagram, heard while walking down the street, given to you by Aunt Carol even though you never asked… This “advice” is nearly impossible to escape and it can also be triggering for anyone who is trying to improve their relationship with food. Which let’s be real, the majority of people in our culture do not, unfortunately, have a positive relationship with food. So, I truly, truly respect those who are working through recovery (from an eating disorder, disordered eating, dieting…etc.) because our environment makes it so difficult. Anyways, the fact the nutrition information, or should I say misinformation, is so widely accessible, often does not capture the truth and often paints food in a negative light, frustrates me as a dietitian. Not only are people who aren’t dietitians doling out advice–you wouldn’t ask Aunt Carol about advice on brain surgery if she isn’t a brain surgeon–but this advice rarely even paints a full picture of what “healthy” actually means. There are so many different definitions for “health” for different people in different life stages…etc. But that’s a whole other blog. Because of the way nutrition misinformation is often portrayed, I feel like, it also paints a negative view of dietitians. Many people have preconceived notions of what a visit with me will be like. Like I’m the “diet police.” Or that I just help you meal plan. Or that I am an encyclopedia of...
Q and A: Body Image Discussion with a Dietitian

Q and A: Body Image Discussion with a Dietitian

By Alex Raymond, RD,LD. Question: I’m majoring in psychology at school and my hope is to work with eating disorders. I’m in a sorority and I already hear a lot of negative body image talk in the house as we try on clothes before heading out. I’d love to get advice on what I can say to counter my friends’ negative thoughts. I just want them to feel good about themselves, but I’m not sure how I can help them to not listen to the part of their mind that unnecessarily shames them! This question was actually sent to me by a past intern. I was emailing her back and forth about how school is going and wondering if she wanted to help us out with some social media projects. She originally went to school majoring in nutrition, but switched to psychology. When she sent me this question, I thought to myself, “wow, I’m sure there are so many other people who would benefit from hearing my answer… it’ll make an awesome blog.” So here we go. Let me first start out by saying that it’s very normal (and almost socially acceptable) to poke at your body and point out perceived flaws. I always think of that scene in Mean Girls when “The Plastics” are in front of Regina’s mirror body bashing, and Cady is over there like “uhh this is weird, we didn’t do this in Africa, wtf am I supposed to say here?” We are brought up in a culture that overly values physical appearance (especially for women). Women are defined by their bodies and there is...
Talking To Yourself Like a Friend

Talking To Yourself Like a Friend

By Caroline Best (Student Intern) I was driving to a cookout this past weekend. On the way there, a conversation about a mutual friend came up. There was a straight ten minutes of talking about how much we all liked this person, which is actually what inspired me to write this post. I want you to think about how you would describe your good friends.  For example, when I’m asked about my roommate I say, “she’s amazing, fun, and one of my favorite people.” And I feel like most people would describe their friends in a similar manner.  You compliment your friends. You’re proud of them. And you show them love. Something I think about is… why we often don’t show ourselves this type of love. I wonder why it’s so natural to say something flattering about a friend, and yet it feels “weird” to say the nice things about ourselves. Most people do the opposite. We tend to pick at ourselves and what we don’t like. I completely understand this, I do it too. It’s easy to look in the mirror and notice it’s a “bad hair day” and focus on that. Or to think about a test you took and think about how you should have studied more.  To go through a work assignment you did and list all the ways you could have done it better. Basically, we give ourselves permission to be harsher with ourselves than we are with almost anyone else.  And this can be so, so mentally draining. I was recently talking to a friend who was nervous about a date.  She was...
Seven Tips for Meal Prep for Recovery from Eating Disorders

Seven Tips for Meal Prep for Recovery from Eating Disorders

By Rebecca Bitzer, MS, RD, LD. How can Meal Prep Help? One of the most difficult parts of recovery from an eating disorder is consistently following a meal plan without doing meal prep. What is meal prep? For people in recovery, I think of meal prep as anything that you can do to help you follow your meal plan (meal structure) so you can spend more time on living your life. You’ll have more energy for recovery. And devote less energy on food stress. Having the tools to stay calm in the grocery store and kitchen will help you be successful. Focusing on organizing your food in a step-wise fashion may even help you look forward to meal prep and possibly even enjoy cooking. Being vague with your eating plan is a slippery slope that may leave room for a slip in terms of your recovery.  Being clear, intention and pro-active will help you be successful.  Set yourself up for positive decisions that promote recovery by fine-tuning your meal prep skills. Whether you are confident in the kitchen or just starting out, setting yourself up for success includes meal prep. Remember, it is easy to get overwhelmed in the kitchen so here are some tips to help make meals easier. At this point, you have probably worked with a Registered Dietitian (RD) specializing in eating disorders. If you have not, it would be a good time to take the step to include a RD on your team. Be aware of red flags which may indicate a risk of lapsing back into eating disorder behaviors. Red flags for relapse or lapsing...
Self-Care Tips for When Your Schedule Changes

Self-Care Tips for When Your Schedule Changes

By Caroline Best, Dietetics Student Intern. Contributions by Alex Raymond, RD. Last week, I took my spring finals. I celebrated finishing my last exam with ice cream and a 2 hour nap and it was honestly a great afternoon. After finals, I was staying in town to watch my roommate graduate and I was excited about all of this new free time. However, a few days into my break I was really tired and confused about why. I was sleeping in. AND taking naps.  My time was spent mostly with friends. Compared to my past weeks of intense school commitments, my first week of summer was a breeze. I felt like I should be bursting with energy. However, once I considered my dramatic routine change my exhaustion made a lot of sense. Throughout the course of the semester I woke up around the same time. I ate my meals around the same time. I had pretty set routine of when I exercised, relaxed, and studied. Then summer started and with that came the physical and mental effects of changing up a schedule. Your body will most likely  “notice” when your routine shifts.  I was doing pretty much everything on a different schedule than what I was used to and my energy ended up a little wacky. I listened to what my body was trying to tell me and practiced a little self-care to help reestablish my energy. I specifically wanted to write about the fatigue that can accompany routine change because Summer tends to come with schedule shifts for many people. School lets out. Kids may be home for...
Basic Tips for Health Professionals Treating Eating Disorders

Basic Tips for Health Professionals Treating Eating Disorders

By Alex Raymond, RD, LD. Fun fact about me. I love public speaking. But I used to be completely terrified of it! I don’t know what possessed me to do this… But, it was my freshman year of college and I decided to sign up for this program where you gave health/wellness presentations to UMD students. I don’t think I realized that I would have to give these said presentations in front of 100+ lecture halls! It totally pushed me out of my comfort zone. And now, I actually enjoy speaking in front of large groups. I recently gave a presentation to therapists titled “Practical Approaches to Treating Eating Disorders.” As you may or may not know, eating disorder work is a very niche group. I love working with this population and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. But, it’s important to know that it’s not for everyone. For example, just as I love eating disorder work, working in the kidney disease population is not for me. I find it quite confusing and I have a ton of respect for dietitians who do that work! There are many therapists out there who do amazing work with their client and they don’t have adequate training in ED. Either they aren’t often exposed or they having gotten training.  I was appreciative of the therapists who came out to my training. Many of them had seen an influx in clients with eating disorder symptoms and they wanted to know how to best support their clients. Even if best supporting them meant referring out. 1. Ask yourself, is eating disorder work right for me?...

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