The Short Story of How I Decided to Become a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist (RDN)
I had never heard of a Registered Dietitian until I had a nervous breakdown one night in college (back in 2007). I hated the marketing classes I was in for my major of Public Relations and thought, “MUST. CHANGE. MAJOR. NOW!” I flipped through the course catalog (which was easily 800 pages or something crazy) and saw the word “Dietetics.”
My initial thought was WTF is that? Cue an extensive black hole of a Google search that ultimately ended with me going into the academic adviser's office the very next day and changing my major to become a person I had never even heard of the day before, a Dietitian, and I haven’t looked back.
What a Dietitian Does
RDs work in hospitals, gyms, nursing homes, clinics, private practice, health centers, schools, prisons, WIC offices, sports teams (among other places) providing nutrition education, counseling, therapy and meal planning to treat people with fitness goals, eating disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart failure, cancer, malnutrition, dysphagia, food allergies and sensitivities, gastrointestinal illness and inflammatory diseases and provide guidance to entities that feed groups of people to ensure that their basic nutritional needs are being met for optimal health and that food is prepared in sanitary conditions (deep breath… that was a lot at once).
What are the Requirements to be a Dietitian
It starts with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Food Science which includes most of the following classes:
- Principles of Nutrition
- Nutrition for the Health Sciences
- Nutrition Principles for Physical Activity and Health
- Food and Culture in the US
- Food Principles & Lab
- Meal Management
- Community Nutrition
- Sports Nutrition
- Professional Issues in Dietetics
- Nutrition in Aging
- Food Systems Management
- Dietetics Management
- Experimental Food Study
- Maternal and Child Nutrition
- Nutrition for the Young Child
- Food Safety Issues & Sanitation
- Medical Nutrition Therapy
- Advanced Nutrition
- Nutrition Coaching and Counseling Skills
- General Chemistry I & II
- Human Anatomy & Physiology I & II
- Consumer Economics
- Organic Chemistry
- Biochemistry (where I met the bae)
- Organic Chemistry
Next you go through a (typically unpaid) dietetic internship program to gain experience in a majority of field areas before sitting for the national exam. Finally, you become licensed in the state that you practice in.
Why You Need One
Nutrition education is seriously lacking in this country when you examine the current health crisis of rapidly rising incidence of overweight, obesity and chronic disease. Most people don’t even really know what food actually is. And for the record, when you go through a drive through and get a Nacho Supreme Grande Burritalupa with Cinnamonita Twists, you’re not getting food (but that’s a different blog post for a different day).
I’m just going to say why you need ME, because I can really only speak for myself.
When your doctor says, “Your A1C is high, it appears as though you have diabetes. Let me prescribe you lots of medication so I can make lots of money. And you should probably stop eating sugar and lose some weight, you’re fat,” YOU NEED ME.
When your doctor says, “Your blood pressure is high, it appears as though you have hypertension. Let me prescribe you lots of medication so I can make lots of money. And you should probably stop eating so much salt and lose some weight, you’re fat,” YOU NEED ME.
When your doctor says, “It looks like you’ve gained a few pounds since our last visit. Keep an eye on that and cut down on the amount you’re eating,” YOU NEED ME.
The “advice” to “eat less,” “stop eating sugar,” “stop eating salt,” and “lose weight,” are garbage. They truly mean nothing.
You don’t need to know anymore what NOT to eat. You need to know what TO eat!!!
Dietitian (...me) to the rescue!
If there’s any professional on the planet qualified to teach you what to eat, when to eat, how to eat, where to eat - it’s a Dietitian! Dietitians are worth their weight in gold. They can help you lose weight, gain confidence, build muscle, simplify healthy eating, educate you about nutrition, prevent weight gain, eliminate medication use, wade through nutrition misinformation and provide you with tools to reach your body’s maximum potential.
Contact me via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or through private messaging on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/simpleticnutrition if you’re interested in learning about the packages and services I have to offer. You have nothing to lose!