If you had told me three years ago that I was going to eat dinner with a dietitian (let alone two), I would have been mortified. The word "dietitian" for me evoked mental images of anti-sugar evangelists, pious food police, and kale-obsessed health fanatics. I could just see one of those dietitians swatting a french fry out of my hand or making some snide comment about the mayo on my sandwich. Let's not even mention that the word "diet" is in their job title. Talk about a downer!
During my time working for Anna and Sydney here at Rethink Nutrition, I've learned that several of my assumptions about dietitians were misguided. Here's the inside scoop on some things that surprised me about sharing a meal with dietitians.
Surprise #1-Dietitians Eat Food That Tastes Good
I was first clued in to this surprising fact when an intern brought Starbucks scones into the office...and Sydney ate one of them! She didn't talk about how she was going to go on a run to burn off the calories, she didn't scrape of the frosting or divide it into fourths and vow to only eat part of it. She just ate it and enjoyed it. It seemed suspiciously normal. Then, a few months later, Anna's birthday rolled around and the staff enjoyed some cookie cake together. No, it wasn't a vegan, gluten-free, organic, agave nectar hockey puck...it was a normal cookie cake from a grocery store. Weird.
Surprise # 2-Dietitians Have Fun Holiday Parties
...AND they eat delicious food! For our staff holiday party this year, we had dinner at Sydney's house. We chatted, played games, and shared a meal together. Here's the kicker...the meal was delicious! Stuffed pork loin, a delicious salad, potatoes, and pie were enjoyed by all. No guilty comments, no meticulously tracking every calorie, no talk about how they "shouldn't" be eating the food. They just ate the foods that sounded good in the portions that their body wanted, and enjoyed the process. Talk about a stress-free mealtime. Better yet, the absence of negative food comments left time for plenty of fun, uplifting conversations. Not a bad trade-off, if you ask me.
Surprise # 3: Dietitians Probably Aren't Judging You For What You're Eating
To be honest, dietitians are sick of the food police stereotype. Most dietitians don't love sharing the fact that they're a dietitian, simply because of all the assumptions that come with that term. They hate it even more if people feel feel ashamed to eat around them because they're a dietitian. Yes, our dietitians eat a generally balanced diet. Yes, they've completed lots of rigorous science and nutrition classes to be the knowledgeable dietitians that they are. But, they also understand that eating is a behavior, not merely a science, and that some days, it's rough. After all, they're human, just like you.