On Being A Dietitian

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(view from the helicopter rides I get to take…because I’m a dietitian)
I have wanted to be three things in my life:

a) Artist – I wanted to be an artist from as long as I can remember to when I was about 12. Then I realized that I found museums/art galleries extremely boring, and I thought “shouldn’t I enjoy things like this if I want to be an artist?”

b) Author – I read Harry Potter around the time I was 12, and I became a reading fiend. Reading, books, and the world they opened up for me (not to mention the fact that I was on a real-life-once-in-a-lifetime-experience at the time) made me want to write. Ok, actually, Tamora Pierce made me want to be a writer, JK Rowling just got me reading. I always felt that books saved me; and in return I owed the world words as a way to help others save themselves.

c) Dietitian – Obviously “one of these things is not like the other”. As a teenager I took a journey into “health” (I did NOT become healthy until post high school). I learned the word Dietitian from a Sports Nutrition Guidebook I had at the time. In university when I sat in my creative writing program, my artistic side burnt out, and my practical side saying “you can’t waste your money on this (no offense to those who have taken this career/school path – I admire you, I just wasn’t there at the time)… I remembered that word and decided perhaps this was a career I could do (health care, working with people is in my blood, my mom is a social worker).

So here I am. And I can say with honesty that it is not a decision I regret at all. Of course being a dietitian is different then I expected it to be. Though really I haven’t been one very long, and when is anything exactly as you expect?

But I know that in the same way I wanted to be a writer to help people, so I am a dietitian. We live in a pretty twisted food world, where huge companies dominate at every level (from government to healthy food recommendations), where food and what you eat can cause moral judgements to be passed on you, and my goal these days is simple to help people navigate this system – starting wherever they may be in their understanding of our food system.

So it was that my own journey through understanding food, nutrition, weight, health, fitness and what it all means (and it can take many many meanings), that I understood this was another way in which I could return the favour. I could help people out of their dark places with food and nutrition, and help them figure it out (not that it is that straightforward or easy, but when is it ever?).

What I really want to say is that sometimes our career goals change as we grow up, but that doesn’t mean our “calling” does. Sometimes we choose the practical career. The one that will pay the bills. And sometimes it might not feel good enough… But just because the career you have may feel like a betrayal of your inner child or not as daring as those crazy-famous-entrepreneurs, doesn’t mean it is, it is simply a different means to an end.

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Playground with a view.

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One thought on “On Being A Dietitian

  1. What a great post!

    I wanted to be a veterinarian and a marine biologist when I was quite young but then realized science is NOT my thing at all (or maybe I just didn’t want it to be my thing) and that’s when I crossed over to the ‘creative’ side. I have wanted to be a journalist since I was about 10 or 11 but then actually GOING to journalism school turned me off that path. Funny how that works. But I love the job I’m doing now and I’m very happy with the path life has taken me on so I can’t complain too much!

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