Meet the Next Generation of HAES-informed Dietitians

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"Ohh, so you tell people what to eat?"

Normally, when someone finds out I'm a dietetic intern or am going to be a dietitian I get a response along the lines of "Ohhh so you tell people what to eat?" Cue: me responding with some version of Mean Girls' I'm not a regular mom, I'm a cool mom (read: cool RD-to-be). Normally there's a laugh and we move on.  Unless they're actually super interested and we have a cool discussion. But, really, I'm into making nutrition less confusing and helping people feel good about themselves, their body and what's on their plate. And somewhere along the way, I found the non-diet movement. It's primarily led by RDs who have been in practice and seen the harm of chronic dieting and weight stigma, first hand. Many have been brave enough to share their stories of how they made the transition from traditional dietetics to Intuitive Eating, HAES and embracing a non-diet approach. You can read the stories of Rachael Hartley, Alissa Rumsey, Christy Harrison + Haley Goodrich (podcast), Heather Caplan to name a few!

As for the RD-to-be's - those of us who are still finishing up school or our dietetic internships - there is a growing awareness of the recognition that weight is not the end-all-be-all of health, that dieting actually causes harm and that there are alternative approaches to evidence-based nutrition that are not dependent on weight/weight-loss. Most of the time, this awareness IS NOT coming from our textbook or from lectures in class, so if you're feeling like "wait, what?!" You're not alone. 

Hey wait, what is Health at Every Size (HAES®)?

An approach trademarked by the Association of Size Diversity and Health. The approach supports acceptance of size and body diversity, encourages an intuitive approach to eating, promotes enjoyable physical activity and recognizes that health is multi-faceted. HAES appreciates that BMI, size and weight are not representative of health and rejects the myth that weight is a choice.  In short, it is 

HAES Principles - TheWellful.com

These future RDs are killing it at HAES and changing the face of health.

Counting calories, weighing in, or feeling guilty about having your favorite "junk" foods are a few of the things these RD-to-be's are not going to ask you to do. They might even encourage you to try a food you've labeled as "bad," have you throw away your scale, and discuss how you can find peace with food and your body, without trying to change it first. By embracing Health at Every Size (HAES), these RD-to-be's are challenging weight stigma, preaching and practicing body kindness and getting real about the relationships between food, our bodies and so much more. 

 

How did everyone get on board with this?

Although many of us find our way into nutrition with different goals than just "telling someone what to eat" it seems this next generation of RDs is even more comfortable breaking the mold and advocating for a non-traditional, non-diet approach before we have even had that first hand experience that made it 'click' for many current RDs. Like most RDs and future RDs, I didn't learn about HAES or non-diet approaches to health or weight bias during my undergraduate studies. Initially, I found some of these concepts by stumbling upon (and being confused by) some research and I was lucky to be able to see pieces of it brought together by two incredible dietitians I interned for during my undergrad years, Laura and Alissa. I was able to accept and get on board with certain pieces at a time, but kept diving into the research of podcasts, webinars and books to understand more. Finding a HAES/IE community for conversations and support has helped (and continues to help) me more deeply understand the many views and importance of these approaches in nutrition and health.

I've been super grateful to find this community of future (and so many current!) RDs and to surround myself with them online and IRL.  SO, it only seems right to share them with you. If you're a current or future RD or just someone who wants to learn more, check out these resources!

 

Resources

For Current or Future RDs

 

 

 

 

For Everyone

 

Why are these RDs and RD-to-be's into it?

Here are some thoughts, in their own words about what health means to them and why they are passionate about the HAES approach. Feel free to click and follow them to learn more!

Carly Ruth Metcalf I am so passionate about non-diet nutrition/HAES/IE because it challenges societal ideals and breaks down barriers! Not only that, but it doesn’t focus on making healthy people healthier, but instead these subjects work to make health attainable for EVERYONE. I love it so much.
— IG: @thirdsisternutrition

McKenzie Caldwell The non-diet approach to nutrition dismantles the idea that we need to have control of our body size to be happy, healthy, and successful. Instead of rigid food rules and obsession with achieving optimal body size or health, the non-diet approach allows nutrition to support overall quality of life for anyone in any body. It takes into account the whole person, body and mind.
— McKenzie Caldwell, IG @20somethingnutrition Blog: https://20snutrition.com/

Health to me means feeling mentally well, so living a life that supports that. No food rules, no strict exercise regimen, knowing when to take it easy. Basically listening to my body and mind and going with the flow. I believe HAES is for everyone, not just for those with EDs so if we want to successfully treat anything, we should be practicing from a HAES approach.
— Crystal Savoy, RD, IG @brainutritionRD

Kirstin Louise Kadé HAES allows us as practitioners (to-be) to give everyone a chance, listen to their stories, and advocate for and work with them to improve their overall health apart from a number on the scale. The non-diet approach allows us to live our lives without fearing or obsessing about food, helps us make peach with our unique bodies, and lets us go out into the world and do AMAZING things no matter what our size or shape. 
— Kirstin Louise Kade, IG: @tasteandseeblog Blog: www.tasteandseeblog.co.za 

Tiffany Haug The next generation of RDs are authenticity seekers and convention breakers. If a framework doesn’t work, what’s the point in spending our precious time teaching it? The non-diet approach allows hope for freedom and peace with food and body that the weight-centric approach just can’t offer for 95% of the population. Which is why the new generation of RDs are receptive to this framework. No longer are we ooh and aweing at the “Emperors New Clothes” that is the weight-centric model.
— Facebook: Tiffany Haug Eating Disorder RD IG: @freedomwithnutrition

To me, “healthy” is extremely different for each individual. What’s healthy for me may not be for you. But as a foundation - nourishing our bodies with ALL foods, engaging in mindful movement, getting adequate sleep, and surrounding ourselves with what make us happiest is the best thing we can do for our overall well-being. I am inspired by the idea of intuitive eating and following a non-diet approach where all foods fit, where we don’t correlate weight or body size with health and we enjoy life for the more important things. I’m striving to do that for myself and influence others to do so too!!”
— Jaime Thorpe, IG @jaim_eats

While our culture puts the pursuit of “perfect” health on a pedestal via eliminating or substituting this for that, health is simply engaging in patterns of thinking and behaviors that take care of you mentally (emotionally, socially, personally) and psychically. This is individual and takes getting to know yourself and what you need to take care of YOU.  HAES, IE and body exclusivity support individuals on their most basic human level and by letting them know that they are okay and are enough as they are. I am passionate about letting others know that there is no need to engage in the constant bullying, shame, and guilt associated with dieting and hating your body. This is a fundamental concept in the true pursuit of individual health.
— Kelsey Reece Dismukes, IG: @kelseyreecedismukes

Health to mean means practicing habits that enhance my daily life. Whether that be working out, cooking new meals, practicing self care, enjoying time with friends or family, or trying new things. All of which contribute to enhancing my physical, mental and emotional health. I find that incorporating intuitive eating into my life has led me to appreciate the art of food and my body so much more. I’m able to be in tune with my body and give it what it wants at that moment. Whether that be a yummy salad or a delicious dessert. It gives me the freedom to enjoy all kinds of food without the feeling of guilt and creating memories along the way!
— Ashlyn Balch, IG: @learntolivebalanced

To make it short and sweet, after learning all that I have so far about intuitive eating and HAES (and continuing to dig into this research and work) doing anything else just feels unethical. I want to guide people towards uncovering their own motivation for a healthy lifestyle that is sustainable and makes sense for them!
— Michelle Pillepich, Blog: https://powerdbypeanutbutter.wordpress.com/

What about you? Have any questions or thoughts to share? Write them in a comment, DM me @thewellful or send an email to brenna@thewellful.com - I'd love to hear from you!