Meet the Next Generation of HAES-informed Dietitians
"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
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!
For Current or Future RDs
Killing it at HAES - New RDs and RD-to-bes (facebook page)
#InspiRDtoSeek (facebook page)
The Mindful Dietitian (facebook page)
Health at Every Size Nutritionists and Therapists (facebook page)
Nutrition Matters Podcast by Paige Smathers (especially episode 111 with Fiona Willer "Breaking Down Weight Science")
What it's Like to be a HAES-informed Dietetic Intern (article by Lauren Newman - highly rec!)
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!
What about you? Have any questions or thoughts to share? Write them in a comment, DM me @thewellful or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org - I'd love to hear from you!