Like the rest of the world, Registered Dietitian Nutritionists come in all shapes, sizes, colors, ethnicities…but we all share one common goal, which is to educate the world with credible health & nutrition information! Join me as I share my personal story about why the world needs dietitians like me and support a great cause by getting your Curvy & Proud Registered Dietitian shirts today!!
Happy Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day to all of my fellow RDNs!!! If you can’t tell by now, I am very excited! Not only because it’s RDN Day, but because I wanted to share a personal story with you! BUT FIRST, let me tell you what exactly is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN):
A Registered Dietitian Nutritionists is a food and nutrition expert who has met certain requirements to earn the RDN credential, such as:
- Completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at a US regionally accredited university or college and course work accredited or approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
- Passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
- Completed continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration. For more information on the requirements for becoming an RDN, visit www.eatright.org .
I absolutely LOVE being an RDN, but I have to be completely honest and tell you that my journey towards becoming an RDN was not easy! I didn’t get accepted into my internship program the first-go-round, and I didn’t pass my RD Exam the first time! Because of these setbacks, I questioned if this was the right career path for me….
After a few months of throwing myself a pity party, I finally tried again and passed my RD exam!! Yayy!!! I was finally initiated into the world of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists and couldn’t wait to get involved! I couldn’t wait to become an integral part of the dietetics world! More importantly, I was finally accepted by my fellow dietitians and the rest of the world as a credible source of nutrition…BOY WAS I WRONG!!
A harsh slap of reality hit me in the face and I realized that there were no dietitians that looked like me…I was an African American, size 14 dietitian that stuck out like a sore thumb!!
I thought that once I became an RDN, all of my worries would go away and I would be welcomed into this dietetics world with open arms, but that didn’t happen. A harsh slap of reality hit me in the face and I realized that there were no dietitians that looked like me…I was an African American, size 14 dietitian that stuck out like a sore thumb!!
Every meeting that I went to, most of the dietitians looked the same…Caucasian, thin, and had a very no-nonsense approach about nutrition…which was the complete opposite of me! Sure, I knew that there was a plethora of dietitians with a wide variety of nutritional approaches, but where were they?? At that moment I felt alone. I also felt intimidated because I felt that I didn’t fit the “typical look” of a dietitian.
AND WHAT MADE MATTERS WORSE….
Anytime, I went to a conference or meeting that was ONLY for dietitians, I would typically be the only African American dietitian in the group that was heavier than a size 6, so I received plenty of stares. And on some occasions, some unfriendly welcomes too. I would also get asked several times, “Are you a Registered Dietitian??” Keep in mind that I received this question at a DIETITIAN-ONLY meeting/conference!!
I would also get asked several times, “Are you a Registered Dietitian??” Keep in mind that I received this question at a DIETITIAN-ONLY meeting/conference!!
This reaction was totally unexpected and made me doubt myself about continuing to be a dietitian. It made me doubt my ability to do my job and made me question my skills as a dietitian. It also made me shy away from trying to make a name for myself in my community, and make my story known to possibly help someone else like me. I know, I know…I shouldn’t have let the opinions of others affect me, but it did. I was very young and very impressionable. I was just trying to find my way….
I spent years of shyly giving nutrition interventions to my clients, hiding the fact that I was a dietitian to prevent the stares and questions. I also wore a lot of black to try to hide my size and look as skinny as possible…If only there was a dietitian that looked like me and understood what it felt like to be the only orange in a pile of apples…If only there was someone that I could’ve talked to that knew how it felt to have their educational status judged solely by their physical appearance before they even had a chance to speak…
It took at lot of prayer, but things finally changed a few years ago when I learned to accept myself for who I was. I learned to accept my curves, my nasally voice…and I learned to be confident in myself and my ability to be a darn good dietitian! I learned to be my fabulous self and wear every color of the rainbow, and to stop hiding in black clothing! I learned to LOVE ME and accept the body that God gave me!
Body acceptance has become a HUGE part of my nutritional interventions. I would never promote living an unhealthy lifestyle, nor do I claim to be a therapist or a psychiatrist; but I do know that positive changes can only take place once someone is truly happy with themselves. You can’t make lifestyle changes based on unrealistic expectations that you see on social media, or based on what compliments you expect to hear from others. You have to be happy with who YOU are and make changes that make YOU happy!
You have to set goals that will impact your life in a positive way and not let anyone stand in your way! If you want to be a dietitian, DO IT!! If you want to be an astronaut, DO IT!! If you want to be a fashion designer, DO IT!! Don’t let your size, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or anything else… discourage you because you may be the very person that makes a HUGE difference in your profession and in someone’s life.
Little did I know, I’ve been that person who has made a positive impact in someone’s life, which was COMPLETELY shocking for me! I never knew that accepting myself as a curvy & proud Registered Dietitian would inspire other up-and-coming RDNs to continue to go for their dreams, no matter their physical appearance! This means so much to me, which is exactly why the world needs more dietitians like me.
It’s important that we have dietitians of all colors, ethnicities, sexual orientations, religious beliefs, and backgrounds to serve as role models to help inspire others.
It’s important that we have dietitians of all colors, ethnicities, sexual orientations, religious beliefs, and backgrounds to serve as role models to help inspire others. It’s important that we continue to grow the diverse community of dietetics and encourage each other without judgement. This message holds such a very special place in my heart, so I decided to design a fun shirt to help carry out this message!
So, if you are a Curvy & Proud Registered Dietitian, shout it from the rooftop with this one-of-a-kind shirt, and let the world know that RDNs come in all shapes and sizes!! We are fabulous, We are smart, We are sassy, and We are all BEAUTIFUL!! Click HERE and get your shirt today, while supplies last!
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