Preach What You Practice

Dietitian [dahy-i-tish-uh n]  (noun): a person whose job is to give nutritional advice about what to eat in order to be healthy. 

Or as some people may interpret…

Dietitian [dahy-i-tish-uh n] (noun): food police; the person who tells you that butter is not a main food group; a profession unknown to some people.

One day during my dietetic internship, my future RD roomies and I were indulging in some gooey-peanut-buttery-chocolate-brownie-monstrosity that was made. While we gathered around the pan, strategically forking each bite, my roommate said something that continues to resonate with me and is a phrase I now like to live by:

Preach what you practice, rather than practice what you preach.

As dietitians, we care about our health and the well-being of those around us.  Those who want nutritional advice, aim for some weight loss, require nutrition therapy, strive to enhance their athletic performance, need the calorie counts on their restaurant menu, or who are stuck in the revolving door of diet culture and misconceptions.

Then there are times when being a dietitian feels like I’m dealing with a double-edged sword, or in this case, a fork. For example, if I go out to dinner and order a cheeseburger and a tasty beverage, then it’s “Hey, what kind of dietitian are you?” But if I’m craving a hearty salad and fresh, lemon water, then it’s, “Jeez, can you please not eat healthy for once?”

Can’t this girl eat in peace?

That being said, no, not all dietitians judge what you eat. Life is about eating what satisfies YOU. If you’re asking for advice, have weight loss goals in mind, or want help choosing healthier options then, yes, we are here to help. However, at the end of the day, we’re all imperfect humans. Dietitians included.

Yes, I am passionate about my health and delicious, nutrient-packed foods (Whole Foods is my euphoric Mecca). I enjoy eating healthy because I know it’s benefiting my body better than a McDonald’s hashbrown and 6-piece nugget (with ranch, of course). However, I am also passionate about the BBQ ribs my mom makes, a crisp glass of wine, and chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream

. Like most things in life, it’s all about balance.

My dietetic intern class included some of the most inspirational, motivational, and fun-loving girls I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.  These women have a passion for nutrition, but also, a passion for living intuitively and balancing healthy eating with the sweeter side of life.  If this is the future of Registered Dietitians, then I can gladly say, you people are in good hands.  

So, this is why I would rather preach what I practice. Why would I preach a perfect, daily diet if I honestly don’t stick to one myself?  I wouldn’t even call it a diet. It’s a lifestyle.

Be mindful, eat real wholesome food, practice moderation, and enjoy your cravings because deprivation is no way to graze through life. And that’s coming from a dietitian.


Meet the Author

Teresa Frankel

Teresa Frankel

Registered dietitian with a passion for writing, nutrition and all things food-related. Currently in grad school at Northwestern and looking to expand my RD network :)
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