Back in the summer of 2012 I finished my dietetic internship at the University of Virginia, sat for my RD exam and started my first job as a Registered Dietitian. I worked at a small integrative health clinic alongside two physicians – an endocrinologist and an internist. Those first 2 years of my RD career before I went back to school to become a nurse practitioner were one big steep learning curve.
I started off my career with a “eat more plants” and “eat real food” philosophy that encouraged people to step away from trendy diets, but it was very much weight-centric and involved rules. I was passionate about helping people live healthier lives free of chronic disease – which meant helping them adopt healthier lifestyle habits so they would hopefully lose weight and get healthier. I truly had the best of intentions, deeply cared for my patients and I was practicing the best way I knew how.
At that time I was learning everything I could about hormones and metabolism and the effect of stress and sleep on our physical health. I was a sponge. I was learning how health was far more than food and exercise and I was helping my patients make healthier lifestyle choices but without necessarily “dieting”, but weight loss was often the main big goal for many patients. Weight loss was applauded. And looking back, I can still sense the shame, frustration and sense of failure patients felt when they were making healthy lifestyle changes, but the scale was going in the direction they hoped it would.
I genuinely wanted to help others and I truly believe health professionals want to help and care for people. That’s why we enter the field! But what I didn’t realize at the time was that I lacked the comprehensive understanding of how my well meaning recommendations had the potential to actually cause more stress, shame, guilt, and ultimately, poorer health outcomes – both psychological and physical.
The more I researched, the more it become very clear that a person’s thoughts, feelings and emotions surrounding food, their body and themselves GREATLY impacts their physical health. Dietitians, nurses, doctors and many other health professionals are classically trained with a clinical mindset using a weight-centric paradigm that focuses heavily on physical health markers without considering how psychological health and environmental factors greatly impact a person’s physical health. This narrow view makes it impossible to help people get truly healthy.
I value the therapeutic effect of food. I value the health benefits of exercise. But I also now know that primarily focusing on food and exercise is an oversimplification of health. Health is wildly complex with many biological, physiological and social factors at play. In order to provide effective and ethical care, we have to know how all these components impact health and how we, as clinicians, can help people navigate their individual circumstances in ways that best support their psychological and physical health. The two effect one another.
I’m really really excited to finally have this online training, Bridging the Gap Between Clinical Nutrition and Intuitive Eating/Health At Eery Size open for enrollment today! And it’s certainly not just for clinicians. Anyone can enroll and learn!
Maybe you’ve heard of Intuitive Eating (IE) and Heath At Every Size (HAES), but still aren’t sure about the validity of these paradigms. When I was first introduced to these concepts, I thought they both were anti-health. How could someone with diabetes or cardiovascular disease not be concerned with their weight? Doesn’t weight loss improve health markers and symptoms? How could someone with an autoimmune disease eat intuitively given what we know about the therapeutic effect of food on the immune system?
As a clinician, maybe you’re struggling to figure out how to help someone diagnosed with a medical condition or chronic disease without implementing a bunch of “rules” for them to follow. Maybe you work in a hospital or other clinical setting where you don’t get a lot of time with patients, patients are referred to you for “weight loss” and you feel like it’s nearly impossible to implement IE and HAES into your practice.
Maybe you’re someone diagnosed with a medical condition that indicates therapeutic dietary changes and you’re feeling overwhelmed, confused and frustrated – we live in a culture of information overload. And a culture where wellness, most of the time, has been highjacked by diet culture. A quick Google on lifestyle changes for many medical conditions often results in a bunch of information on what to eat and not to eat, but yields very little, if any, information on how your mental and emotional health affects your physical health. How we think and feel about food, our bodies and ultimately ourselves greatly impacts our physical health.
In this training, you’ll learn how a person’s psychological health impacts their physical health, the pathophysiology of stress, including the impact on gut health and multiple other body systems, and how to appropriately implement IE and HAES principles. You’ll walk away with a good understanding of the research behind Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size vs a weight and nutrition focused paradigm. If you’re a clinician, you’ll learn how to develop an evidence based, appropriate and effective plan of care for people healing from a medical condition that neutralizes diet language and is rooted in the IE/HAES paradigms. And if you’ve been diagnosed with a medical condition yourself, you’ll learn how to make changes that actually take into consideration your whole health so you can truly get healthier.
You’ll leave this workshop feeling more knowledgable, equipped, skilled and confident as a clinician. And as a person diagnosed with a medical condition, you will leave feeling more confident, empowered and knowledgable on how to best care for yourself.
I’ve been looking forward to compiling this online training for a very, very long time and I’m really excited to open up the training for enrollment today! You can read more about the workshop and what it offers here!
I’ll be doing a live Q&A at 6pm EST this evening answering any questions you have about the course, so leave your questions in the comments and I’m happy to answer them tonight.
And lastly, for the first month there will be introductory pricing. Head over here to get the coupon code and save 20% off the course through the end of September. I hope you find it incredibly helpful both personally and professionally!
Emily Swanson says
I am SOOO Grateful that you are educating other health professionals Robyn with all the amazing things you’ve learned over the years especially about intuitive eating, health at every size, and how you can even do that with a medical condition. Thank you for offering this for others!
emily vardy says
Interesting! I often wonder how I’d ever deal if I had food allergies/sensitivities or diabetes or anything other thing that limited my food options. I mean, I have no restrictions now, and it’s hard enough to eat intuitively and sufficiently. I have to remind myself of this and be grateful for it when I’m having a rough day of recovery.