I’m a 32-year-old registered dietitian, and I have EDNOS. I’m seeing a counselor and am working through the issues that have led me to this point. However, I do weight management counseling for a living, and feel like such a fraud when I talk with patients about great ideas like Intuitive Eating and respecting one’s body. If I can’t do it for myself, how can I expect my patients to do it?
First, I want to acknowledge that you are not alone. As an RD who once struggled myself with EDNOS, I can relate to your feelings. Professionals in the field of dietetics are very vulnerable to becoming preoccupied with diet and weight because it is what we spend our days analyzing and discussing. Just like anyone else, this can take us down the path of disordered eating—especially when combined with the same kinds of root emotional issues, life problems and cultural pressures experienced by others.
The good news is that you ARE seeing a counselor to work through your issues. I encourage you to openly and honestly share the struggles you are facing in doing weight management counseling. Keep in mind that no health professional is perfect, and we all have shortcomings when dealing with clients and patients. As long as we are open to learning and growing as individuals and professionals, we are doing the best we can. Whenever feelings of guilt and inadequacy creep in, remind yourself that you are well trained. Continue helping your clients by teaching them the right principles and providing them with encouragement and support.
As you continue to work with your counselor, you will overcome personal obstacles and challenges one by one. And as that happens, you will progressively become more effective as a professional—even better than most—because of your own experiences and gained insight. You understand better than most that nutrition counseling is a lot more than simply teaching healthy food choices. I believe you will become amazing at what you do.
So hang in there! Be patient with yourself and keep pressing on.
Ann Capper, RD, CDN