I may be a nutritionist, but I am just like you
When you tell people you’re a nutritionist, they make certain assumptions. Face to face with someone for the first time, I’ve sometimes spotted that person trying to check for the nutritionist’s ‘core credentials’. You know the ones… the white teeth, the perfect skin, the radiant glow. This might be followed by a quick glance up and down to confirm that I also boast that body toned by pilates. There are others who automatically assume I spend my days nibbling on nuts and seeds, refusing caffeine and confectionery of every kind and compiling meals of carefully weighed raw veg, pulled fresh from the ground that morning.
I hate to break it to you, but that’s not really me. Worse still, I’m a fairly normal person with a normal desire for eating and with fairly regular cravings for bad stuff (in all its many various shapes and forms).
I am a busy working mum. I love food. I have a huge appetite. And I love to cook and entertain. But I understand food and health and I apply this knowledge to the way I live my life. I want to help other people do the same. I’ve chosen to make this field of knowledge a career because I’m passionate about helping others to make choices which can benefit their lives. Even if there was a one-solution-fits-all ‘fix’ (and believe me there’s not!) I wouldn’t dream of advising people that I can help them to improve their health or fitness or to reduce their weight in the single click of my fingers. It takes time, effort and commitment. And it takes someone to be there for you when things get difficult; when it feels like you might waver or throw in the towel.
So, when I tell people that sometimes I also do what they do – that I indulge, that I eat bad stuff, that I work too hard and I rest too little – I want them to know that I too face the same challenges and that I too sometimes make the same bad choices. But I want them to understand that my knowledge of food and nutrition – the science of what, how, when and why we eat – helps me to weigh up these choices and conflicts. And when I do stray or indulge, I make the effort and the commitment to get back on track. I don’t beat myself up about having given into my cravings. I don’t strive for perfection, but for harmony and balance. Happiness comes from weighing all of those things in your life – the good and the bad – and deciding the measure of each that can allow you to live to your full potential.
So, I’m not a stick-thin supermodel who lives on spirulina and goji berries and puts in four hours at the gym every day. I’m not someone who expects people to be pushing 100% towards their goals all of the time. When I meet you, I don’t want you to see an impossibly beautiful, unrealistically confident specialist across the room. I want you to believe that I can understand your struggles, because you sense that they are or once were my struggles. I’ve overcome many obstacles and difficulties to get where I am today and have managed to turn my own health around, losing 47lbs to find the body weight and lifestyle I am happy with. So, I want to empathise with those difficulties you face and the barriers you perceive. I want to let to know its OK if you slip up or veer off track, because we can renew our efforts with the next meal or on the following day. I want to reassure you that I’ll be able to help and support you every step of the way. I want you to realise this through the information I can share and the advice I can give, but also through acknowledging that the life I live and the choices I make are really not so very different from yours at all.