Coffee in hand and box of half eaten pastries at my feet (the pumpkin donut muffin was cerrrtainly half-eaten by this gal!), I am currently sitting in the backseat of my professor’s car crossing the border from Pennsylvania to Ohio. We hit the road at 5am to depart from New York City for a public relations trip; my last PR trip.
I could be sleeping or studying for my upcoming Anatomy exam but this head of mine is simultaneously filled with content and aggravation. So I’ve chosen to insta-creep on my favorite dietitian bloggers (for the 3,322nd time), read my daily Blessed Is She devotional and admire the fall leaves along the expressway while trying to pace myself through this large black coffee (with ice in it of course!). Oh, and processing through these wild emotions. Lots of it.
Part A: it’s sweet assurance of steps ahead. Since July, I’ve had thoughts of, ‘How wise is this drastic turn?’, ‘God, how come you’ve let this shift happen so flawlessly?’, ‘Should I take more time to process this and pray about it?’ I’m talking about my change in career plans.
Yep, one month before starting my senior year of college with a comfortable future in place, a casual kitchen conversation with my parents lead to a weekend full of research to become a registered dietitian and a revamped schedule of what I thought would be my final two semesters. I can’t even communicate the amount of peace I’m holding onto that this is what I’m meant to do.
I’ve arrived at this from a messy and beautiful mix of:
- my interest in nutrition ever since I can remember
- life experience
- heartache for those who are flooded with societal-induced confusion about nutrition
- detachment from earthly glamor in my current major
- amazement of the human body’s reaction to how it is treated
- joy in spending my spare time researching various dietetics topics
- love for being in the kitchen
- inspiration from vulnerable and grace-filled dietitians like Robyn Coale
- my past internship at an eating disorder treatment center
Part B: it’s frustration of the overwhelming negative outlook on both food and the body that has seemed to develop EVERYWHERE. Despite all hope, my head just might burst before earning credentials behind my name in 4.5 years. Being in a society where food is given “allowed” or “to be avoided” labels like it’s a construction zone is taxing. My friends somehow think that they must inform me when it’s 2pm and they haven’t eaten all day. This box of pastries at my feet has solely been referred to by the thousands of calories inside and not the treats that our bodies and souls need. I hear comments
daily hourly that shame people from attempting to enjoy life and into a spiral of obsessing what is being put into their bodies.
Oversaturated judgmental messages from people who don’t properly respect themselves and others, especially when it comes to nourishment, is just about the only thing that gets me worked up. Actually, it saddens me. For those who feel like they must justify their food choices to those around them, only allow themselves to stray from their over-regimened eating on “cheat days” and abide by the ‘no eating after 7pm’ rule is a large part of why I am going into this field.
The human body is not made for this. It doesn’t cope well with this. Many suffer extreme long-term effects from these stressful behaviors that snow-balled into a confining lifestyle. I don’t know what your definition of health is but this is not it.
These past 5 days of travel have been filled with gelato shaped like a flower, wine paired with homemade pasta by a woman flown in from Italy, giant slice of pizza off the street, fluffy NYC bagel, impeccable carrot cake and more eats that allowed me to live in the moment and cherish my time in the city. A few times I wondered if those around me were thinking, ‘I thought you wanted to become a dietitian?’. Yes, I do indeed! One who lives a balanced life, free of any restrictions.
I have a whole lotta learning ahead of me and I am eager for it all but I know that my outlook won’t likely differ much. I am content and aggravated and this is what gives me passion. Thank you, Lord, for this passion!