If you had asked me five years ago if I would consider pursuing a nutrition-related career, I would’ve thought you were cuckoo. Well, that’s why you never know what the future holds, bc I’m currently on the road to becoming a Registered Dietitian! This complete change in my life course went against all odds. To start, the thought of going back to school was frightening, not to mention disheartening! I constantly questioned myself – do I really want to be doing homework, writing papers, studying for exams, paying for tuition etc. while all my friends are making big money and either preparing to start or have already started families? I also knew that since my first degree was in Psychology, I’d have to take all the prerequisites (which ended up taking 3 semesters btw) in order to apply to the Masters program. I DID NOT want to enter my thirties as a broke, nerdy student with no structure and an unpredictable schedule.
Despite all these burdensome ponderings, my heart’s strong and unwavering desires KO’ed my pessimistic logic, and now I can proudly say that I am a first year student of a Masters Program in Nutrition. Boy, you don’t understand how great it feels to be able to say that!
So why nutrition? I know it sounds cliché, but there’s no other way to phrase this other than “bc I wholeheartedly believe in the healing power of food.” Nutrition and healthy eating weren’t a big part of my life growing up. My diet consisted of fast food, cereal, chips, cereal, and well.. chips! My friends can testify that I never ate real meals. Instead, I snacked and picked at food all day long. My mind was so distorted. I was able to eat a whole box of cereal in a day, but somehow I couldn’t manage to take one bite of a real meal comprised of non-processed foods.
It wasn’t until shortly after marriage that I began my downward spiraling relationship with numbers. I don’t handle change very well in general (that would be an understatement), but all the drastic changes that hit me in the face at once was too much for me to bear. My perfectionist nature needed and wanted control over something…anything…everything! Unfortunately, the obsession with numbers got a hold of and consumed me. What mattered the most were the digits that appeared on the scale that I stepped on around the clock and the calories I was consuming. I knew that as long as my intake was less than my output, all was well. I figured out that if I consumed 1300 calories/day I would be able to maintain my 90 pound weight. So I continued to eat cereal, chips, and other junk food, while making sure that I didn’t exceed my “acceptable” allowance for the day.
Well, you can imagine how unhappy and angry my body was with me. After several fainting episodes and an intensive health checkup, I found out that my body composition was that of a 46-year-old person.
Talk about a rude awakening! I HAD to make some drastic changes quick! I started exercising. I began to spend time in the kitchen rather than just walking over to the pantry. Folks, my beginnings were not pretty. I didn’t even know how to crack an egg! However, I wasn’t about to throw in the towel. I must admit, persistence is one quality that runs strongly in my blood, and boy, am I ever so glad it does! When I set my heart on something, there’s no stopping me. On the other hand, as you know, this unmistakable trait has also led me down many dark paths in the past.
Soon, Food Network Channel became a fixture in our house. I kid you not! It was on 24/7. Bobby Flay, Rachel Ray, Giada deLaurentis taught me everything about cooking, starting with how to properly hold and use a knife. As I awkwardly began experimenting in the kitchen and playing with food, I found a love and a passion that I never knew I had! Somedays, I would simply sautee an onion because there’s nothing that arouses my senses more than the sweet aroma of caramelized onions!
Fast forward 3 years after my first encounter with cooking, and even though my culinary skills have advanced (or so I hope!), sautéing an onion is still my favorite part of cooking. My love affair with cooking freed me from the abusive relationship I was in with numbers.
I fervently believe in the power of all-natural, nutrient dense, whole foods! After experiencing what my husband has affectionately coined “the dark days,” I have a new mission. Sayonara obsessing with my weight, calories, pant size, and ring size (don’t ask). Rather, what matters most to me now is striving for balance. When it comes to my diet, rules and restrictions are no longer welcome. I found that listening to my body is the number one guiding factor in determining what and when to eat. Of course, I still struggle from time to time with body issues and obsessive thoughts, and to be quite honest, I don’t think they will ever fully go away. However, the healthier me will not allow them to linger for too long because I love this feeling of being alive!
I can’t wait to become an RD soon so that I can help others rediscover themselves the way that I have.
I know I still have a long journey ahead of me…
but I’m in it for the long haul this time. If you’re also on your way to becoming an RD, I’d love to meet you! And even if you’re not, I’d still love to meet you! 🙂 I believe the best part about experiences is being able to share them with others.
If you’ve read this far, I thank you for reading! 🙂 As I sit here writing this, I realize how far I’ve come and how much my life has changed for the better. And for once I can tell myself, “I’m proud of you.”