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."
Min, your story is so inspiring on so many levels. I can honestly say that I can relate to you with some of the "dark days". Although, I knew I wanted to be an RD ever since a young girl, and being one now, my mindset has changed drastically just within the past year! You are going to be a fabulous RD!!
Hi! I just found your blog through Love & Zest! I've been on the fence on making the switch from a career in Finance to becoming an RD, and like you, at the age of 28, I have so many questions, doubts, hesitations, etc. I've been passionate about cooking and nutrition for years, and am struggling with deciding on which path to pursue. Although the concept is relatively new, I'd love to be a culinary nutritionist - combining both the science of nutrition and the art of cooking. I'd love to hear about your experience in your RD program!
Hi there! It's wonderful to connect with you. I can def relate to how you might be feeling at this moment. The thought of going back to school after being exposed to the real world and making money was not an easy decision. However, in the end, it's not one that I regret making! No way! I'm still not done with my education but the end is near, and it is such a great feeling. If there are any specific questions, please feel free to email me. I'd be more than happy to share my insights and experiences with you ;).
Thanks! I'll definitely have to take you up on that and reach out as I get further along in the process. Good luck with the rest of your program!
Shannon | JustAsDelish says
Thanks for sharing your story & inspiring journey. I can so relate to you, I also fell sick, thus leading me to start eating healthy and started my blog to inspire others to start their journey too. Many friends come up to me asking me to coach them to weight loss or healthy eating. I hesitate because I'm not qualified, all I've been doing is through many readings, research & my own journey. I've been thinking about taking some kind of nutrition course, maybe not a degree. Will need to do more research and get some of your opinion later
Thank you, Shannon! Yes, I read your story as well and could relate in so many ways. I def remember contemplating hard about whether or not I want to commit several years to earning a degree. But, I tell ya, it's been one of the best decisions I've made! You can def pick my brain anytime 😉
Bridget (The Road Not Processed) says
Wow our stories are quite similar! I made the switch to become a RD in my junior year of college (to which my current college does not provide a dietetics degree!). I will be graduating this year and then continuing on at another university to become a RD. Definitely a sacrifice! Money, course load, TIME, but it's the best decision I have made! Glad you're in the same boat as I, definitely rewarding.
Question, you didn't have to receive a BS in nutrition/dietetics before going on to your masters program?
Yay! So glad to meet another fellow RD2be!! I totally know what you mean! It's definitely a commitment! But I'm with you..best decision I've ever made! To answer your question, I actually spent a year and a half completing my prerequisites in order to apply for the grad program I'm currently in. I feel like I've been in school forever! But once I made the decision, I never looked back! Good luck on your journey! Hope we can encourage and inspire one another!
Bridget (The Road Not Processed) says
Gotcha. Well thankya Min, good luck on your journey as well! It'll be so exciting once we're RDs 🙂
Hi Min!!! I am so late in reading this - I have been out of town all week. But this put a HUGE smile on my face!!! I am so happy that we've both found where we're supposed to be, and that we both need to be in the nutrition field because I'm so glad I've met you because of it!
And I love that the Food Network was part of what inspired you to change. I had considered changing for a while, and then one of my former roommies got me hooked on the food network and I discovered that, like you, I LOVE food!
Oh, Michelle! I missed you!!! Hope you had a great time!!
I'm so so happy that I met you and am so excited that we're walking, sometimes dragging, along the same path! It's such a wonderful feeling to have a partner in crime ;).
Do you know what classes you're taking in the fall? Just one more month of freedom! I'm going to make the most of it!! I wonder if we use the same textbooks. If so, we can share!! I actually kept a lot of them instead of selling.
Food Network is such a life changing channel! Love it! I watched it so much that at one point, everything was a rerun for me :). That makes me proud.
I love this story min! You have so much going for you and it's so exciting to hear that you are going for your Masters in Nutrition! I love your recipes and food inspiration so I know others will love it too 🙂 Also that pic of you and your husband is so beautiful!
Oh Natalie, you make me blush ;). Thank you! I'm just so thrilled with where life is taking me! Praise God!! 🙂
Oh how exciting!! You are going to be an amazing RD!
Thanks, Brittany!! I sure hope so!!
Yay! How exciting! I'm sure you will love the difference you will make in people's lives!!!!
Thank you so much, Jess! I can't wait!!!
Khushboo Thadani says
With such passion, I know you're going to make a fantastic RD! Congratulations on your new journey and look forward to reading all about it! Growing up I was super unhealthy and finally at the age of 16, I decided to overhaul my eating habits completely and become more active. In the process I lost 30 kgs, and am hoping to open up a nutrition consulting service soon- if you told me this 10 years ago, I would have laughed!
Thanks, Khushboo! Yes, I read your "about me" page before and remember thinking, "wow! good for her!" 🙂 That's a lot of weight you lost and managed to keep off!! So proud of you!! I bet your experience and knowledge will help sooo many others who're struggling with health and body issues!
I wonder what we'll laugh about 10 years from now ;).
Congrats!!!! You're going to be an amazing RD 🙂
p.s. so glad you commented on my blog so I could find yours! I'm now following!
Thank you thank you!
And how could I not visit a blog with a name like that! 😉 Such a lovely blog!! Love love love!
I know you're going to make an amazing RD and inspire/help so many people! I feel like when God puts something on our hearts, even when it's the most uncertain path, it can lead to some of the most blessed change in our lives! So glad that you overcame huge physical and mental obstacles to reach a point of healthy balance...your story is so honest, thank you for sharing it.
BTW, I love the Food Network too! My favs are Barefoot Contessa, Giada, and Bobby Flay 🙂
Where are the hiking pictures taken? It looks like Nevada or Utah?
Maura, you really know how to make my heart warm. Your empowering encouragement and support..I'll never forget it!
Yes yes yes! They really know what they're doing! I love all their recipes...except when they use blue cheese. I still haven't acquired a taste for it and don't know if I ever will.
The pictures are from our Sedona trip. We hiked all the trails and spent a day in Grand Canyon as well. By far my fav trip ever!
I'm the same way with blue cheese, keep hoping I'm going to like it, but never do!
Alex @ therunwithin says
what a great story, so proud of you!
Thanks, Alex 🙂
Wow your story is very inspiring! I just stumbled apon your blog ans loved your stories! Good luck in your studies :)! I just graduated from college, and lol totally admire the courage and will power you have to go back. Will definitely be back. Keep up with this awesome blog!!
Thanks, Carolyn! And welcome :). Yes..I never thought in million years that I'll be wearing a backpack again :(. But all is well! What're your plans now? Good luck to you as well!
Hey girl! Just found your blog and am so inspired by your journey! We have so many similarities 🙂 I graduated with a BA in Journalism and am thinking about taking classes to become either an RN or a RD. I would love to hear how the journey has been for you! 🙂
Ps. Are you from Cali?
Hi and welcome to my lil space :). Ooh both are really great options!
Oh boy, it's been quite a ride, that's for sure. But, it's the best decision I've ever made! If you'd like, you can can email me, and I'll be happy to share my story or answer any questions you might have :).
And I live in Texas.
Yay, thanks so much, I will definitely email you if I have any questions 🙂
What was your undergrad major in college? Mine was journalism -- so I'm going to be racked with all these science pre-reqs and some math that I never took in undergrad! haha.
Anna @ Hugs and Kiwis says
What a great story, Min! I'm so glad you found the balance you needed! Choosing to study nutrition was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Are you in a coordinated masters program? And thank you for stopping by my blog!
Hi, Anna! I wish I was..but there were none in my area :(. I really love the program that I'm in right now, but my commute isn't so pretty..takes an hour and half each way..I'm used to it now. I'm applying for the internship in the upcoming spring. Keeping my fingers crossed! Are you in the coordinated program?
Anna @ Hugs and Kiwis says
Oh my gosh how do you do it? I commute too but it only gets that long in the winter sometimes. No, I'm not in a coordinated program either. I was originally studying music. 🙂 I'll be applying at that time too. I'm getting kind of stressed but trying not to let it get to me! I'm sure you'll get it! Do you know what emphasis you're looking for? I love working in my community so I'll probably try for those internships.
Kari @ bite-sized thoughts says
Congratulations! This is a really inspiring and wonderful post, and I am so thrilled on your behalf that you are in a happier and healthier place these days - and that you are on the path to help others make similar changes in their own lives 🙂
Thanks, Kari!! Having a passion as strong as this is def a blessing! Even when the going gets tough at times, it gives me the drive to keep on trucking'!
Corrie Anne says
What an awesome story!!!!! How exciting -- I think that would be an amazing and fulfilling career!
I'm super excited!! Can't wait to be done with school..but I know this is a crucial step in becoming the best RD that I can possibly be, so I'm going to try to push aside the negativity and enjoy the ride :). I'm thrilled for you and your new business!!
Eeep this makes me more excited to become and RD. Jealous that you are in a masters programs - I am still looking into internships/masters programs. Very stressful haha.
P.S - you look lovely in the last picture 🙂
It WAS stressful indeed! But I'm soooo glad I took that leap of faith! You can do it, Kailey!!
How fantastic! Huge congratulations to you for your accomplishments and for the great future you have ahead of you! I look forward to following along. It's so cool that blogging can bring people together that might not have met otherwise. I'm about to start my master's in nutrition as well as my dietetic internship, so we'll be learning together! 🙂
And ps - It's nice to meet you, too! Thank you for stopping by my blog!
Ooh Good luck to you! I won't be able to apply for the internship until next year. I hope I get in the first time..I hear it's quite competitive. Are you in the coordinated program?
Yes, it is a coordinated program! I'm certainly no expert, but I'd be more than happy to help if you ever have questions on the internship application process or anything!
What an incredible story! You are so strong Min, and I know you are going to be a wonderful, inspiring RD! I look forward to following your blog!
Awww..Thanks Stephanie! And so are you!! We can do this :).