Hi. I’m Michelle, a fat lady with a nutrition degree.
I’m not a registered dietitian, though I do have a 4-year degree in dietetics. My formal title is “diet tech,” which is a lesser-known role that involves screening people for nutritional risk, referring people to RDs, and also providing nutrition education.
That’s what I do – I educate people about healthy eating. What I don’t do, at present, is clinical work, meaning that I don’t prescribe special diets to help someone cure or manage a disease. When someone needs that kind of help, I refer them to a trusted RD.
Because, to be perfectly frank, I’m fat. And I’m telling you this up front because I don’t want you getting the wrong idea about me.
See, I’m not here to give you a stern talking-to about your weight, or your eating habits, or your lack of exercise. And I’m certainly not here to pretend that I’m perfect, that I know it all, and that you’d better do what I say or else.
Nope. Not even remotely.
So, I call myself fat because not only am I fat, I’m also not especially bothered by it. Because the size of my body, and your body, is morally neutral. Fat doesn’t equal lazy or ugly or even, necessarily, unhealthy.
It’s just a word.
This all might seem a bit strange, since I’m bigger than most people, let alone most nutritionists — but I’m a pretty normal person. And a good nutritionist.
Who is also fat.
I have a Dietitians of Canada-accredited bachelor’s degree in nutrition (with a focus on dietetics), and I work online to help people stop dieting and relearn normal eating. I’m 34 years old, and I’ve been doing nutrition stuff professionally (mostly in hospitals) since 2004. In fall 2014, I will embark on a 9-month dietetic internship.
I’ve completed the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics-approved Treating the Dieting Casualty workshop, where I learned how to teach people eating competence.
All told, I’ve worked in nutrition for ten years.
I’ve helped teach people how to feed themselves through a tube, how to count carbs for an insulin pump, and what to expect from chemo.
I’ve analyzed people’s diets and read their histories. I’ve held their hands. I’ve brought their Jello.
And I’ve pretty much loved every minute of it.