It’s been awhile since I’ve posted an opinion/educational piece outside of recipes. I’ve been in a bit of a slump as far as this side of my brain goes, so forgive me for delaying my sassy rants. I’ll be back with plenty of recipes, but I felt like this piece needed to be out there, so here goes nothing. As they say on social media TLDR (aka too long, don’t read…unless you’re interested, then read away)
I’m incredibly passionate about my profession as well as my sport/fitness. However, I believe that dietitians are undervalued and overly disliked. I’m in the business of helping people build better relationships with food, find balance in their diet, fitness, & health AND help them fuel their fitness-minded lifestyles for the long haul. It’s a pretty tall order and not all that rewarding most of the time. I’m not in the business of making money. Sure, I have to feed myself, but I’m not in this to make millions, I’m in this to make a difference.
Anywho, I took to Instagram, as well as my email yesterday to voice my concerns, opinions, and Sassy feelings to protect & defend not only my profession but also my clients, followers, friends & family. I also wanted to educate people on WHY it all matters. Let’s be honest nutrition may be something everyone deals with but it should NOT be something you mess with when it comes to someone else’s diet/nutrition.
What Am I Talking About?!
Yesterday, The Morning Chalk Up, a news & media source for CrossFit came out with a blog article all about a Health Coach being forced to stop her practice because it was illegal in Florida. There were claims of it being a violation of freedom of speech, but turns out she was giving nutrition advice–how clinically based i’m not sure– for pay, which is not a freedom of speech violation, it is indeed a violation of the law.
I feel bad for this woman as I’m sure she was doing the nutrition work from a good place. HOWEVER, and this is a big however, there are far too many health coaches, macro coaches, and other nutritionists out there giving advice with little to no educational or experiential background. Just because you eat, have a certain condition, and/or have abs does not mean you are qualified to deal with people’s nutrition. It’s unfortunately not as simple as it would appear. People are so vulnerable when it comes to food, diet, and lifestyle factors that you must be educated on and tested on (under supervision) how to help with behavior change & modification and to also know when it’s NOT your place to be giving nutrition advice.
I’m not saying there is not a space for health coaches, but for crying out loud people, STAY IN YOUR LANE.
Here’s my posts from the gram:
CrossFit’s Stand on Dietitians
Here’s what sucks majorly about the whole thing, I’ve been doing CrossFit for 7 years, almost as long as I’ve been a dietitian and I see similarities all the time. I am in support of CrossFit trying to help people move better & just live better, longer, and healthier lives. I’m even in support of them helping doctors see the benefits of focusing more on fitness and nutrition. I’m SO a CrossFit fan.
However, I feel like CrossFit is out to take down dietitians and it needs to stop. I will forever advocate for my profession because it’s necessary as many dietitians are afraid to do harm, speak out, and stand up for themselves because they are humble, hard working, and realize how much they don’t know. Are we a perfect profession?! OF course not, but show me ONE profession that is perfect, i’ll wait.
So, CrossFit slanders Dietitians because they say we’re to blame for obesity and we want a monopoly on the market so we can make more money. Here’s the thing, there really aren’t ENOUGH dietitians as it is AND we don’t make a lot of money. We work really hard to do our job and we don’t ask for much but some dang respect. I also believe we are not the sole cause of obesity, just look at the food industry, news media outlets, influencers, and more, and to point finger on us, is narrow minded and quite insulting.
Dietitians On the Record
I figured it might be interesting to some of you to know the stats of a dietitian as related to nutritionists/health coaches. Listen there is a time and place for a health coach and frankly I think if there were more laws around nutrition counseling, we ALL could work together to form a team of professionals that help our clients and help one another, just saying.
Educational Requirements to be a Dietitian: 4 years of full-time study & 120 credit hours (there are certain classes that are requirements like Biochemistry, Anatomy, etc.)
(Educational Requirements to call yourself a nutritionist/health coach: a few weeks, usually online & self-study; source: https://www.exercise-science-guide.com/blog/5-most-popular-health-coaching-certifications/)
Supervised Practice Hours Required to become a Dietitian: 1200 hours (not to mention the whole application process to become a dietitian & the requirement of a Masters by 2024)
(Supervised Practice Hours Required to become a nutritionist/health coach: usually 0)
Continuing Education Hours Required to remain a Dietitian: 75 approved credit hours every 5 years
(Continuing Education Hours Required to remain a nutritionist/health coach: depends, but if you just call yourself a nutritionist…0)
Total Known Registered Dietitians: 89,300
Average Base Pay of Dietitians: $59,660
If anything there is an argument for creating MORE jobs for dietitians and more pay, but that’s neither here nor there. We are not, in fact, trying to corner the market, we are actually trying to show our value AND do no harm in the process. I wish I had known about the opportunities for dietitians outside of clinical practice as there is a HUGE need for us and not a lot of education for young-ins on the jobs, responsibilities and career paths of dietitians.
Why It Matters
Because we are in a social media world where influencers are crossing lines and nutrition advice is being thrown out right and left. People are not just physically unhealthy but also mentally & emotionally. Many people without the training to recognize signs & symptoms of disordered eating, mental health issues, etc. are doing more harm than good, and CrossFit seems to support them far more than they support us Dietitians.
Dietitians are not a perfect breed, believe me, I’m far from it. But we do have the education, training, & experience to handle far more than CrossFit gives us credit for. We are not the cause of the obesity epidemic and I sure as hell don’t see dietitians taking pride in making people LESS healthy. Almost every dietitian I know is passionate about food, nutrition, fitness and more and wants nothing more than to support the health and well being of our population.
What We/You/I Can Do About It
My first thought was, WHY don’t dietitians get the respect they deserve and WHY CAN’T WE JUST ALL GET ALONG.
We can start by recognizing that we are all in this together, we all want the same things, and that there are regulations & laws put into place to protect us not harm us nor put a monopoly on the nutrition market. Dietitians are just looking for some respect, the same kind that lawyers, doctors, dentists, therapists, engineers, and accountants receive. This is not a petition to get rid of nutritionists/health coaches, but it is a declaration that dietitians are the health experts, they are not in this for a monopoly, but instead in it to help people navigate the often scary & confusing world of nutrition. If we could all stay in our lanes, we could all help one another be healthier.
CrossFit treats doctors with respect, why not dietitians?! CrossFit, it’s your turn to make a move, and I’m waiting on you to do the right thing.