Confessions of a Registered Dietitian

Hey friends! Happy National Registered Dietitian (RD) Day! (And, while we’re at it – happy International Women’s Day! I’m wearing red – are you?)

I can’t believe it has been 4 years since I became an RD – I’ve officially been a dietitian longer than the amount of time it took me to become one, which is cool. :) Since I changed careers to become a dietitian and was coming from an unrelated field, it took me a total of 3.5 years to complete the prerequisites, required science-heavy coursework, and internship hours required to sit for the RD exam. Whew!

In December 2012, I graduated with my Masters of Public Health in Nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and in February 2013, I passed the RD exam and shortly after started my own nutrition coaching private practice at!

(See also: How to Become a Registered Dietitian from an unrelated field, and How to Start a Nutrition Counseling Private Practice).


unc mph rd program

As you guys know, I’m not your typical dietitian in that I tell clients to quit calorie counting and throw away their scales and stop following rigid diet plans (because being healthy means not always being healthy, in my opinion). I love helping others to improve their health in a balanced, sustainable, and non-stressful way through Intuitive Eating – so much so that besides focusing on it in my private practice, I also created a virtual non-diet intuitive and mindful eating group program last year called Joyful Eating, Nourished Life!

And now, in honor of the “holiday” today, I thought it would be fun to share some “confessions” of a Registered Dietitian. Enjoy – and please feel free to include your own (whether you are an RD or not) in the comments!

Confessions of a Registered Dietitian (RD)

1) I can’t even remember the last time I packed lunch.

When I was working in offices back in the day, and when I was in grad school full time, I used to pack lunch almost almost every single day. Now, as you’ve probably noticed by the fact that I haven’t shared a packed lunch idea in ages, I almost never pack my lunch, even though I work outside of the house at my co-working space in the city 2 to 3 days per week.

I often head straight to my co-working space from a workout class, so my backpack is not only stuffed with my work stuff (laptop, notebooks, etc.) but also all my sweaty workout gear (shoes + clothes) and shower stuff. Unless I got a HUGE backpack there’s no extra space for food (besides snack bars), and I’m really not interested in also carrying a heavy lunch box on top of all that other stuff.

But most importantly, there are tons of delicious fast casual places in DC near my co-working space that I want to enjoy! So I treat myself and refuse to feel guilty about it, even though it’s obviously more expensive. :)

    cava dc

2) I’m terrible at meal prep.

I know, a dietitian that sucks at meal prep – crazy, right? I know some people swear by meal planning and prep, but for me, it just feels overwhelming and limiting – and I never want to spend hours over the weekend in the kitchen prepping food. I’ve found that what works for us is to:

  • Have a few “wing it” dinner ideas that we always have the ingredients on hand for in the fridge/freezer/pantry (things like my saucy tomato artichoke chicken, or my recent fave Sheet Pan Asian Salmon – or there’s always breakfast for dinner).
  • Get Sun Basket (<—affiliate link for 3 free meals) or a similar service every week to cover 3 of our dinners and so we get to try new-to-us meals.
  • Have ingredients on hand for my go-to easy breakfasts (like my Perfect Microwave Banana Oatmeal and Flour Free Breakfast Pancake) and lunches when working from home (I usually make a grain bowl with greens, grains, beans, avocado, and random veggies).

I actually have a blog post coming up on easy pantry meal ideas/things to have on hand to be able to throw together easy meals without prep, so stay tuned for that. :)

sheet pan ginger soy salmon 6

3) I think cooking shows are boring.

I know I might be in the minority on this one, but I think cooking shows are really boring. Enough said. Travel/adventure shows, on the other hand? Love them. :) I’m also partial to teenage drama series that I probably shouldn’t be watching as a woman in my thirties, but I do anyway. Bonus points if they have vampires and/or werewolves involved. ;)

4) Sometimes I don’t take my own advice.

I write a lot about eating mindfully without distractions (and why you need to take a lunch break), and on listening to your hunger and fullness cues. But you know what? I’m human and certainly not perfect, and while I aim to take my own advice most of the time, sometimes I don’t. And that’s okay too. Sometimes I just really, really enjoy eating a meal in front of the TV. And sometimes I don’t plan ahead as well as I should have and I get a little too hungry (HANGRY) in the afternoons. Sometimes I have dessert or a few more bites of that burger and fries or another glass of wine, even though a little more will probably leave me feeling a little too full.


5) I get tired of people judging my food choices after I tell them that I’m an RD.

This one drives me especially crazy because, as an intuitive eating/”everything in moderation” RD, it bugs me even more that people assume I’m basically the food police (or on some sort of strict diet, or ready to put them on some sort of strict diet) because I’m a dietitian.

Inevitably, if I tell someone I’m an RD, especially if we are eating a meal together, the other person immediately makes assumptions and comments about what I’m about to eat or am already eating. Things like: “Oh, I better not eat bread in front of you!” or “I can’t believe you’re eating that burger!” or “Of course you’re having a salad!”

It’s all I can do to smile and explain that yes, I’m a dietitian, but I focus on intuitive eating and no, that does not involve restricting calories or food groups. Whatever I’m eating, “healthy” or not, is because I actually want it in that moment. I know people have good intentions and are just making conversation – but I’m so ready for the “food police” stereotype to be over with.

Your turn – share your food-related confessions, just for fun! Both RDs and non-RDs are welcome. :)


  1. 1

    Happy RD day! :D My sister is also an RD so I’m celebrating too hehe. That constant judgement would be so annoying! Wait, you don’t eat piles of vegetables 24/7?! ;-)
    I’m shocked you dont like cooking shows!! Even Chopped?! :-O I’m weirdly obsessed with watching Naked and Afraid…so addicting haha!

    • 2

      Haha no, I think all cooking shows are totally boring! Weird, I know. I guess maybe I’m not a true foodie! I like food… but I like fitness/adventure/outdoorsy stuff way more. :) I’ve actually been meaning to check out Naked and Afraid – sounds awesome! We don’t have cable so that also limits my TV watching, though… gotta wait for things to show up on Netflix or Amazon Prime! Or HBO Go. :)

  2. 3
    Jeffrey says:

    Where in the heck is that burger from. I need to get me one of those!!!

  3. 6

    “5) I get tired of people judging my food choices after I tell them that I’m an RD. ” – I can totally relate. I used to be a health coach and I would feel all this intense pressure about how I ate in the office in front of my co-workers (and then in front of my friends, in-laws etc.). It got to be so much that I actually quit that job and quit giving advice to others on how to eat.

    • 7

      Oh man, I’m sorry to hear that! It definitely comes with the territory – annoying but I usually just brush it off. :)

  4. 8

    Happy RD Day Anne!!! :) So thankful for RDs like you!! My best confession is that sometimes, esp over the summer, I love to have ice cream for dinner!! My favorite food :)

  5. 11

    Happy RD Day! I sometimes eat ice cream for dinner after telling clients to make better choices. Eek! That hasn’t happened lately though! And I was going to write a similar post of RD confessions and I got reamed in a Facebook group for asking because another RD went on a RANT about how dietitians are just people too so they’re not “confessions” and went on and on. Took the joy right out of it!

  6. 13

    I love Top Chef, but don’t watch a lot of cooking shows. I can’t imagine how annoying it must be to have people constantly commenting on what you eat. I have that happen sometimes just because some friends / family think of me as a “healthy” eater, and I hate it. At least it’s not with people I barely know though!

  7. 14

    UGH I can’t imagine the judgmental comments! I get comments like those since I’m a trainer. People think that means I want to to be active and workout ALL the time and I’m like, no, I don’t want to do 5 classes a day back to back and then go on a hike. I want to lay in my bed in PJS all day sometimes, hah

  8. 16
    Christine T says:

    This is my favourite – “you studied nutrition? great, tell me what I shouldn’t be eating!”
    Try explaining to people that yes, you have an MSc in Human Nutrition, but no, I am not trained to provide dietary recommendations. *blank stares*

    I’m with you on meal prep. I always have intentions of planning my meals for the week, but it never goes beyond choosing my proteins while grocery shopping … then winging it. I do try and prep veggies for snacking.

  9. 18

    Happy RD Day! My confession… I love sugar and eat it when I want. People think trainers are perfect… perfect to me is eating what I want and when I want it. Even if it’s a Cadbury Egg. When I tell clients this they always react in, “yay, but its not like that is normal for you!” Umm, yea, yea it is actually. lol

  10. 20

    Happy RD Day to my favorite RD! <3

  11. 22

    Food confession = I LOVE sugar and eat it (sometimes multiple times a day)! I have zero desire to give up my love for sugar and refuse to justify it to anyone…even when people stare in disbelief as I polish off an entire piece of Cheesecake Factory cheesecake b/c “it’s so rich/decadent (insert your preferred word for gluttonous).” I struggled with anorexia for years and deprived myself of so much good food that I refuse to deny myself anything now.

    Thank you so much for promoting intuitive eating and a healthy relationship with food/exercise/your body! That’s one of the many reasons I read (and enjoy!) your blog daily. Happy RD Day :)

  12. 24

    Happy RD Day- thanks for all you do to help pave the way for other media/communications RDs :) PS I totally hear you on #5… biggest pet peeve ever!!!!! I’m a human, I like to eat, and I like to eat good food including burgers, desserts, and salads.

  13. 26
    Michelle says:

    Happy RD Day! You are absolutely right about calorie counting and scales. I have failed with both. Two years ago I just stopped both. I went from 310 to my last physical 2 months ago to 165. I’m sure I’ve lost some more based on my clothes. Just cutting back and eating healthier. If I kept jumping in the scale or counted calories I know I wouldn’t have lost an ounce.

  14. 28

    RD confession: I don’t know everything there is to know about nutrition! I think a lot of people assume dietitians should just know it all. While we are the food and nutrition experts, most RDs specialize in a particular area. For me that’s pediatric endocrinology, so if you ask me a question about another area of nutrition, I may not know the answer! Seek specific nutrition advice from an RD that focuses on that particular subject :)

    Also, when nothing else sounds good, I will happily eat a bag of popcorn as dinner.

    • 29

      YES, that’s a good one too! Totally agree. :) When nothing else sounds good for dinner, I eat cheese and crackers (and sometimes fried eggs – obsessed)! :)

  15. 30

    Haha, I totally get the whole food police thing! I’m working towards my bachelor’s in dietetics and I have already gotten this from other people. I try and explain it by comparison tho: just because a pastor knows what’s right or wrong doesn’t make them a perfect human being, right? ;)

  16. 32

    Amen to #5! It drives me crazy. I’m a person first, then an RD. I feel like other professions don’t get the same flack for not always practicing what they preach. I doubt someone tells an accountant they’re making a superfluous purchase or calls out an off-duty cop for going over the speed limit. Just let me eat my brownie sundae in peace, please :)

  17. 34
    Roadrunner says:

    All things in moderation, including moderation, is a wonderful approach!

  18. 35

    I can relate to #5– I’m not an RD-but I’m a triathlete and I feel like people think we only eat super healthy and never indulge. A lot of my co-workers at my old office would gasp and be in complete shock when I would have something unhealthy for lunch. Sometimes, I just want a burger or a slice of pizza!

  19. 37

    Happy RD Day and I am also wearing red. For #5 I actually love the fact you eat burgers, fries, have wine, etc. It actually makes me feel better.

    My confessions – I love meal prepping. I love to think about what I am going to make, what ingredients to buy, make a list in my phone for the prep and grocery list and then spending Sunday cooking for the week. It was such a relaxation moment for me.
    I also love to bake, went on a binge this weekend and used 5lbs of butter, but I don’t look it because I will only have a bite of what I make. I get judged a lot by people wondering why I am not a diabetic and am not overweight.

  20. 38

    Happy RD Day, Anne! It was right around the time you graduated from UNC that I found your blog and found out I was accepted into their program, so I’ve looked up to you for a while! My RD confession? I eat dessert nearly every night and more often than not, my portions are not alligned :)

  21. 40
    Jennifer says:

    Happy RD Day to you, Anne! And HIWD (yes, I’m wearing red!)! I can’t believe I’ve been following your blog (any blog!) this long. I remember all those packed lunches! Your blog has really helped me get past that all or nothing mindset that makes healthy eating so stressful. Thank you!

  22. 42
    Jennifer says:

    I just came BACK to your page to tell you I also watch teenage drama shows that a 32 year old woman probably shouldn’t be watching. I just watched Gossip Girl for the first time and now I’m preparing for The Vampire Diaries series finale next week. I love shows like Game of Thrones too, but sometimes I just want to watch pretty people act melodramatic in fantasy worlds without being emotionally taxed ;)

    • 43

      Omg YES! Totally agree — sometimes I just need something totally lighthearted/ridiculous. I also watched Gossip Girl on Netflix last year – and I love The Vampire Diaries. I also watched One Tree Hill recently… and Teen Wolf until it got too absurd a few seasons in. My guilty pleasure! But yeah I love stuff like Game of Thrones, The Americans, House of Cards, etc. too – Matt and I watch those sorts of shows together. :)

      • 44
        Jennifer says:

        That moment when you’re watching these shows and you have to laugh and exclaim “oh god” – I swear that is stress leaving the body. I have never been able to get into One Tree Hill for some reason, but I’m sure I will try again! The Originals is also good (slightly more grown up than TVD even though it’s a spinoff). I am balancing this with Westworld right now, and docs like Netflix’s 13th (must see if you haven’t!). Yep, I think I’m ready for “This Week in Teenage Drama Shows” posts.

  23. 45

    I so love this! For years I got the, “you eat so healthy. Do ever eat anything ‘bad’?” That’s my favorite. Oh, so what is “bad”? After discovering your and Kylie’s blogs, following Kath for years, and finally ditching so much of that rigid, disordered eating mindset, I feel so good. Every day is not perfect, but I definitely love advocating for RD’s to remove the diet mentality. I think even when people meant well, by making those remarks, it made me feel like I had to live up to their expectations. Now if I have something that an RD isn’t expected to have, it rocks their world. ;) Hmm my confessions could be: (1) my husband and I often eat our smoothie/fruit yogurt/dessert later in the evening past the supposed random hour when we shouldn’t eat anymore, (2) we use real butter in our cooking, and (3) I love dessert! =D

    • 46

      I totally agree with feeling like you have to live up to expectations! It’s good to be aware of that so you remember to challenge it. :) So thrilled to hear you have ditched the rigid eating/rules!

  24. 47

    Happy RD day to you too!

    Totally agree on so many points here. I loathe meal prep. I tried to keep up with it years ago, but frankly it was more annoying and stressful. Even now as a mom, plus a job and running a household, I would rather wing it!!

    When anyone learns im an RD, I get the same responses you listed, plus “Can you analyze what i eat? Ill write it down” or “I want to lose this (as they reach for their hips or belly), can you tell me what to eat?” Or, “your daughter must eat really well” (I have a 2 year old). And lastly, my favorite is “if you just tell me what to buy and eat, ill follow it”.
    Ha, so in other words, LAZY.

    Have a wonderful night!

  25. 49

    Love this comment thread! My food confession: I never eat before my morning runs and on weekends/evenings I wait at least 90 minutes (if not two hours) between eating and running. I feel a little guilty about not adequately fueling but I have a pretty sensitive tummy and I’d much rather run on an empty stomach than feel icky throughout the whole thing.

  26. 51

    Loved this post! I’m not an RD, but am in the public health field, and people still often comment when I do not-so-healthy things! So bizarre, but glad you can just laugh & put it aside!

  27. 53

    Thank you for sharing there – I love that you believe in throwing away the scales! I can totally get on board with that :)
    Izzy | Pinch of delight

  28. 54

    I love this post! This is my first national RD day as an official RD. I’m also a career changing and spent 4 years in school to get here. My confession is that I hate talking nutrition with people who aren’t my clients or fellow RDs. I feel like either people want to argue with me or judge how they eat- and either one is a lose-lose situation. I avoid it as much as possbile

  29. 57

    Happy RD Day! As an almost-RD (just half a semester, 1 summer internship, a thesis to finish, and an exam to take to be there, haha!) I agree the food police thing is so ridiculous. I don’t care what you eat and you shouldn’t care what I eat (although I do say I judge what people feed their kids…). When my cohort goes out usually we’re all ordering beers and splitting tater tots or cheese curds :)

  30. 59

    Hi! Long time reader.. first time commenter! Love your blog.. but as another dietitian.. saying something like ” I’m not your typical dietitian in that I tell clients to quit calorie counting and throw away their scales and stop following rigid diet plans” seems to be perpetuating the misconception that dietitians do those things! All the dietitians I know and work with are all about healthy eating and hunger cues rather than counting calories and meal plans! Obviously not everyone would fit into that category but I think their are a lot more than people think and it is our job to spread that message :)

    • 60

      You know what, you’re totally right! Thanks for pointing that out. It has been really awesome seeing that more and more RDs are going the intuitive eating route – very exciting time in the field!

  31. 61

    Love this post!!

  32. 62

    This is fun! I love your message as an RD. I go back and forth with food prep. Sometimes I find it relaxing to spend the afternoon chopping and baking but other times it’s overwhelming and makes too much of a mess!
    My confession as an RD to be is that I really love Diet Coke and drink it almost daily. I know it adds no benefit to my health, but I love the way it taste.

    • 63

      You do you girl! And yeah, whether I like food prep is mostly weather-related for me! If it’s cold/rainy/gross out, then I don’t mind being in the kitchen and it can be relaxing chopping and such. If it’s nice out, though, I just want to be outside! :)

  33. 64

    You look so great in the pic. I admire you so much. Love the post. Thanks for sharing!

  34. 66

    Happy RD Day! I just want to say that I really appreciate those dietitians like you. I’m too tired to hear such advices like “you should not eat that, you must eat this”. You sympathize with us. I’m greatful for that.

  35. 67

    I’m terrible at meal prep too, we must try harder! Haha! Can I also say I love your dress, you look beautiful. Thanks for your honest post, Sarah :)

  36. 69

    Happy RD day Anne! Loved reading your post and ‘confessions’. I’m not an RD but I do tend to eat pretty healthy, especially during the workweek. My jobs requires me to sit almost all day and there is nothing worse than feeling sluggish physically and mentally for 8+hrs due to something I ate. My coworkers often comment on my “big bowls of health” and “how healthy they are” but trust me, I do eat red meat, enjoy wine and carbs just like the best of them-just not every day.
    By the way, I LOVE your dress. Not sure if its a DVF but regardless, it looks great on you! :-)

  37. 71

    I like to eat dinner in bed…that’s weird isn’t it ;) Love this post!

  38. 73

    #5! Ugh yes! And then conversation always turns to..”let me talk your ear off about my thoughts/opinions on food for the next hour” thank you, let me be in peace. :)

  39. 75

    love this post!
    actually, #4 is my favorite! (even though i know it,) it’s still nice to hear that people we look up to aren’t *picture perfect*, in a good way, haha. i also offer advice to some of my friends on how to make halthy eating easier, but i know it can be super hard in college and definitely don’t follow my own advice sometimes! D: live a little!

  40. 77

    As an RD, #5 drives me nuts! So many comments on my food…at work, at the grocery store, around family. My favorite people to eat with are other (sane) RDs ;)

  41. 78
    Ginger G. says:

    Oh gosh, #5 ALL DAY!!! As an RD who looooves pizza & Mexican food, this one gets old so fast! It’s all about balance, folks. ;)

Speak Your Mind