Why We Became Dietitians

Andy– My mom would tell us to “Major in something you know.” I was a member of the gymnastics team in college, and had been a gymnast since I was four. I had to pay attention to what I ate, and how to fuel my body. From there, nutrition sounded like a great next step.

  Once I finished grad school and my internship, I decided if I hated being a dietitian that I would go back to medical school. Quite the opposite happened. I realized that through nutrition and lifestyle I can help prevent so many health issues in individuals, and that being a ‘food doc’ was more fun anyways.

Sarah– The functions of the human body fascinated me and I wanted to be in a career where I could provide direct healthcare for a client! However my stress relieving hobby has always been cooking and baking. I find spending time in the kitchen relaxing, methodical, and scientific in its own way. Cooking also provided me an outlet to express my creativity since the math & sciences are highly black & white, but I had never considered the Chef route as a career choice – I heard too many horror stories! 

  It was an “Introduction to Nutrition” course where I discovered that my two passions – food and the human body – were married. It was a match made in heaven. Nutrition combined everything I loved about the science of the intricate mechanisms of the body can influenced by the science of food and vice versa.  I immediately changed paths to become a Dietitian and have never looked back. Though not quite a physician – I like to joke that I became a “Food Doctor” instead.

Elaine– I took the more scenic route in my career before discovering dietetics.  My first job post college was working at a cancer clinic.  I realized I was more interested in science, medicine and nutritional support to improve patient care and quality of life. I went back to school but noticed that my lifestyle changed completely – I had no balance between school or my personal life.

  After much debate and soul searching, I decided to sign up for nutrition classes.  It was like night and day. Classes were engaging, the professors were supportive and I found balance.  I completed my degree in nutrition, high tailed it to the West Coast for my internship and sat for my RD exam about one year later. It took me a while to find my niche, but at least I found it. Nutrition was the happy medium I was searching in a career.

Marissa– My senior year of college, I started writing a column for the Tufts Daily entitled, “EAT THIS!” though I wasn’t a nutrition major. At that time, a Tufts Nutrition PhD student fact-checked my columns before they were published. Over time, the PhD student and I grew close and she became a mentor to me, both inspiring and encouraging me to make a career out of nutrition, versus allowing it to become a side-passion. And so the story goes, I embarked upon a post-bac program after college to become eligible for a Master of Science in nutrition and physiology, with the goal of becoming an RD. The road was long (four years, including a 12-month internship plus a 100+ page thesis!) but I am grateful I kept my eyes on the prize: nutrition is a field in which I have become truly “saturated.” Get it? 🙂 

Julie– My senior year of high school I found myself transitioning out of swimming and taking on a gym membership instead.  I bought health related magazines (to read while using cardio machines) and started to become more informed about the benefits of being physically active and eating nutritious food.  This peaked my curiosity about food.  My mom didn’t like to cook, and I was tired of her five dinner rotation, so I started spending time looking at cookbooks for recipes to try, grocery shopping, and preparing healthy meals for my family.  I really enjoyed it.  I went to college not knowing that being a dietitian was an occupation, but once I learned of it I knew that I could pursue my passion for living a healthy lifestyle while making it my career choice.  I am a foodie at heart and love all things about food.  

Erika– In high school, I suffered a fracture to my tibia and fibula (lower leg) that me in a wheelchair and boot for quite a while. Prior to, I was an avid athlete. I had gained weight when on ‘bedrest’ and that sparked an interest in health and weight loss. Fast forward back to college, where I was put in a Nutrition 101 course my first semester, and I found it to be more interesting and exciting than any other course. Immediately after, I switched to the RD path and never looked back. It sort of fell into my lap, and I’m very grateful!

Shelly– I took an introduction to nutrition course and was instantly hooked. I remember being particularly enamored with the many varied and critical roles of vitamins and minerals. My mom always says that she knew nutrition was the field for me because, “Who gets excited about vitamins?” Nutrition became even more of a passion for me after I took my first anatomy and physiology class – our bodies really are so incredible and how we eat matters! My specialty in sports nutrition was an extension of this amazement over the functions of the human body because athletes (of all levels) demand so much of their bodies that what they eat becomes essential to their ultimate success.

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