What I have learnt in 2016 as a Student Dietitian

Happy New Year! Another year has flown by, and what a year it has been! I am lucky enough (and very grateful) to say that 2016 was a great year for me. This is a snapshot of what I achieved in 2016:

  • I started the year volunteering in Thailand for 212484764_10153391054013233_4274622221728540283_oweeks; I then travelled Thailand for an extra week. It was an incredible experience that I will remember forever.
  • Only a few days later I drove up to Merimbula and spent a week there with a group of my closest school friends.
  • University began for 2016, I completed my first clinical placement.
  • 13548816_10154364312984571_874732175_o.jpgI was awarded the Margaret Niall Prize for the highest average marks for years 1 and 2 of my course, which I was very honoured to have received.
  • I road tripped around New Zealand for 3 weeks in the mid-year break with Jack, we were both mesmerised by the picturesque beauty that New Zealand had to offer us.
  • Semester 2 began. This semester was heavy on the theory, but extremely interesting and very applicable to Dietetics. I discovered what areas of Dietetics interested me most (oncology and gastrointestinal), as well as what I was not as interested in (paediatrics and weight loss).
  • I completed a food service placement in a mental health ward, which was an eye-opening experience.
  • After University finished, I finally decided to begin my blog.
  • I was given the opportunity to volunteer for a Dietetic clinic over the 2016-2017 summer holidays.

… But now 2016 is in the past, another year has begun and who knows what this year will hold for us all! I thought I would share with you some things I have learnt in 2016 that I will be taking with me into 2017 and beyond:

  1. The number on the scales is literally just that, a number. And weight is not the be all and end all indicator of being healthy. Health is measured in many ways, however as a society we tend to only focus on weight and nothing else to really determine how healthy we are. People of all different shapes and sizes are considered healthy, so please don’t focus solely on the number on the scales.

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  1. Nutrition advice is everywhere! My message is to check for the research behind what you are reading/hearing, whether the person is in fact qualified to give dietary advice, and whether you believe it is something realistic and achievable (a lot of advice is not, and is in fact even considered dangerous both physically on the body, and quite often mentally!)
  1. If you nourish your body with delicious, good quality food from the food groups, your body will thank you for it. Get creative, try some new recipes, try to be mindful when you are eating by switching off the TV at dinnertime and try to listen to what your hunger and satiety cues are telling you.

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  1. There will always be people who are skeptical. This follows on more from point 2. I have come across people who question my career choice of Dietetics and some of the advice we give. Yet, Dietetics is all about evidence based practice and ensuring optimum, SAFE care for our patients, so quite obviously we (and any other health profession) are not going to practice using advice given by the new celebrity chef when there is no evidence to support it, particularly not in a clinical setting when people are vulnerable and un well.
  1. Nutrition is constantly evolving and ever-changing. Keeping up with the research is important. This is why I try to keep up to date with latest research and why I have to explore and use the scientific literature for practically anything I complete for Uni.

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Happy New Year, I hope you all have a happy and safe 2017!

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