So you want to be a nutrition student?

Today I’m about to get up close and personal with you. I’m going to tell you future nutrition students some things you might not want to hear. Some of the things I say may make you question yourself. But let me make myself 100% clear: despite everything I say today, I couldn’t be happier with my choice to become an RD. So yes, even when I lay out all my frustrations with this field, know that I am content with my choice because it feels 110% right.

Regardless, if you’re thinking about majoring in nutrition in college, considering becoming an RD, or if you’re already in nutrition and debating switching majors, this list might be something for you to take a peek at.

Ten Things You Should Know Before Becoming a Nutrition Student:

  1. Everybody else thinks you’re “just studying food so how hard can that be?”
  2. If you think you’ll “just be studying food” you might want to reconsider.
  3. Justifying that nutrition is science is a daily occurrence.
  4. It’s expensive. And I don’t mean just tuition expensive, I mean be prepared to dole out a lot of money between memberships to professional organizations, your internship, and random things your professors want you to have.
  5. Oh yeah, that internship. 1200+ hours working for free and slowly dying for 10 months? Sounds fun.
  6. Ooh did I mention how competitive this field is? The internship only matches about 50% of its applicants. Good luck! (<– Not sarcasm, I know a lot of you have submitted DICAS recently and I know you’re waiting on pins and needles, so really, good luck!)
  7. If you’re becoming an RD (which you should if you want to do anything nutrition-related) get ready to sit for a tough credentialing exam after your internship.
  8. All your friends will suddenly stop wanting to eat around you (possibly). Or, they will constantly be looking at your plate and dissecting what you’re eating. You’re a nutrition student and you’re having a cookie? *gasp*
  9. This field is so vast it’s so hard to pick what direction you want to go in (which isn’t totally bad).
  10. You will doubt yourself and your desire to follow this path. Stay strong because it will be worth it in the end, I promise.

I’m making nutrition sound like a pile of poo, but I promise it’s not. And maybe these don’t apply to every nutrition student out there, and maybe they won’t apply to you, but throughout my time these are some of the things I’ve encountered. Nutrition is a fascinating subject and it opens the doors to being able to help so many people. I don’t regret my choice for a second, but I do wish that I came into it more prepared than I was. Hopefully armed with this short list of sarcastic quips you feel a little bit more prepared for the journey you’re about to embark upon.

Have a wonderful week ya’ll.

Top 5 Tips to Avoid the Freshmen 15 (Because it is avoidable!)

You’ve all heard of it: the dreaded “freshmen-15”, but let’s talk about how it’s not a fate written in stone for all of you who are college-bound.

Hello friends! Did you have a wonderful weekend? I hope so! This weekend we were in full on move-in mode (for the last time ever until I get my own apartment somewhere which’ll be a whole different kind of scary/awesome experience altogether) and today I started classes back up! Mondays are super light for me so not too much to complain about really. Just some good ol’ Medical Nutrition Therapy I (maybe I’m a little terrified?).

So I know we’re in the midst of back-to-college season, and I know there are more than a few of you who have heard how challenging it can be to maintain healthy habits when you’re living anywhere but at home. Now this’ll be my sixth year in those circumstances, and while I’ve been living in an apartment for the last few, I did my fair share of time in a dorm room finding sustenance at a less-than-stellar dining hall (naturally it wasn’t until the first year I got an apartment my alma mater decided to step up their game). But, I digress. My point is I’ve been in your shoes and I know how difficult it can be.

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Let me take you back to my senior year in high school where I had some unhealthy tendencies shying toward poor body image and overexercising (I have talked briefly about this in a previous post). After I was at my thinnest, I did put weight on in college and it’s taken me some time to find a happy medium. It wasn’t so much the dining hall meals that did me in, rather their dessert spreads, the cafe food on campus, snacking, ordering out, and maybe perhaps getting cookies and having them delivered at 12am (I’m not joking though – you seriously need to try out Insomnia Cookies if you’ve never had it). In the dining hall I got pretty sick of the food they were serving after awhile and ended up sustaining myself on made-to-order sandwiches (which I still sometimes crave haha), whole wheat pasta with Italian dressing, grilled chicken, cooked vegetables, and salads. The sad thing is, this is not a joke.

Let’s talk about how to avoid putting on the pounds and still manage to eat healthily in college, but remember to still take the time to enjoy the college experience because sometimes ordering cookies and midnight is a necessity (aka: studying for finals).

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So how is ForksandNature doing?!

Hello everybody! Today I wanted to take some time and do a little six-month update for those of you who have been taking time to visit my corner of the web. I thought I might let all of you know how ForksandNature is fairing, what’s up next in the queue, and where I’d like to see us going in the future!

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My journey as a nutrition student so far

This year has challenged me in ways I never encountered as a bio major at my undergrad, but I love it.

After all, what’s life without a little challenge right?

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Dietitians can’t cook – says who?!

How many of you really think us dietitians or dietitians-to-be can’t?

Hello everybody! I hope you all had a great week last week. It was definitely a very busy one for me to say the least. The project I’m about to share with you absolutely dominated my schedule and left me little time to do much else in the way of classwork for other classes that I desperately needed to do. But oh well. This project was way too much fun so I didn’t mind at all. But moving along…

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What do Dietitians Do?

It’s a lot more than just working in a hospital.

Hello again! I hope everyone’s Monday is going great. It’s already the last week of February – can you believe it?! I know I can’t, but I’m happy to see it go. One less month of winter! Those in the northeast US know what I’m talking about.

Anyways, in today’s post I wanted to branch into the dietetics profession because some of you may be curious as to what RD’s or RDN’s do for jobs. Even today I’m still finding new avenues I could potentially walk as my career blooms. So let’s talk a little bit about what working in the profession is like.

When someone thinks of a dietitian they often picture somebody in a white coat walking through a hospital, creating diet plans for patients, and generally being responsible for overseeing anything to do with the hospital’s food. Yes, you can go this route, and yes you will find plenty of dietitians filling these clinical shoes. A rather large chunk of your dietetic intern hours will be spent in clinical as well. It’s a fantastic jumping off point for a plethora of other opportunities that are available in the field, but most importantly going into clinical is not something you have to do.

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New Year’s Resolutions

What kinds of resolutions does a nutrition student even make?

Hello again! I know that making those New Year’s resolutions seems a bit out of place now that 2015 is almost a month in. But, I’ve had a couple of other topics I wanted to talk about to kick my blog off and give you guys a good picture of who I am, and why I might even have a little bit of credibility to talk to you about things nutrition or fitness related.

I’ll preface this by saying that these goals of mine are in no way some sort of perfect recipe for achieving ultimate health. They are very specific to what I am trying to achieve over the course of the new year in terms of creating healthier habits. There are things that I need to work on – as we know, nobody’s perfect. Not even a nutrition student when it comes to eating healthy!

I believe in making small changes that really can add up over time. There are very few people in this world that can start off with great, sweeping resolutions and hold them not just for the full year, but for life. I’m not saying that it’s impossible, but if you truly want your resolutions to be sustainable it’s been shown time and time again that gradual and small is the way to go.

And I mean, let’s think about it. How many times have you heard someone say they’re completely cutting out sweets this year and a few weeks in they cave and consume all of the sweets in the house? I’ve definitely been there, but moving on…

My changes are small. I’m slightly tweaking lifestyle habits to perpetuate the healthy life I promote, but don’t always achieve. It is a tough balancing act, being a graduate student on a limited budget with limited time trying to incorporate healthy eating (while keeping it quick and cheap) and regular fitness (hour gym sessions just don’t cut it). Here are some of my health-related resolutions this year that I hope to not only keep in 2015, but even beyond that.

1. Drink more water. Yes, everyone says it. Yes, it’s not all uncommon. But the value of drinking water is just too incredible not to mindfully include it on this list. Towards the end of last semester I started a water challenge with my flatmates. We agreed to drink 1 gallon of water each day, but during my semester break I fell off that bandwagon and need to get back on.

2. Not eating any sweet snacks (like cookies, of which I am oh so fond) after 8pm. I know this may seem a little arbitrary, but since most of my activity is done earlier in the day I don’t want to pack on extra calories late into the evening. Now this doesn’t mean a. I won’t ever eat sweet snacks because I do enjoy indulging, or b. I can’t eat anything after 8pm even if I’m starving – healthy snacks are totally fine.

3. Lead a more active lifestyle. I do a lot of sitting. I sit in class. I sit on the computer. I sit in the library. It just kind of happens. Because I watch a decent amount of TV shows (most nights of the week if I’m honest), I made a decision last semester to stand and watch TV instead of sitting. This helps eliminate some hours where I’d usually be sitting, and towards the end of the semester I utilized the time to work out as well when I was busy and couldn’t get my workout in for the day. So I’d like to continue doing that and add in walking around campus during my breaks instead of holing up in the library as I’m wont to do during this incredibly cold weather.

4. Try – try – to work out in the morning. Let’s face it: when I’ve got class at 8 or 9:30 in the morning it’s not gonna happen. But when I’ve got class late or on weekends I’d like to try and get up early enough to work out to get it out of the way. This is more specifically for the summer when I’m home, as I’m apt to work out in the evening. It really doesn’t matter when you do, as long as you get up and move. Sometimes I just want to get it out of the way for the day.

5. Stretch most nights before bed. I’ve already been doing this one since the new year started and I can say it is a really great way of calming down before bed. I’ve also been sleeping better since I’ve started, and I just really love stretching and working out the kinks in my body (I’m getting older and I swear once you hit your twenties your body just starts hating you a little bit).

And that’s it! As you can see, I haven’t overwhelmed myself with resolutions, and they’re all relatively small changes I can make to existing habits to ensure that I’m always trying to live a healthy lifestyle. I do, of course, have additional things I’d like to work on in my personal/academic life as well, but I thought I’d keep it to just these for the sake of this blog.

I hope your year has started off with a bang and proves to be even better than you’re hoping for!

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Question of the week: what sorts of New Year’s Resolutions did you make (if you made any) this year?