Adventures with a Wacky Dietician

I was forced to see a dietician when I started treatment. She seemed nice enough when I first met her, but I quickly developed a kind of dislike for her. She had frizzy brown hair that stuck out everywhere. She was wider around the middle than I had expected a dietician/nutritionist to be, which was probably a sign. He would leave me waiting in the waiting area surrounded by screaming sick kids that touched their noses and then the furniture for hours past my appointment time. If my mom hadn’t have had to pay a copay for the appointment she would have let us leave when I suggested it the first time. By the tenth time she’d be seriously considering it. How do you get behind in telling people what to eat?

In my first meeting she went over my charts and folded down the part that had my weight on it. This really bothered me. It was written in the metric system so they could have shown it to me and I wouldn’t have known what it meant. I had a scale at home, I thought, so why bother hiding it from me? I can still check it when I get home. My mom would try to look at it, too, when they would bring her in. We found a metric conversion thing on our cell phones and I got really good at reading upside-down and backwards through the paper. I could have gone home and checked there but we always wanted to know then. My specialist kept the paper with my weight on it on a clip board that he held up in front of him so I never had a chance to see it, but the dietician would put it down on the table, and that just infuriated me.

Then, when she would talk to me I felt like I was being quizzed. It was like when I was in driver’s ed where every drive was a test when I had never backed around a corner before.

“So fats are…” she’d ask.

“Good?” I’d guess. I often wondered if I was supposed to be studying nutrition at home when I wasn’t in the hospital or at school. She would never just give me an answer, she would make me guess. If I’m there for an eating disorder I think it’s pretty obvious that I know nothing about nutrition and eating right, so making me guess really aggravated me. I wanted to get up and scream, “No I don’t know what the answer is! If I did I most likely would not be here!” 

She once told me you can’t have a dry sandwich and that I should put mayo on it. I have never liked mayo, and I thought, “of course you can have a dry sandwich. It’s delicious!”

During most visits I would just zone out and pretend I was listening. I would give little one or two word answers to what she asked me and then I would go get my mom and she would make me tell my mom what we had discussed which both my mom and I did not like because it reminded us of student led conferences at school which we believe are pointless. The idea of a conference is to talk with the teacher/advisor about the progress the student is making. The student does not know. If they did, there would be no need for a conference. I never knew what to tell my mom because I didn’t actually listen to our meetings so I would tell her what I had listened to and the dietician would fill in the rest, which was a lot.

One day she told me she was going to measure my muscle mass. She took out some calipers and measured the muscle on my right arm. The first thing she said about it once it was done was, “Wow, I expected you to have a lot more muscle than that.”


She had this illusion that I was a part of a dance team because I told her that I liked to dance. My work outs used to consist solely of 1-2 hours of dancing in my room to music on my iPod.

She never gave me a meal plan. She said she didn’t believe in them. Given what she would tell me to eat though it would probably look like this: Breakfast – French toast drowned in syrup and strawberries from a syrup can and powdered sugar. Lunch – White bread sandwich with mayo, turkey, and lots of cheese, a bag of chips, and a king size candy bar. Dinner – white pasta covered in white sauce and a bucket of parmesan cheese, a loaf of garlic bread, and a large slice of chocolate cake and a candy bar.

When I told her what my lunch consisted of, which at first was nothing but then became half a peanut butter sandwich and an apple she told me to add a bag of chips and candy. I told her I could never have that because my family eats it all before I get to it, which is true. She told me to get my own cupboard space. My mom ate out of my cupboard even though it was supposed to be exclusively for me. So I told her I had never liked potato chips, which is also true, and half a year later candy bars would make me sick to where I couldn’t eat them even if I wanted to.

One day after I’d been going there for a while I was excited for my appointment. The weeks leading up to it I had learned about what it meant to eat healthy and clean and what that did for your body. I had increased my fruit and vegetable intake, not to the recommended amount given by the food pyramid (which was still what was out at that time), but still better that what it had been before.

“Let’s go over your meals in a typical day and see how it compares to the food pyramid,” she said. First of all, I hate the “typical day” thing because what equals a typical day? Also, who eats to the food pyramid? Who carries a food pyramid around and makes sure the eat everything on it?

We went over everything and I told her I would be increasing my fruit and veggie intake as it was low but she said, “oh, we don’t have to worry about that. I think you’re fine. You should be getting more grains and dairy.” She told me to have all 12 suggested servings on the pyramid and get 5 to 6 servings of dairy a day. While the dairy thing made sense somewhat since I wasn’t having any and bones are important I increased it to the recommended 3 and called it good.

According to her I need to eat more junk and less fruits and veggies. You can see why I stopped going.

Any crazy stories about your dietician/nutritionist?


13 thoughts on “Adventures with a Wacky Dietician

  1. Kit-Kat says:

    When I was at my worst, my nutritionist wanted me to turn in my younger brother and sister to CPS (we homeschool). Also, when I was getting comfortable with eating lunch again, she said that I had to go OUT of my comfort zone, and told my mom to force me to eat foods that I had hated since I was a child to numb my senses.
    My mom decided to can the nutritionist once she found out about the CPS thing.

  2. recoveringwithhope says:

    Mine made a comment under her breath about ‘well I guess she’s been alive this long ‘ when we had to schedule the next appointment for a few weeks out. And keeps trying to get me to eat foods with dairy even though I can’t have dairy. Ugh.

  3. Megan says:

    That’s actually pretty typical. When I was recovering from my ED my dieticians had me eat more “junk” too.. it’s basically just to get some of the bulk weight put back on quickly.. which obviously won’t happen eating fruits/veggies. It’s just temporary though.

    • This was over a year ago and I did not have much to gain. Most of the time they do that to people who are really close to dying but I wasn’t so it was really unnecessary.

  4. Nataly says:

    Urgh. I have my first dietitian appointment this weekend and I’m terrified she’s going to be an idiot. I have been living with this for years and years and have learned loads about nutrition (not that I practice it) so I’m desperately hoping she is smart about it. She only deals with eating disorders and is highly recommended by my psychologist so I’ve got my fingers crossed.

    • Good luck. The ones that are specialists are often pretty bad, but better than going to someone who has never dealt with an eating disordered person before. I think mine was more for athletes or something.

      • Hehehe…yeah, I don’t know if it’s better that she is a specialist in EDs or not… but I don’t think she can be any worse??? I don’t know. My psychologist said that she doesn’t respect most dietitians because they are so oblivious as to how eating disorders work that they can sometimes make a patient worse not better. I just don’t want her to try and make me eat food that I don’t want to because she thinks it is a “fear” food as a result of the ED when I simply just don’t like the taste or texture!

  5. I’m glad you are done with that. I think the problem with nutrition is that we all have definitions of what is healthy and what to do and it doesn’t mesh well with a lot of people. Obviously her approach isn’t going to any sort of good with anyone recovering. I can’t believe she said that to you!

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