I feel like I’ve had two journeys – my journey to becoming a registered dietitian and my weight loss surgery journey. The two have happened simultaneously for me, bringing on many challenges but also many rewards. Here’s the most hurtful thing anyone ever said to me.
I have struggled with my weight my entire life
I was over 200 lbs by the time I was 9 years old and was tipping the scales at close to 300lbs in my teens. My weight held me back in so many ways. It made me shy and want to hide. It made me feel like I was never enough.
When I Got to College I Really Started to Scare Myself
My binge eating was out of control. I was depressed and anxious all the time and physically felt terrible. Just walking across campus to get to my college classes took all the energy out of me. I was too young to be feeling this defeated. And at the rapid rate I was gaining weight, I worried what my future looked like.
I Finally Decided to Start Making Changes
I decided that even if I never lost a pound I needed to start somewhere and I could not keep gaining this quickly. Then, I started making small changes. Moving my body. Drinking my water. Limiting sweets. I started losing weight and for the first time I felt like I was capable of actually doing this. This new interest in my health and these new capabilities I discovered inspired me to switch career paths and change my major to nutrition and dietetics so I could become a Registered Dietitian and help other people who struggled like I did.
During my dietetic internship year, even though I was only months away from becoming a credentialed dietatitin, I was still struggling with my own weight. My habits were good but I seriously needed another tool. In 2017, during the busiest year of my schooling, I took the plunge to have VSG.
It was both the scariest and the most exciting choice I had ever made.
I remember when I was about 2 months shy of starting my pre-op liquid diet I had an appointment at my bariatric center. I remember making a comment to them about how after my appointment I had to rush back to class since I was in school.
The medical assistant pulled out the plus-size blood pressure cuff and wrapped it around my arm. “Oh cool, what are you going to school for?” She asked.
I very proudly responded “I’m finishing up my dietetic internship. I’m going to be a Registered Dietitian.”
The medical assistant paused and looked at me right before she burst out laughing. Not just a chuckle, but full-blown big belly laughing as if she had just heard the funniest joke imaginable.
I looked down at the floor, hurt and holding back tears. Ashamed.
She then snorted back “Wow, okay.” And left the room while I waited for my surgeon to come in.
I held back tears during my entire appointment. You see, I was really good at hiding my feelings. I always have been. Years of hiding the hurt you feel make you pretty good at that. Looking back I should have said something. I should have stood up for myself. I honestly should have reported her. But I didn’t.
Was she right? Could a fat dietitian actually help anyone? The girl who needed bariatric surgery thought she was going to help people succeed with their own weight loss? Yea right. But I guess the jokes on her. It’s been four years since that appointment. I wish I could go back and tell myself at that moment that I was enough. I have always been enough. And I wish I could tell her that I was capable of accomplishing every single dream I had.
Since that day I vowed to make it my mission to stand up for this community. To advocate for people going through weight loss surgery and to advocate for people living in larger bodies. I vowed to make sure no one ever felt the way I felt that day so long as it was on my watch. I vowed to do better and be better for this community. You deserve better. I deserved better. We all deserve better.
So that’s why I’m here. To provide you with better materials, better resources, and better opportunities to be successful. Because you see, I’m not just a dietitian. I’m not the food police. And I’m not here to shame you for ANYTHING you choose to do on your journey.
I’m a Registered Dietitian, but a Bariatric Patient First.
I am a bariatric patient but before that I am really just a girl trying her best every day. Trying her best to succeed on her own journey and I hope to inspire others along the way. So thank you for being here. Thank you for allowing me to live out my dream, for trusting me, and for letting me share my story. Want to learn more about my story? Read more about it right here!