Five ways to challenge diet talk & an ode to 2017

2017 has been full. Full of adventures. Lots of ends, and of course, new beginnings.

Some big things:

(If you don’t want to read about my life a bit (fair), scroll down to find 5 ways to challenge diet talk!)

I started out 2017 watching Harry Potter in England – wild I know. This was one the best trips. We ate a ton of delicious food, walked and biked around villages way older than I had ever experienced, and I basked in the sea of British people talking around me (aka swooned).

rose mattson - castle near Sudbury, England
Near Sudbury, England

The spring was spent finishing up graduate school, defending my thesis, working at a wellness clinic on campus, playing with elementary students to improve physical activity and nutrition parameters, and moving at such a fast pace I honestly don’t remember much. We made a trip to southern Utah to play in the red rocks, something I highly recommend.

At the beginning of summer, I finally graduated, a cathartic feeling when you realize that you actually finished one of your biggest life goals, and still don’t know exactly where to go next. Why are things not laid out perfectly always?! I was lucky enough to have great classmates who literally helped get me through school, and I am excited to see where life will take them.

Summer brought 100F weather, plus the realization that I had to pay back school loans, didn’t yet have a job, and still had to study for the RD exam. So, I applied 5,000 places (it seemed), studied and passed the RD exam, and accepted a position at a local grocery store as a retail dietitian. We hiked a lot – something that makes me incredibly happy and keep me sane at the same time. Only working part-time, I had the time to start this little blog thanks to my best friend, while only panicking slightly that I wasn’t working full-time.

Now, I am working another part-time job, where I see clients through an online platform. I continue to work as a retail dietitian and write on the blog as much as possible. I am also new to this whole social media thing, which has taken some adjusting to, as I now take a bajillian photos all the time. Food photos are hard guys.

rose mattson - hike above avenues
Hike above the avenues, Salt Lake City, Utah

The future:

Overall, 2017 felt like a blur. I went from being a full-time student with several small jobs to a full-time dietitian. While this transition was definitely welcome, I am still discovering what type of professional I want to be. The majority of the RDs who inspired me to go to graduate school were private practice RDs, all of whom are active bloggers. They are able to communicate their nutrition messages in ways that are practical, realistic, and inspire people to make decisions based on their own personal health. Plus they make food look amazing, and use their presence to help drown out not-so-helpful nutrition messages that permeate the social media world. My ultimate goal is to do the same, both through blogging and (hopefully soon) a private practice.

Blogging has become one of my highlights of 2017. I know how stressful nutrition and physical activity messages can be, and being able to take all that information, wade through the crap, and produce valuable information on this blog literally makes me so happy. I know what it feels like to eat and exercise in a certain way that tries to manipulate my body because that is what the world deems as acceptable. I know what it is like to be in a group of women who talk about their body size and what they are or aren’t eating, and I have been in groups of women who talk about their adventures and their passions in life. I have ran lots of miles, skipped dessert (and eaten plates of brownies), and said no to mac-and-cheese more times than I should have. And now I am not. I refuse to be smaller, to help perpetrate the myth that women need to be smaller. No. I want to be stronger, take up more space, and tell everyone that there is more to life than what we do or don’t eat. Here on the blog, I hope to do that.

rose mattson - chocolate chip cookie

So, my goal for this next year?

It will not be losing weight or going on any fancy diet let me tell you. In fact, my goals have nothing to do with my body size.

My goal is to continue to write. To help you find legit nutrition information, and to try and help you think differently about food and nutrition.

For you this year: 

I hope you are able to surround yourself with people who love you for who you are as a person, right now. Without losing (or gaining) x amount of weight, without full makeup and a blow-out, and without that perfect outfit. You are worthy of everything now.

I want you to be able to recognize that comparison is not a helpful practice and that behind every beautiful picture on Instagram or FB is someone who may struggle more than you.  No one has the perfect diet or perfect life, nor should anyone strive for that.

I want you to be compassionate with yourself. It is perfectly OK if it is noon and you are still in your pj’s and haven’t showered. I want you to take care of yourself. To move your body in a way that feels good. To sleep in. Take care of yourself because YOU are incredibly important.

rose mattson - egg breakfast

When diet conversations come up this year (they will!) I challenge you to:

  1. Change the conversation. Maybe, “tell me about your last hike.” “what is your favorite restaurant right now?” Something light.
  2. Walk away. This may be for you, maybe not. Sometimes a simple, “mmhmm” and leaving for a bit can be helpful.
  3. Unfollow people on social. Portraying perfect everything? Shaming you for eating something? Unfollow them. For some body positive/anti-diet dietitians to follow, ask!
  4. When you hear messages about the next best diet, question it! Changes are, it probably restricts something. How would that make you feel?
  5. Remind yourself of your value. All day. Multiple times a day. You are more than how you look. On repeat.

I hope, in 2018, that you enjoy having your chocolate chip cookies, to feel proud when you accomplish something, to ignore those messages that say you aren’t good enough, and that you adopt practices that make you feel strong. I hope you can live this crazy life to the fullest.

Cheers to 2018 and many adventures to come! As always, talk to you next Monday 🙂

Xoxoxoxoxo,

Rose


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