I’m a dietitian by training with a masters degree in nutrition and dietetics. I just did a quick google search: “what a dietitian eats in a day”, which yielded about 39,100,000 results, with titles like: What nutritionists eat every day to maintain a healthy weight, What 8 nutritionists truly eat every day, What a dietitian eats for an entire week (with pictures).
An ENTIRE WEEK?!
But also, clearly there’s some interest.
My approach is a little different than most. I won’t lie to you about how or what or why I eat if you want to know:
I woke up late this morning. I don’t work with the people I serve on Mondays and that has been a gift. As my business gets busier I know I’ll need to use Mondays for work related tasks, but for most of this year, as I’m focusing on healing, I serve myself on Mondays.
I snuggled with my cat, Bug. I watched him follow every leaf from the second it dropped from the branch all the way down the ravine below my bedroom window. And then he’d watch, with keen piercing interest, as the next one did similarly. Time and time again.
I thought about change.
My hunger pulled me out of my bed which was pleasant. I love to feel my hunger, because I’ve struggled to feel it for a while. Sometimes it’s annoying, because I need to do something about it and I’m really tired, or the thought of preparing something satisfying seems impossible. But today I’m satisfied to feel it (though not very energetic). I start the water for my coffee and peak into the fancy brunch bag to pull out the pastry donuts and sweet mascarpone and jam, leftover from brunch with my good friend and neighbor yesterday.
I had the remaining 3 which didn’t feel like enough so I reached into the bag of Halloween candy, brought by a sweet friend and teacher, and grabbed a Reese pumpkin.
This will be good with the coffee.
But I had it down before I had gotten the hot water pouring over the fresh grounds. The taste and memories still lingered though as I settled with my cup on the couch.
And cried. I surprised myself with where it came from, after a fulfilling weekend with lots of love and connection.
My back hurts a little but I’m feeling too tired for movement and I don’t want to lean into physical pain right now.
Mostly what has gotten in the way of my hunger cues is my anxiety and stress, I’m aware of that. There’s not much I can do about it other than what I am doing, which is therapy, EMDR, energy work, massage when I can, giving myself as much space as possible by removing things that take too much and moving toward pleasure and connection as much as possible.
And appetite, what has gotten in the way of my appetite, is even more complex.
As I sift through what has buried me I come across new layers of understanding towards what I want. And turns out: that’s complicated.
I’m hungry again, which is satisfying- because I agree with my body that I am relatively relaxed, a nice feeling. My hunger disrupts me from my train of thought and I’m not sure what’s in the kitchen. And the unknown is uncomfortable.
I’d been munching my way through leftovers from a potluck at my home on Friday night. Staring at the options, Bug is at my feet.
Too bad you can’t eat human food, buddy.
But there are probably are some good things about being a cat, I thought, too. My young kitty has reminded me again about Beginner’s mind.
I pull out the fancy cheese someone left for me on Friday. What a treat when I discovered it. I love fancy cheese! And a surprise of fancy cheese is even better.
I open the snack cupboard which is well stocked. Foods from my childhood have been appealing in the past couple years. The foods that were restricted in my childhood home but available on “special occasions”. So they are mostly connected with joy (and for a long time shame). When I ran the shame out (with help and support) I reconnected with cheeze-its, goldfish, chex-mix, peanut butter M&Ms, combos. These foods helped me to reconnect with my nostalgia.
I had gotten wheat thins for the party Friday. It was, and still is, a "Dad food" in my home. Everyone has different favorites.
The wheat thins, reminding me of my Dad, tasted good with the fancy cheese. There is a surprising sweetness to them that I had forgotten about. I had finished off the gluten free crackers that someone had left- and I do like the crunch of them, remembering from my decade long gluten free phase, that I still feel resentment about. The front of the bag read:
Eat well. Be Free.
Figuring out what people are desiring, perhaps desperate for, and selling that to them is a good strategy, if financial growth is the only goal. Diet culture has convinced us that freedom can be gained from eating the “right things”, and capitalism has convinced us that freedom can be bought.
A dangerous combination; and also a strategic one, if the goal is distraction and control.
I pulled out the last of the spaghetti squash egg pesto casserole I made. Buttered with herb butter two slices of the French toast, placed a piece of extra aged cheddar on top, and toasted. Grabbed another beer. And came out to continue writing this, not wanting to think too much about where we are headed.
Hunger reminded me I’d started something, only to realize I hadn’t turn on the oven. I quickly requested of my inner critic which immediately berated my absent minded-ness:
Not today, I’m tired today and need gentleness. The Rebellion.
Dinner is unplanned. At 3PM I’m feeling full and satisfied. Knowing beans, a few slices of peppered salami and a block of tofu are the building blocks available, pizza may be arriving at my door because going out of my safe warm quiet home is not what my body, soul, and mind are desiring today. It always feels like a gift to have pizza delivered to my door (Delfinos! Best in Seattle) and today it feels important to give myself gifts.
Very little of this article came from my formal education, other than the financial stability I was provided in order to write it, and that had deeper roots in my many unearned privileges. There are many things that disrupt a person’s access and relationship with food, and that shifts drastically with the amount of privileged and marginalized identities a person holds. A one size fits all never has, and never will, work. Food and bodies in this culture are complicated. Let’s get comfortable with that, start to heal, and get to work on doing better.