20 things I've learned in 20 years as a Dietitian

by Anne Myers-Wright RD/APD

Posted on May 25, 03:48 AM in . Comments [1].

June is just around the corner. This is pretty exciting for me, as it marks my 20 year anniversary as a Dietitian. Being a Dietitian for the last twenty years has been a super ride. I certainly don’t regret my choice of career one little bit. I really have loved every minute of being a Dietitian.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how much I have learned from the last 20 years and thought I’d share the top 20 things I have learned in the last 20 years as a Dietitian.

1. You can never judge whether or not a person will be successful with their dietary changes from first contact. People are amazing, they can surprise you.

2. You have to listen more than you talk. Yes. You do.

3. Healthy eating has to fit into people’s lives.

4. You don’t have to do things “by the book”. The consultation can follow its own journey.

5. Dietitians can “reinvent” themselves. Particularly as there are so many areas we can work in.

6. People still tend to believe in anything but evidence. We can look boring as a profession as we wait for a stronger evidence base before changing guidelines or don’t have that sexy new diet to push.

7. You can tell someone there is no evidence for something until you are blue in the face but if it has worked for them, it’s worked for them. Respect for beliefs comes in here.

8. We need to practice to an evidence base but its ok to try new things. Dietitians are all using different approaches. One size does not fit all.

9. Dietitians can put on weight too. Go figure.

10. We cannot ignore exercise.

11. The evidence is ever-changing. We need to keep up. Constantly. This makes our profession so frustrating and so exciting!

12. Clients want more than just a chat about the dietary guidelines, they want something concrete.

13. People need more contact to be successful with dietary change.

14. A lot of people think we are still just about weight loss.

15. We really need to think about what we mean by “a healthy weight”.

16. Dietitians need to be more confident in putting themselves forward as experts. Sometimes knowledge seems to make us more cautious when making claims. We need to be braver.

17. We need to get back to basics. People are losing touch with food and cooking and eating as families.

18. It’s really hard to keep flipping from Calories to Kilojoules.

19. We need to embrace non-traditional ways of working – using social media and electronic ways of communication as well as flexible work hours.

20. They will never change Dietician to the correct spelling Dietitian in spell check! Will they?

Plenty more to learn in the next 20 years, Im sure ;)

Tags: Calories, Diet, Dietitian, Evidence, Kilojoules

About the author

Anne Myers-Wright

Anne Myers-Wright RD/APD

Anne is a Health Professions Council (HPC) registered dietitian (RD), an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD- Australia), a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), a member of the British Dietetic Association, The Nutrition Society and of The Dietetics Association of Australia.


  1. Great list, most of those apply to all of us trying to live a healthier lifestyle, especially 2, 3, 4, 10 and 11. Good stuff.

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