No Wellness Wankery

56: Thinking of becoming a dietitian or nutritionist? Listen to this.

April 18, 2023 Lyndi Cohen
56: Thinking of becoming a dietitian or nutritionist? Listen to this.
No Wellness Wankery
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No Wellness Wankery
56: Thinking of becoming a dietitian or nutritionist? Listen to this.
Apr 18, 2023
Lyndi Cohen

Lyndi's inbox is constantly inundated with questions around becoming a nutritionist or a dietitian.

Over time, as the world has become wellness obsessed, the desire of people to enter the world of nutrition has increased. But as Lyndi knows all too well, not everyone entering the profession is doing so with the best motivations or without bringing Wellness Wankery with them.

So if you are thinking of becoming a dietitian or nutritionist, this one is for you.

Want more?

Listen to our previous episode where we go more into the difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian.

Or check out Lyndi's full Youtube video on nutrition career advice, why she almost quit and how she became a dietitian & nutritionist - and don't forget to subscribe, while you're there!

Want to feel more in control around food? Check out my Stop Struggling With Food Guide, currently on sale for 40% off.
You’ll also find 50 of my favourite recipes to get you inspired!

Looking for more support to feel in control around food? I'd love to support you in my Binge Free Academy


If you don't already - come follow me on the gram at @nude_nutritionist (no nude pics, sorry).

Want to share some feedback or have an idea for an episode, I'd LOVE to hear from you - hit me up at hello@lyndicohen.com

Show Notes Transcript

Lyndi's inbox is constantly inundated with questions around becoming a nutritionist or a dietitian.

Over time, as the world has become wellness obsessed, the desire of people to enter the world of nutrition has increased. But as Lyndi knows all too well, not everyone entering the profession is doing so with the best motivations or without bringing Wellness Wankery with them.

So if you are thinking of becoming a dietitian or nutritionist, this one is for you.

Want more?

Listen to our previous episode where we go more into the difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian.

Or check out Lyndi's full Youtube video on nutrition career advice, why she almost quit and how she became a dietitian & nutritionist - and don't forget to subscribe, while you're there!

Want to feel more in control around food? Check out my Stop Struggling With Food Guide, currently on sale for 40% off.
You’ll also find 50 of my favourite recipes to get you inspired!

Looking for more support to feel in control around food? I'd love to support you in my Binge Free Academy


If you don't already - come follow me on the gram at @nude_nutritionist (no nude pics, sorry).

Want to share some feedback or have an idea for an episode, I'd LOVE to hear from you - hit me up at hello@lyndicohen.com

00:00:00:05 - 00:00:24:09

Lyndi

Okay. I would like to tell you, your your weight is not the problem. It really isn't. I know you've been made to think your weight is a problem your entire life, but honestly, it's just been a red herring making you focus on diets that really suck and your weight is not. The problem is the title of my new book and I would really like you to read it if you've ever been made to feel like you need to worry about your weight that you're fixating on your weight is going to help you lose weight, which is nonsense.


00:00:24:16 - 00:00:43:16

Lyndi

This is the book you need to read. We tackle body image. We help you with practical strategies to feel normal, relaxed, and freedom around food, which are all fabulous things you also deserve. Please go to my website, Lyndi Cohen dot com and check out my new book. It's available from all great retailers. Please check it out.


00:00:44:06 - 00:00:50:13

Jenna

Hello, this is the No Wellness Wankery Podcast. My name is Jenna D’Apice and I joined each week by Lyndi Cohen.


00:00:50:13 - 00:00:58:09

Lyndi

Hello, everyone. And today we're deep diving into how did I become a nutritionist, a dietitian and I guess start this business.


00:00:58:09 - 00:01:19:15

Jenna

Yes. This is a question you get a lot in your DMs on Instagram @nude_nutritionist if you'd like to poke around have a look about people studying nutrition, people studying dead headaches what they should be doing. I suppose to start off with just some general advice to people. Where did you study and what qualifications do you have?


00:01:19:16 - 00:01:45:01

Lyndi

Okay, cool. So this is when I started, when I decided to become a dietitian nutritionist, it was very uncool. Like it was certainly not a popular profession in where I live in Sydney, Australia, in New South Wales there were two universities, three universities including Wollongong, Newcastle and Sydney that offered the degree. There was probably about 50 graduates, 150 graduates from New South Wales each year.


00:01:45:18 - 00:02:07:18

Lyndi

What I'm saying is there were really just a few hundred dietitians who are graduating in Australia each and every year, which is small, really small. Since that point there has been an explosion in different universities and schools that are providing people with a either a nutrition or dietetics degree. I really wanted to become a dietitian in addition to a nutritionist, which, by the way, there is a difference.


00:02:07:18 - 00:02:32:17

Lyndi

Let's do that now. So a nutritionist is someone who studies. It's it can be a we've got a whole podcast where we talk about the difference with dietitian, nutritionist. It's sometimes regulated, but it's often not in. So some kind of like online university could say or college could be like, hey, you can become a nutritionist with the six week course or someone does a four year course where they become a clinical nutritionist.


00:02:32:17 - 00:02:52:05

Lyndi

Of course, there's a very different things. The issue with the nutritional field is that that isn't regulated the way that it needs to be. There are some organizations who are trying to come and create some kind of form of control around it. So those people who are studying for four years aren't just throwing all together with the people who have that six week course and know nothing about nutrition.


00:02:52:09 - 00:03:09:06

Lyndi

Really. Okay. So to be a nutritionist means that you can help see clients one on one in the private practice kind of situation. You can go into business. There's a whole bunch of stuff that you can do with that degree. To be a dietitian means you can work. Not only can you do those things, but you can also work in hospitals.


00:03:09:06 - 00:03:29:04

Lyndi

You can work in more of a clinical setting working with GP's in allied health care professional environments and it is kind of recognized as a higher level degree. So once you are a nutritionist you can then go into a master's in dietetics. There are programs at the moment call themselves like nutrition and dietetics, but you don't become a dietitian at the end of it.


00:03:29:15 - 00:03:44:01

Lyndi

So if becoming a dietitian, an accredited practicing dietitian in Australia, it would be like a registered dietitian in the U.S. If you're interested in those kinds of things, you need to make sure that you're getting a degree that either you can end up as a dietitian or at least as a pathway to becoming a dietitian.


00:03:44:09 - 00:03:48:19

Jenna

So a little bit about the course. Is it hard? I assume it would be hard.


00:03:49:10 - 00:04:03:01

Lyndi

So I studied at the University of Newcastle. I graduated in 2011. It's such a hard course, so I think you need to understand that you do very complicated science degree sides.


00:04:03:08 - 00:04:04:17

Jenna

Yes, it's science based.


00:04:04:17 - 00:04:31:22

Lyndi

So chemistry, molecular chemistry, you do organic chemistry, you do pathophysiology, you do you do mean. What else do you do that's really hard? A lot of things are still really hard, to be honest. My brain definitely skews more to the Y, towards the side of creativity. I really enjoy science. I'm really fascinated by science, but the organic chemistry was really quite hard for my brain.


00:04:31:22 - 00:04:43:08

Lyndi

To get a head around to the first few years of your nutrition degree aren't really about nutrition at all and there's a really high attrition rate. I think we started with 200 people.


00:04:43:08 - 00:04:45:02

Jenna

So attrition means dropped out.


00:04:45:03 - 00:04:51:10

Lyndi

Drop out, drop high dropout rate. So those are about 200 people who started the course and then I think 50 of us graduated.


00:04:51:21 - 00:04:52:08

Jenna

Wow.


00:04:52:12 - 00:05:12:17

Lyndi

Yeah. So it's a really tricky degree. And they tell you upfront, most of you here won't end up finishing this degree. There are some times where, you know, let's say you fail one unit, you fail, you have to repeat the entire year. And it's something that's unrelated to nutrition is just like a can thing that you failed, but it's an instant failure which sets a lot of people back on them.


00:05:12:17 - 00:05:31:21

Lyndi

I think they don't end up coming back another year. So you need to get your head around the fact that this is a science degree, science degree for good reason. You need to understand what's happening behind the body so you can then go and help people and translate it for them. By the last couple of years, the degree in my experience definitely became more nutrition focused.


00:05:31:22 - 00:05:55:16

Lyndi

I do things like food technology, where you're learning how do we come up with recipes or what makes food good? Or How does changing the protein ratio in something adjust to the blind ability of food or the what? What is what role does gluten, which is a protein, have in food and food service. And in the last year for me was placements are you going along to different food organizations and learning as much as you possibly can?


00:05:56:04 - 00:06:11:01

Lyndi

What I'm saying is it was a really high degree is a high degree for good reason. We really want to create a really high standard of people who are actually able to qualify. I will go and say that not everyone who qualifies, I think is excellent at what they do. There's always going to be a spectrum of people.


00:06:11:01 - 00:06:23:07

Lyndi

Just because you got a pass and you got a degree doesn't mean that makes you exceptional of course, within any profession, they're going to be people who are excellent and other people who are really just doing the best, doing the basic business.


00:06:24:06 - 00:06:32:05

Jenna

So you've gotten three degree. It was really hard, but you did it, you stuck it out. Then what did you do after you graduated?


00:06:32:07 - 00:06:55:10

Lyndi

Okay, so after graduation there was GFC and we'll post GFC. So global financial crisis for anyone too young to remember, which is basically a time where there were no jobs and it was like just nothing I remember at the time. So let's say there were a couple of hundred 50 graduates in New South Wales at the time. There were three jobs in the whole state state for dietitians, and I remember thinking, what have I done?


00:06:55:10 - 00:07:15:13

Lyndi

I've just done this really hard to agree. I acquired all this debt under my name to get it to to graduate in a profession where there are no jobs that they're hiring. And I think this is a very important thing. If you are thinking about becoming a nutritionist or a dietitian, do not expect to be employed. If you are one of the minority who gets employed by someone amazing, there are some jobs.


00:07:15:13 - 00:07:37:16

Lyndi

But really, when you become a nutritionist or a dietitian, this job is very much about being your own boss nowadays. I would say that 80% of my work is business and 20% is nutrition, and I think that's a very important thing that you need to recognize that by becoming a nutritionist, dietician you are committing to a life of working in business with a specialty nutrition.


00:07:38:08 - 00:07:55:24

Lyndi

And if you can stomach that, if you understand, okay, well, I know I'm going to have to run my own business, which means I will have to do my own invoicing, which means I'm going to have to do my own marketing, build my website, all these kinds of things. I'm going to have to be the admin person. And if you can stomach that as a career, it's not just pure helping people all the time, and I think that's really important.


00:07:56:00 - 00:08:11:11

Lyndi

The other thing I'd like you to know is that you are going to be dealing with people all the time, that this is like you need to be someone who's an impasse, an empathetic, someone who who likes people, who likes communicating, who likes chatting, who cares about other.


00:08:11:11 - 00:08:12:09

Jenna

People and wants to help.


00:08:12:09 - 00:08:28:12

Lyndi

People, want to help people. And if you're not, it's probably not the right profession. Of course, you can go down the research route, which you're still helping people without that daily one on one interaction, which we suddenly need lots of good researchers, but for mass majority of people, we're going to be working with people. And there's something when you it's a profession where you give a lot.


00:08:28:16 - 00:08:42:04

Lyndi

And so sometimes you'd walk at a clinic and go, Wow, I really feel like I gave I need to go home. And he sees himself kids and he's rebuilt my energy levels, especially if you go into an area like what I do, which is eating disorders, disordered eating it can. It takes a lot of energy.


00:08:42:05 - 00:08:42:11

Jenna

Yeah.


00:08:42:11 - 00:09:04:05

Lyndi

And you give a lot of yourself. And so I think that's another thing to remember is, is you're not going to find a job very easily. You're going to have to create your own profession. It can be emotionally draining and also you don't earn heaps. I think that's another important thing. It's not a super high, well paid profession, especially nowadays where it has become so popular.


00:09:04:14 - 00:09:12:02

Lyndi

There are so many people who are coming into the profession. There's more competition than there's ever been. So if you're doing this, you have to be doing it for the right reasons.


00:09:12:02 - 00:09:13:21

Jenna

So what do you think those right reasons are?


00:09:14:22 - 00:09:32:04

Lyndi

You want to help people and this is a perspective that you have. I got into dietetics for all the wrong reasons. I got to I became a nutritionist, dietician because I was like at the height of my eating disorder and I was like, what a brilliant profession to help me control my weight. I'll get paid to suspend I'll get paid to help other people stay thin.


00:09:32:04 - 00:09:49:16

Lyndi

And through studying nutrition, I realized food is so much more than what you weigh, you know, calories out. Who'd have thought? But I didn't realize that at the time. But it was actually there was also another girl in my in my same class who had anorexia nervosa. And I saw her recovery process by the end of the degree.


00:09:49:16 - 00:10:10:24

Lyndi

There was also a recovery for her. And by 21, I hadn't recovered yet, but I had graduated and I had decided all those nutrition and dieticians who I'd seen through from the age of 11 to 21 each had contributed to my disordered eating and in a new and novel way. And I really wanted to be different. And so here I was, the beginning of my degree to the end of the jewelry.


00:10:10:24 - 00:10:29:16

Lyndi

I completely transitioned into seeing things differently and I was ready to start my recovery. I decided I was going to start practicing differently from the way that I've been taught. And that's the other thing to note. This is a very new profession. So it started in around the fifties where you have your first dietitians, nutritionists in the seventies, it becomes more popular.


00:10:29:22 - 00:10:57:15

Lyndi

And in the last ten years, we have seen an absolute boom in this profession. Now, prostitution has been around for forever. Nutrition and dietetics is very new. Okay, so just because something hasn't been done before doesn't mean it's not worth doing. So we are still pioneering in this space. And what I need, what I need is more good nutrition and dieticians, people who care about other people who aren't just going to regurgitate the things that have been done before because we know we haven't done things right in the past.


00:10:57:23 - 00:11:15:00

Lyndi

And I would love a call to actions like novel thinkers, innovators, people with who have a real intention of truly helping, people who like research, who like who are very interested by human behavior. We need people like you to come and be really. It's nutritionists and dieticians.


00:11:15:09 - 00:11:24:11

Jenna

I love that. I think that's very great advice. If you want me more on this topic, I know Lyndi has a really great blog post and some information on her website all about that.


00:11:24:15 - 00:11:43:07

Lyndi

Yeah, I think so. I think I think that's a really nice place to go to go into my website. I think it's called neutral. So you want to be a nutritionist, a dietitian, nutrition, career advice. I have a YouTube video that you can watch that I really want you to watch as well. Where I go into this. But the fundamentally, I want you to know that this is a profession to get into.


00:11:43:14 - 00:12:04:09

Lyndi

And so you're going to need to build yourself up from scratch. And how it is. I'll do another podcast episode where I talk about how I built up my business, because I think that's an entirely different topic. Now I hear many of you are going to be asking, which where should I study? Which degree would you recommend? I haven't looked into which degrees there are available in 10 to 15 years.


00:12:04:23 - 00:12:06:11

Lyndi

So I do think.


00:12:06:11 - 00:12:09:15

Jenna

Things change very quickly in universities.


00:12:09:15 - 00:12:33:13

Lyndi

So I can't tell you which one you should study. I can just tell you you need to work out what do you want to be by the end of your degree? What are you willing to do and what is to have a special interest in? So fundamentally, I see this idea of the generalist, nutritionist, dietician is going to fade and what we're going to see is higher specialties, higher degree of specializing within the within the the industry, which I think is brilliant.


00:12:33:13 - 00:12:55:15

Lyndi

Currently when I graduated I my website was like Lyndi could help you with and then she said, I need like 30 different conditions that I had been trained to help people with. Yeah, from diabetes to cardiovascular disease. And sure, I had enough knowledge to help people with those things. But I've subsequently specialized in helping people who are constantly, constantly dieting, who have tricky relationships with food.


00:12:55:15 - 00:13:06:12

Lyndi

And these are my people and I am I am expert in this area. And so I think what I want you to contemplate is kind of going, you know, you have to know your expert, your specialty at this point.


00:13:06:12 - 00:13:11:24

Jenna

You might just know your general interests in what you think would be something you'd like to expert in exactly.


00:13:11:24 - 00:13:34:17

Lyndi

Like maybe pediatrics and kids has always been something that fascinates you or IBS. IBD is something you've struggled with yourself so you like, okay, cool. You've struggled with fertility, so you really want to help other people with like specific fertility stuff, all brilliant stuff, maybe have an idea of what it is you'd really like to do, because I think there's a lot of room in this world for people who are specializing in one area and doing it exceptionally well.


00:13:35:10 - 00:14:00:15

Lyndi

Can I also just add this idea about disordered eating in here, because I think it's an important thing is that we know that 75% of women have disordered eating, which means, you know, 75% of our teachers, 75% of our nurses, of our CEOs who are women are going to have disordered eating. What that means, though, is who do you think is more likely to become going to a certain profession like nutrition, someone who has an eating disorder or disordered eating?


00:14:00:15 - 00:14:21:14

Lyndi

And so what we're getting at the moment is a really high ratio of people with disordered eating who are going into this area of being a dietitian, nutritionist. And I did it. So I can't I can't say that we shouldn't be doing this, but I think we just need to be mindful that if you are coming at this going, I'm I currently have disordered eating, I have an eating disorder, this is why I'm doing this.


00:14:21:21 - 00:14:40:17

Lyndi

I don't want to stop you from doing it, but at the same time, you need to be seeking proactive care to recover from that eating eating disorder, disordered eating. And when you go into start practicing, you need to make sure that you aren't bringing in your disordered relationship with food to your clients. I actually think I'm a much better practitioner because I have a history of an eating disorder.


00:14:40:17 - 00:14:56:22

Lyndi

I think it makes me deeply care about people I help, and that might be the same thing for you, but I think we have this habit. A history of dietetics. Nutrition has been people with unhealthy relationship to food, giving people advice about food. I'd like to see that change. So help a part of that change.


00:14:57:08 - 00:15:17:03

Jenna

I like that. I think that's very good advice. Thank you for listening to this week's episode of No Wellness Wankery. If you'd like to leave a review, write or even send Lyndi a message nude_nutritionist is her Instagram handle and we will talk to you next time. Hey, everyone.


00:15:17:03 - 00:15:35:05

Lyndi

And before we get started in the podcast episode, I just want to tell you a little bit about how I might be able to help you if you want to get a healthy relationship with food because oh my goodness, there's a whole lot of stuff that's working against us all the time. Hello, diet culture. So if you ever wanted a little bit more personalized support, check out my program.


00:15:35:05 - 00:15:50:19

Lyndi

Keep it real. Especially if you're struggling with binge eating. If you feel like every Monday you start from scratch. If you feel like you know what you should be eating, but you just can't stick to it if you feel like you want to eat healthier. But honestly, it just feels like you're out of control through your face planting into the fridge all the pantry.


00:15:51:03 - 00:16:16:23

Lyndi

I can help. I have you binge either. I really do. I do get it. So check out keep it real. Use the code podcast to get 20% off if you if you get it via the the website and also I also got my app called back to basics. Back to basics is an app to help you be healthy without dieting and help you work on your body image gives you a whole bunch of hundreds of recipes that are super quick and easy to make so you can just be healthy without having to get obsessed with that at all.


00:16:17:03 - 00:16:39:12

Lyndi

Without it taking over your life. Because that's the way it should be. Plus, you get mindset support for me inside the app. You also get a whole bunch of workouts that you can do at home. You can still just do your normal workouts, but check out back to basics. You can get it for free for seven days. Check out Back to Basics on my website, use the Code Again podcast to get 20% off and I'd love to see in there.


00:16:39:24 - 00:16:40:24

Lyndi

I'd love to see in there.