Dietitian Day: A plea without a promise of magic tricks

March is National Nutrition Month, but today is the designated “Registered Dietitian Day.” Actually, now it’s registered dietitian nutritionist day, so if you weren’t already confused about the difference between “RD” and “nutritionist,” I’m sure that helps. Mmhm. 

The C&J Nutrition team posted a Huffington Post Healthy Living article to their Facebook page, with the caveat “This is a must-read,” followed by what basically said, “Yes we’re totally for real — it’s not what it looks like we promise!” And I reluctantly clicked on it because in my feed I saw Danielle Omar had “liked” it and damn if I wasn’t pretty curious…

The article’s title: 10 Strange Tricks to Lose Belly Fat
{insert eye-roll emoji}, *shakes fist to the ceiling*, damns the SEO cluster that is nutrition in the media!

Kudos, Daniel “Vegetable Man” Schultz. NAILED IT. If you can get the people who clicked that title, expecting those “strange” quick-fix tips, to read for even one minute, you’ve done something important. You’ve made the point that many dietitians are trying so hard to prove. We fight the nutrition content battle armed with nothing but our philosophies and our voice, sure as shit of the ground we stand on, but strongly outnumbered by the insurgent celebrity nutrition force.

I know what it takes to get those click-through rates, to increase the page views, to try and stand out. In my many years of blogging I’ve tried a few of those tactics, I’ve tried to write what it seemed people wanted to read under the titles they would be more likely to click on. I’ve clicked on those titles! I’ve read those BuzzFeed lists. I know all the reasons that they’re intriguing. But combine that shitty content (of mine) with the shitty feeling of writing inauthentically (even if just to my small audience) and you have one big realization that it’s just not worth it. What gets put out there with that mentality rarely helps you. We can’t fall prey to the “can’t beat ‘em? Then join ‘em!” mentality. (The “them” in this case being the people creating content that does get clicks, the “Say good-bye to your belly fat!”-ers of the internet.) We can’t stop at least trying to be true to what will actually help you the consumer, like Daniel’s solid list of ten things you can try to do if you want to improve your health. His tips aren’t strange; they’re realistic.

I know that our words have been weakened by a fickle Academy that can’t seem to get their shit straight with sponsorships, partnerships, or statements, but not all of us stand behind them all the time. In fact, there’s an entire organization dedicated to the professional integrity that most of the Academy’s past actions have lacked. That said, I also assure you that not everything of and from the Academy is tainted; not every attempt to work with the Big Food companies is a waste. But we’ll save that conversation for another day. 

Real talk: I know that it’s not fun or exciting to read true nutrition content, it’s not glamorous or funny or really entertaining at all. But with every click on those we-got-you-again headlines, that industry’s ego gets bigger as the quality of the content shrinks.

Today, I just want you to pause and think:

What actually changes about your habits when you read “10 Tips to Lose Belly Fat?” In a few days, after maybe trying a few of them, do you feel differently about your belly? Are you confident that those lists of five to eighty random “tips” have helped you really transform into a beacon of health? Has any quick-fix ever actually been quick, effective, and then sustainable? If you could get back the minutes of your life spent reading those click-bait lists, would you try?

My educated guess is that the answers to those questions are all “No” and then “Ugh, Yes please!” (Because I imagine we’re all at least polite in admitting that we fell for it and would actually much prefer to have spent that time reading something that was entertaining, like this.)

So, at least for today, as a “Dietitian Day” favor to yours truly, try to resist those catchy titles.

See what happens when you read something from this awesome list, instead. Maybe you’ll learn something, and maybe it won’t be your water-cooler conversation starter but TBH maybe that’s better. In the meantime, I’ll keep trying to bring you “Real Talk Roundups,” real talk from myself, and things that I hope actually do make you stop, think, and maybe change or maybe just take something away that resonates with you.

Thanks, in advance, for reading all the way through this and for sticking around!  I love chatting with you, I love writing to you, and I love this field that found me when I needed it. This is just the start of the important conversations we need to have, and I’m so glad you’re in it with us.

Comments

  1. Kim
    March 9, 2016

    Yes, my friend! Not sure if I even need to keep commenting on your posts, because you should know I’m just over here nodding my head (or fist pumping) in agreement. Maybe I should come up with a standard line I copy and paste for each post. It goes something like this: you rock and keep spitting the truth! 🙂

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