My RD Journey

From Undergrad -> Internship -> RD -> Private Practice!


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Dietitian Eats: WIAW (8/19/15)

It’s that time again! Another “What I Ate Wednesday” post!

Breakfast
I started off my day with a fruit and protein shake. Basically, that consisted of 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, 1/2 cup frozen mixed fruit, 1-2 tablespoons of hemp seed protein powder, 1 scoop Vega 1 protein powder. If you didn’t already know from my other posts, I am lactose intolerant, so no milk for me!

My counseling appointment at work came earlier so I had lunch right after (instead of a snack then lunch).

Lunch
Quinoa veggie burgers (I was totally not a fan of these), whole grain couscous, stewed tomatoes (from my garden), and watermelon. Usually, I have more greens; however, last night I didn’t get home until 8pm and didn’t feel like cooking, so I just threw in the leftovers. Normally, I go with Dr. Praeger’s or Boca Burgers; however, I tried this new brand in the store and let’s just say I regret telling the company to send coupons for me to sample it out.

Snack
I bounced around to another supermarket for a Diabetes tabling event, so I grabbed a snack before going over. This was a Chocolate Chip Cliff Bar-Z. Again, a leftover from an in-store demo! I had hummus and wheat thins; however, I didn’t really have time to sit and eat like I thought.

Dinner-ish
So, after job #1 I was going to job #2. Figured I would be good with eating my hummus but it got hot in the car. I ended up making a salad at the salad bar. Consisted of: baby spinach, radishes, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, croutons, sunflower seeds, and light caesar dressing. Normally, I would add some chickpeas; however, they were not out today. Meh.

Dinner-ish
After about 2 hours, I was getting hungry so I made another shake. Being lazy today in terms of cooking! This time I made the smoothie with RAW protein powder, which I just got, plus my fruit and almond milk. I have to be honest, this is probably my favorite plant-based protein powder. It didn’t any weird tastes or textures. Definitely a fan.

Snack
I was feeling something crunchy, so I had a few rice thin crackers. Love these for a “light” treat.

Some days, I like to use the MyFitnessPal app just to see where I measure up nutritionally. I averaged around 1800 calories, 95g protein, 210g carbohydrates, 50g fiber, 75g fat (17 PUFA, 11 MUFA, 14 SFA), 1450mg sodium, 3200mg potassium, 419% of my DV for vitamin A, 234% of my DV for vitamin C, 170% of my DV for calcium, and 133% of my DV for iron. Not too shabby I must say!

What did you eat today? Have you ever tried a plant-based protein powder?

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Working with Eating Disorder Patients

I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel as I finish my last 2 weeks of my dietetic internship! I can’t believe how fast the time went already! In my last leg of the internship, my outpatient rotation, I am in a facility with eating disorder patients (both inpatient and outpatient). The hospital also has a couple other wings with patients suffering from mood disorders (adolescents and adults), which I also get to work with occasionally for consults.

This is my first time working so closely with eating disorders (ED) and it was a bit overwhelming the first couple of days. I never realized how much time the RD spends counseling and how important it is. The patients see the RD 1x/week for a session; however, the RD ends up seeing and talking to some of them almost every day. The RD will walk onto the unit and patients start calling to talk to her about their weight, their meal plan, etc. It takes a lot of reassuring and challenging of eating disorder thoughts. Some of the patients will become so upset if you need to up their meal plan 200 calories due to not gaining weight or weight-loss that it is hard to calm them down. You have to be patient and understanding when giving news that they will not take lightly.

Some of the best lines I learned in counseling were, “How do you feel about what I said,” “Where do you think your weight is,” (They find out their weight 1x/week and that phrase is asked prior to them knowing) and after a patient says something so absurd “Reality check does eating an orange really make you fat.” You can’t be afraid to challenge an ED thought, you just need to know how to phrase it towards each person.

One of my biggest fears with ED is saying the wrong thing. I’m always thinking that I will say something that will trigger one of the them or make them upset. I learned that besides practicing, the key things you need to do are: be empathic, don’t downplay how they feel, always give praise when you can (for finishing a meal, etc), let the session be guided by the patient, ask “why they feel that way” when they have something to say about their body image or weight, and ask as much open-ended questions as you can.

There are also a ton of meetings every day with MDs, RNs, social workers, etc. The care team needs to really collaborate on the treatment plan, not only to aid the patient in recovery, but to provide a united front. Some of the patients are very sneaky and will lie to your face about purging or hiding food. It is really helpful to have team meetings to see if what the patient says, or doesn’t say, is consistent (they tend to slip up when they lie). Seeing the food rituals some of the patients have is crazy. Some of them tend to be very OCD (they have to have even numbers of foods or eat in a certain manner) and you can definitely tell when you observe their meal times.

Some of the comments/situations I heard this week that will show you how distorted some of the thoughts ED patients have are:
1. I am morbidly obese and I am concerned about breaking the chair. (Patient is underweight).
2. RD: “If your BMI is in that range, you will be considered emaciated”. Patient: “That’s okay with me.”
3. Scales don’t apply to me. (Patient stated after saying her family is genetically modified to need less food than everyone else),
4. Since I got my menstrual cycle, I know I gained too much weight. (In case your not familiar, patients with eating disorders tend to lose their cycle. Some patients have not had 1 in over 5 years).
5. I’m concerned with getting diabetes from eating all this food. (1600 calorie diet that is).
6. I don’t need to eat to live.
7. I don’t know why I am here. I am fine. I just purge after each meal and when I drink water.

If you every work with eating disorder patients, be prepared to hear comments like the ones above. Some of the ones I hear every day are centered on feeling fat or bloated and being disgusted with themselves. It seems silly to think about a 100lb person being fat; however, these patients truly believe that the distorted thoughts they have are in fact real. It definitely takes a lot of patience and empathy to work with EDs every day. While I love being in this rotation and learning so much so quickly, I can say that this is not the field of nutrition I would want to work in at all 🙂


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Final Days of Staff Relief

Tomorrow marks my final day of staff relief and my final day of my IPC rotation! I will be starting on Monday at my long term care facility.

My past 2 weeks of staff relief have been crazy, but really good. I started off feeling a bit overwhelmed; however, as time progressed, I became very comfortable out on my own. Although this rotation was stressful at times, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. The situations I was put in tested both my knowledge and my patience. Some days went very smoothly; however, other days I was ready to leave at 10am. It was the days that I was ready to leave at 10am that I now appreciate the most. Being able to accomplish what needs to get done on stressful days has made me a stronger dietetic intern than when I first started back in August.

One of the things I will miss the most being at my IPC facility, besides the free breakfast and lunch I got each day, is having another intern with me. I had interns that came during my last couple rotations; however, they would come after I was already there. Sure, we bonded, but I was never with them long enough to really get to know them. This rotation was the opposite. I started my first day with another intern so we got through that first scary day together. I could not have asked for a better person to spend my rotation with. Besides the fact that she had awesome notes and charts I could copy (and cookies to feed me), she was sweet and always there to listen and vent to (as I was able to do for her some days, haha). We shared stories about our internships, patients, boyfriends, and frustrating situations. I used to think it would be crazy to share my internship rotation with another intern; however, I think having that experience (and becoming so close) made it all the better. Now ends the sappy part of my blog 🙂

Although there were people and things I will miss now moving on to my next rotation, there are certainly things I could live without. This refers to my 1.5 hour drive each way to my rotation, the long drive being mixed with snow, the obnoxious amount of potholes on the roads I take, and the 2 sets of train tracks I seem to hit every other day on my drive home.

Some of my favorite, interesting, funny, not-so-funny patients of the week consisted of:
1. A patient who overdosed on 270 pills.
2. A patient with a BMI of 54.4 (also unemployed and adamant that they were fine in their diet <– my favorite part).
3. A patient who had uncontrolled diabetes who told the nurse that he felt short of breath at home, so he took some cocaine. This same patient told me he does not take his blood sugar at home because he gave his machine to a friend…sure.
4. A patient (came in as an overdose) who threatened to pull out his IV if he didn’t receive pain meds (the nurse told him he could sign himself out AMA if he wanted, and he became very quiet).
5. Seeing x-rays with a collapsed lung, fluid in lungs, and blood clots.
6. A patient (next door to the patient I was visiting) who was screaming that the nurses were trying to kill him.

Some things I found to be useful during my rotation were:
1. A sheet with lab values and what it means to be high and low.
2. A sheet with common diseases (cirrhosis, diabetes, cardiac, renal failure, pancreatitis, etc) and the accompanying diets (for the ones I wasn’t familiar with).
3. A sheet with TF formulas used in the facility.
4. A cheat sheet of when to use certain formulas (Nepro-renal, Glucerna-Diabetes, Isosource-low blood pressure).
5. Knowing that I needed to be confident in my recommendations for a diet!
**Don’t stress too much over not knowing things about clinical. I felt the same way going into my rotation; however, by my last few weeks, I felt like I knew so much and how to appropriately apply the information.

I’m excited to start the next part of my RD Journey. T minus 5 weeks until graduation!