One of the biggest reasons I love my job is the amazing people I work with and the opportunity to build relationships with them. Their trust in me as their dietitian is that I not only talk the talk, but I also walk the walk. Many times in my career, statements that I have made to my clients have come back to gnaw in my ear like a pesky gnat. Humble pie can be a hard slice to swallow, but if I am going to be authentic to these incredible yet vulnerable people I MUST do the same as I tell them.
I have always prided myself on how resilient and tough I thought I was. However, if I speak honestly, these two traits are not what they used to be. As a collegiate athlete, I had the energy of a three-year-old on a Halloween candy high and a pain threshold so high that I was up hours after having an emergency c-section because I was determined to be with my baby as much as possible even if my legs were like wet noodles. Now I find myself scheduling power naps so I can function at the end of the day and the slightest possibility of a cold has me trading in my Chardonnay for Emergen-c cocktails because, well, who has time to be sick?
The biggest test of all is now my role as a mother. As independent as we believe these little humans to be, they are also absorbing everything we do so they can model it. As a mother of a young daughter, it breaks my heart to see and hear the societal messages she will grow up with.
Things to keep in mind as you go about your day, unaware that impressionable little ears may be listening:
- When we get ready in the morning, are we mirroring a woman that is confident in herself – not based on how her outfit looks, but rather by how she is preparing to tackle that day?
- When you step on the scale, are you giving the impression that the little “hunk” of metal is a grade of who you are?
- When you are on your “diet,” are you giving the impression that you are not enough and you need to change?
- When we tell our kids to go outside and run around to get their energy out, what do you think they associate with when you say, “I have to go run to burn off this ice cream?”
- Do we walk proudly as we are responsible for bringing these amazing people into the world, or do we crawl into a shell so we may not see the amazing blessings that have come our way?
I often wonder if God has possibly put a time line on those youthful traits that I once admired so that I may slow down and enjoy the day with more diligence. Perhaps making myself more aware of pain so that I actually pay attention to what is hurting me? If I could mirror anything to my daughter, my friends, my clients and the world it would be that we need no explanations for who we. Just take me as I am and allow for grace, as I am guaranteed to make some mistakes!
Rebecca McConville, MS, RD, LD, CSSD is a Master’s Level Registered Dietitian & a Board Certified Sports Specialist. She specializes in the treatment of anorexia, bulimia, compulsive overeating & exercise addiction. She also treats the female athlete triad & athlete-associated disordered eating. Becca understands that the drive for peak performance may lead to disordered eating. Her goal is to help you fuel your body, so that you can fuel your life! Visit her website.