Unlearning how I practised as a Dietitian

Welcome to my blog! I am so happy you are here. 

My name is Atheana Brown and I am a Registered Dietitian in Ontario Canada. I have just started my virtual private practice this September 2021. I do not practice like most Dietitians because I am a non-diet, body inclusive, and Health At Every Size (HAES®) aligned Registered Dietitian. 

 Most people think a Dietitian tells you what to eat, how much to eat and encouraged you to shrink your body. Dietitians are taught and trained in a weight-centric care model. This means body weight is used as an indicator of health and is to be “worked on”. We are also taught the BMI scale and lots of fancy (but super outdated) equations to calculate nutrient needs for all types of populations and age groups. In fact, most health professionals are trained in a weight-centric model. It is the traditional approach to health care. People strongly believe there is a factual link between weight and health. But this is so not true.

I promise there is lots more to come on all these topics.

The pivotal moment

For many years I practiced in a weight-centric manner which I believed was helping people. After a few years of working, I attended an eating disorder conference in Toronto put on by the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC). I did not know it then but this was a pivotal moment in my dietetics career when I heard Lindo Bacon (Linda at the time of the event) speak. She spoke and I sat in absolute shock. My brain was in overdrive. Instantly, I began thinking of past cases of patients and outcomes I had witnessed which supported everything she was saying in her lecture. The harms of dieting, weight stigma, healthcare bias in the pursuit of weight loss. I worked so hard to process what she was telling me. I had a blanket of shame, guilt and anger drench over me.

How could I be practicing in a way that is harmful?

Why did no one tell me this?

How do I stop practicing this way?

I could not understand. “But this is health care, research, and qualified medical professionals we are talking about” I kept saying in my mind. My world had been shocked. I could not get past the layers upon layers of systems that benefit from the weight loss industry. Which included the medical system.

How I practice today as a HAES® aligned Registered Dietitian

So fast forward over a very bumpy process of unlearning, relearning and getting super uncomfortable in my journey to the other side of the fence. I am so proud to say that I am a non-diet, body inclusive, fat positive and Health At Every Size (HAES®) aligned Registered Dietitian. The HAES® framework is defined by the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH). Where health may be achieved regardless of the space you take up.

The Health At Every Size® (HAES®) approach is an alternative to the weight-centric approach to treating clients of various body sizes. The movement works towards size acceptance, ending weight discrimination, and ditching the obsession to pursue weight loss and thinness. Which promotes balanced supportive eating, enjoyable physical activity, and respect for all bodies regardless of size.

My goal is to provide a space where people are heard, valued, and deeply respected.  I am most interested in supporting you to have a positive relationship with food and your body.

I want to thank my mentors that taught and gently guided me on a path forward. 

Lindo Bacon 

Fiona Sutherland 

Fiona Willer 

Hailey Goodrich 

Sonya Renee Taylor 

Marci Evans

Brianna Campos

Kori Kostka 

Are you interested in getting support from a non-diet and HAES® aligned Dietitian? I specialize in disordered eating, body image, intuitive eating, and family nutrition. 

Book your free discovery call today! 

 
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    Atheana Brown is a Registered Dietitian who specializes in disordered eating, body image, intuitive eating, and family nutrition. Her mission is to break the generational cycles of dieting and body shame.

    Offering nutrition counselling virtually across Ontario Canada. Book a free discovery call to learn more.

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