Intuitive eating has been quite the buzz phrase over the past few years, and for good reason. It emphasizes rejecting diet culture and re-learning how to nourish your body and enjoy all foods. Although it’s increasing in acceptance, many of the intuitive eating principles are the opposite of what most nutrition students are being taught in regards to body weight. However, it’s possible to still learn about intuitive eating during your internship.
Before even applying to an internship, look into what programs offer.
Some programs might have multiple rotation sites off campus or may allow you to find outside opportunities. Many internships have resources about their rotations on their program site and you can always reach out to the program director for more information. If you aren’t able to hand pick sites, then be sure to have an open conversation with each preceptor before your rotation starts. Let him or her know that you are interested in intuitive eating and ask if you can incorporate it into the rotation. Be proactive and bring suggestions ahead of time!
Keep in mind not every preceptor will be familiar with intuitive eating.
Be prepared with research that supports intuitive eating as it relates to the site. Intuitiveeating.org is a great resource for identifying literature that supports intuitive eating. If your preceptor is not interested in intuitive eating, that’s OK! As an intern, you still need to meet your site objectives the way your preceptor wants. However, you can be mindful of your words when you address patients.
It can be stressful navigating diet culture as a new intern.
Building a strong network of like-minded individuals can be a great source of support during this time. Reach out and connect with dietitians and intuitive eating advocates via social media or LinkedIn. More than likely, you’ll find that they are willing to share their stories and experiences when asked. If you’re lucky, one may even agree to mentor you.
Using these suggestions can help you learn more about intuitive eating as a dietetic intern. Just remember to practice being an intuitive eater yourself!