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Written by: Sarah Kirton on Nov 29th, 2022

Stephanie Dorfman Nutrition 2022: Weight Inclusive Nutrition Counseling

Registered Dietitian, Stephanie Dorfman, chats to DeliveryRank about her practice of Intuitive Eating and the importance and understanding of the whole process. She is passionate about helping people reframe their concept and beliefs of healthy eating - we find out more.

If you could describe Intuitive Eating to our readers, in a nutshell…?

Intuitive Eating is hard to describe in a nutshell as it is different for each and every person. It is a concept that was conceived in 1995 but has only recently gained popularity. It is based on ten principles ranging from making peace with food and rejecting the diet mentality all the way through to the last, which focuses on gentle nutrition - making peace with food, honoring our hunger and feeling our fullness come way before we can focus on the nutritional aspect of food. When focusing on just the nutrition that food provides, it’s difficult for us to know how that food makes our body feel - do we feel satisfied? Do we enjoy this food? 

Do you believe that Nutrition Counseling should inherently consider weight loss/gain?

No I don't think it should. I work with a lot of clients that have eating disorders so sometimes we do need to focus on restoring body weight and make sure that their bodies are getting enough energy to ensure a sense of recovery. 

In terms of weight loss, I never focus on this aspect. There are so many studies that show that weight is not an indicator of health and how BMI is not a measurement that should be focused on anymore - it does not take into account different types of body mass (like fat vs muscle) and is really just a calculation created by a mathematician to measure the average weight of a population.. Health is a choice to begin with and everyone has their own definition of health. Not focusing on the number on the scale AT ALL is how I choose to work with my clients. We focus more on behavioral changes and less on numbers, because we can actually control our behaviors. We cannot control the number on the scale (despite what we want to believe or what diet culture tells us).

What role does a ‘dietitian’ play compared to a ‘nutritionist’ and do you feel the term should be reconsidered given the stigma attached? 

For registered dietitians, the credentials at the end of our name are RD or RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist). Technically dietitians are very different from nutritionists. Anyone can be a “Certified Nutritionist” and can be certified online. Dietitians go through 4 years of undergraduate studies with a very specific course load in order to qualify for an accredited internship. If accepted, these internships can be a year or a year and a half and are composed of various medical and counseling based rotations. After completing the internship, you are eligible to sit for the RD exam, and when you pass - you can proudly use those RD credentials! Soon, all dietitians will be required to have a Masters degree too! So, always make sure you look out for the RD/RDN credentials as we are absolutely the experts on nutrition. 

What is your ultimate goal, professionally speaking?

I want to bring the joy back to food and show that food does not have to be stressful. I love helping clients find how food and flexibility meet. Food shouldn’t be something we think of in terms of numbers (that’s what diet culture wants us to think). Does it provide us with life and energy? YES… but there is so much joy, and many social and cultural aspects and other factors that come to the table (pun intended) associated with food. Food should be enjoyed instead of being used as a means of manipulating our bodies, which never works out in the long run anyway. We all deserve to enjoy what we eat and spend more time focusing on other things in life that bring us joy.

Would you say trust is a key factor in success?

Yes! I really hope to provide a safe and supportive space for the people that I work with and show them that they can trust and confide in me and show them that we will work together to get through this. I am passionate about making sure I provide clients with the necessary space for them to share why they reached out to me in the first place - we are team players on this journey to ditch diet culture!

If you would like to find out more about Stephanie Dorfman Nutrition, visit https://stephaniedorfmannutrition.com/

About The Author

Sarah Kirton
PR Writer, Delivery Rank
A wannabe global ‘food-trotter,’ Sarah nurtures a deep-seated passion for food and cultural diversity and believes the two go hand in hand. Having lived in Europe for many years she has a great knowledge of Mediterranean and French cuisine. She now lives in Cape Town, the food capital of Africa. When she is not dining out or cooking up a storm you will find her kite-surfing on the ocean, up a mountain, or cuddling her cat Samson!
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