On Being an Agent of Change

“I’m sorry to say so
But, sadly, it’s true
That bang-ups
And hang-ups
Can happen to you.”

My 3 year old handed me the Dr. Seuss classic Oh, the Places You’ll Go to read to her yesterday.  It had fallen behind the books on the bookshelf so we hadn’t read it in a long time.  It’s one of those books that is pertinent to adults and children alike and no matter what you’re going through in your life you’re likely to find some comfort or inspiration.

It got me thinking about my clients.  Most of my clients come to me during some event in their life that is pushing them toward a change.  That usually comes in the form of a new medical diagnosis, a negative health event, or something threatening the health of a loved one that causes them to reflect.  I’m thinking of the client I saw today with newly diagnosed Celiac disease who needs to be completely gluten free now; the client from last month who suffered a heart attack and while he knew his eating habits weren’t particularly healthy he wasn’t really concerned until something actually threatened his health; the client who has had high cholesterol for years controlled on meds alone who just lost her mother and has a renewed focus on her own health and wellbeing.  As I thought about this, it was hard to think of any of my clients whose disease or condition wasn’t actively inhibiting their daily activities or who hadn’t mentioned some sort of a wake up call during our session.  Or, for that matter, any time in my own life when I made a change that wasn’t brought on by some other event.  But that generally just does not happen.

We go through our lives so habitually.  Of course, we can’t overthink and analyze our every habit on a day to day basis.  The habits we create every day either serve us… or they’re just bad habits we’ve gotten into for whatever reason (comfort and instant gratification come to mind in a lot of cases).  And sometimes clients of mine are frustrated because they think they’re doing everything right and then, it turns out it just wasn’t the right thing for them as individuals with their unique body.

A client of mine last week mentioned that he thought insurance should pay for everyone to see a dietitian in their adulthood.  I wholeheartedly agreed with him, of course (wouldn’t that be fabulous??) but I know even if that was the case, I’d still probably be seeing the same people.  Life is busy, and our priorities shift based on our experience in the here and now.

Whatever the reason that people seek dietary advice, I consider myself an agent of change.  I am here to listen and respond based on the needs of my clients.  It is the client who does the work, I am just here to provide a listening ear, and then evidenced-based nutrition and diet information to help support their health and well-being, based on their unique medical histories, abilities, and level of support in their lives.

I love what I do, and I love that people come to me during these times of personal need.  I fancy myself a sensitive person, and viewing myself as both an active listener and an agent of change gives me a sense of pride for the service I provide for my people.

Thanks Dr. Seuss.

“And will you succeed?
Yes!  You will indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)”

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