A day in the life of a private practice Dietitian

February 28, 2017

6:15. alarm goes off. We’ve gotten into the habit of setting the alarm just a touch earlier than strictly necessary so we can linger in bed and be properly ready to get up when the times comes. No, this isn’t time to check facebook.

6:25. Fiancee gets out of bed. I stay for another 5 minutes. because I can.

6:30. get up, shower, dress.

6:45. make coffee. A must every morning.

6:50. breakfast.  Had pancakes on the weekend, so craving something savoury. Today’s is veggies with scrambled eggs (way easier than an omelette, but the same effect). toast on the side and cheese on top. Yum. Coffee is brewed at this point so I pour that and take all of this to the table

7 – 7:20. Enjoy eating breakfast in a mindful manner.

7:20. brush teeth, grab lunch (packed the night before), pack bag.

7:30. set off for work. It’s a beautiful morning so I elect to walk to work. I listen to my favourite podcasts – this morning is a short one from Slow Your Home on “to do lists” and how having only 3 things on your list is an ideal number. 3?! sounds scary and liberating. Maybe have to give this ago.

Next cued up is the latest from Dietitian’s Unplugged on Body Kindness. They’re interviewing  Rebecca Scritchfield who has a new book out that delves deep into HAES principals and how you can use it to help be kinder to yourself. There’s also lots of talk about how current dietetic courses need to change to include more weight neutral teachings. I whole heartedly agree. I have been very lucky to hear from many non-diet superstars but I think unis could be doing a better job.

I have it just loud enough so I can hear but no so loud that I miss the birds. They’re welcoming the sunny morning.

8:00. arrive at work. Log on, view calendar. Open emails and social media. Respond to emails, cue social media posts, review my paperwork situation and make a start on some outstanding notes from last session. I don’t see as many clients on Tuesdays, which gives me a chance to catch up on paperwork.

9:00. first client arrives. T1 diabetic for last 9 years, with high sugars. Client tells me there is confusion around whether she has T1 or T2. I make a note to discuss this with her Dr because my management depends on her diagnosis. I test her knowledge on carbohydrates, it is very low. Hmm. probably not a candidate for CHO counting.

10:00. Client 2. Sits down and tells me she has a poor relationship with food.
Now this is my jam! I assess, then I ask permission to tell her about the non-diet approach. She consents. Her whole body just relaxes when I tell her I’m not going to focus on her weight. I’m not going to weight her. I’m not going to put her on a diet. no meal plans. She cries. This is exactly what she needed to hear. she’s fed up with diets. it started when she was an early teen when she overheard her mum telling a friend how fat her daughter was. it’s still painful. it’s the first time a health profession hasn’t told her there’s something wrong with her body or that she needs to lose weight.

We talk about tactics to help regulate her eating. I give her some awesome non-diet resources to read between now and her next appointment.

11:00. Break. Normally between clients I do paperwork, or plan out a blog or some social media posts or I use this time for business development. Today is the end of the month, so I use this time to make sure my paperwork is all in order, that I’ve received payment from all my clients, and that everything is sorted and filed. I also have lunch outside in the sunshine and walk into town to grab a coffee.

12:30. Client 3. wt management (how can I shift this to the non-diet approach?) . I’m halfway through my assessment when my client tells me they had coeliac disease as a child. “Do you eat gluten free?” “No, why would I? I had coeliac disease as a child”
Me: Well it’s a lifelong condition, if you were diagnosed as a child then you will have this condition for the rest of your life.
Rebook a double appointment for gluten free education, make notes to discuss with pt and dr need for endoscopy.

2:30. Client 4. “the doctor tells me my potassium is just slightly high”. I check it. It’s very high, heading towards the danger zone. Send gratitude to my supervisors on clinical placement who let me do some low potassium educations.

3:30. finish off paperwork, pay my rent and pack up.

3:45. It’s a very warm afternoon so I take it slow and enjoy my podcast. Fiancee meets me part way home and offers me a lift. it’s hot so I gratefully accept.

4:15. Check emails one last time, respond to a couple. Log out of emails and social media. I’m trying to put firmer boundaries about this. So far, only responding during business hours is doing wonders for my stress levels.

4:45.my sister has invited us over for dinner so we grab drinks and head out to enjoy an evening full of connection and food.


Private practice isn’t always easy, but god it is rewarding. It’s always been the dream for me, I just needed some nudging. Some days I do a lot of work with clients with diabetes. Sometimes all of my clients show up, sometimes I get mostly no shows. Sometimes it feels like an uphill battle, sometimes its effortless. The paperwork is a pain.

Despite all of this, this is exactly where I’m meant to be. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Courtney is a Graduate Dietitian who started blogging because she was fed up with the 'health advice' peddled on the Internet and of the often unrealistic and narrow view of health and healthy eating that this medium takes. Courtney is passionate about challenging the norm of what ‘healthy’ looks like and encourages people to find their healthy, whatever that looks like to them.

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