You know you’re an expert in a field when you write a book about it. Some amazing authors came out of the eating disorder field so read below for their advice on how to thrive in the field!
“Follow your passion and your interests and bloom where you are planted. Again, I didn’t go looking for the work I do today. It found me. I hope that is some reassurance for anyone reading this who doesn’t know what they want to do or doesn’t think they can ever do what they want to do! My best advice is this: just wake up each day and take the next right step…whatever it is. Along the way, become your own best friend. Just get to know yourself – your likes, your strengths, your preferences – really, really well. Because whatever you are going to contribute, it is something only you can offer and something you are uniquely qualified to do – and not just by your credentials but by your life experience. Your work is reserved for you alone, and whatever it is, I can promise you this world needs it and it needs YOU.”- Shannon Cutts, Freelance writer, recovery mentor, pet blogger.
“Be open minded to all job opportunities and never say no to any job opportunity as you never know that you may end up liking another area of dietetics and develop a specialty. This can result in also becoming more well rounded in the field. I am so thankful that I was a clinical dietitian as it has helped me see many other types of clients in my practice, write a book that includes a significant amount of medical understanding and be used as an expert by other clinicians and media outlets.”– Robyn L. Goldberg RDN, CEDRD-S,The Eating Disorder Trap., Inc.
“There’s so much more training and supervision available now than when I was “growing up” in the field. If you can afford it, go to multidisciplinary conferences, specialty trainings, and get supervision across the disciplines. With little funds (but extraordinary value), you can learn a tremendous amount on the IFEDD listserv; I learn there every day.” – Leslie Schilling MA, RDN, CSCS, CEDRD-S, Born to Eat
“The ED professional world needs critical approaches. It needs queer people, BIPOC, disabled people, fat people, working class people, trans and NB people. The ED space isn’t just clinicians. It’s podcasters, it’s educators who teach people how to create environments that don’t trigger people, it’s writers, it’s editors, it’s influencers, it’s parenting experts, it’s entrepreneurs. So, trust your gut, figure out how to incorporate ED into what you’re good at and what you love, expect pushback when you’re onto something powerful, be an early adopter, shake things up and follow the need not the rules. I remember being in grad school and my advisor saying that pursuing a career centered around fat people was “career suicide.” I’ve published three books and speak all over the country on this topic. Wow, was she wrong. There is so much room for innovation in the ED space! I think about the fact that the ED world is just beginning to understand that disordered eating is connected to weight stigma. This is so mind blowingly obvious, and yet it took decades to get here because the right people either weren’t in the room or they weren’t speaking their minds. The world of ED treatment has the potential to look totally different within a few decades. Be part of that shift. Listen to your intuition when you think about what’s working and what’s not, and instead of giving up or giving in, find the allies and the resources you need to make changes that help people.”- Virgie Tovar, author, educator, podcaster and fat activist
“If you are currently in recovery from an eating disorder, I cannot emphasize the importance of taking care of yourself first. Make sure that your recovery is solid. You cannot give away to others what you don’t have. Believe in yourself, and don’t quit until you reach fully recovered. After recovering from an eating disorder, you will find a new resilience and strength. Both can be harnessed to create your dream career. I’d encourage you to get involved in nonprofits like the National Eating Disorders Association, and attend professional conferences. The eating disorders field is very welcoming.” -Jenni Schaefer Bestselling Author, Speaker, Singer/Songwriter
“Cultivate healthy doses of curiosity and creativity, develop a sense of humor, and find where your passion lies. Working effectively with eating disorders requires an ability to look at both the bigger picture and the details, to use your intuition as well as your intellect, and to think outside of the box. I would also recommend a commitment to personal growth and spiritual development so that you know how to feed your soul — since much of the work is teaching those you work with how to do just that.”– Anita Johnston Ph.D, Eating in the Light of the Moon
“If you are trying to get into the field, but continue to find road blocks due to lack of experience, try to get experience in non-employment avenues. Reach out to local eating disorder dietitians and see if they have any part-time, volunteer, or shadowing opportunities. Become a member of the local and/or national eating disorder organizations such as IFEDD(international federation of eating disorder dietitians) and iaedp (international association of eating disorder professionals) and make connections with those currently in the field. Let everyone who will listen know that you are looking to get into the field. Paid experience is not the only experience of value. If you are new to the field, learn as much as you can and never assume you know enough about the treatment of eating disorders. Attend any and every educational opportunity about eating disorders even if it is not specifically geared towards dietitians. Make sure you are receiving adequate supervision and if you are not seek it out from a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian Supervisor.” – Casey Bonano RD, LD, CEDRD
Check out these experts’ full interviews at https://eatingdisorderjobs.com/category/advice-from-experts/ and search the right column for their name.