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Size bias is certainly routine in everyday life and definitely in the world of roller derby. Many outside of the derby world might naturally assume that the smaller girls would be jammers and the bigger girls would do the hard hitting as blockers. My derby sisters are probably chuckling at this as they know this isn’t necessarily the case. I have seen some “bigger” jammers that are truly amazing with their speed, agility and they are impossible to knock down and like myself, there are some “small” girls that will knock a girl out of her skates…I have yet to do this, but it’s not from lack of trying.
And, just like roller derby, I find size bias as a dietitian. I am intrigued by the comments I receive from clients regarding MY size. I am 5’4” and weigh in at 120lbs; body fat percentage is around 20%. I am not overweight, but I am certainly not the skinniest person you’ve ever seen, I used to weigh 95 pounds….more on that another time. I always think “What does it matter to them? Isn’t this supposed to be about what they’re doing or not doing? Aren’t they coming to me for my knowledge? Are they playing mind games with me?” I don’t have the answers, but I have some theories and I’m pretty sure it really has nothing to do with me or my size, and more to do with my clients’ perceptions of what it means to be thin or overweight. Typically, I just brush off such comments and get back to the reasons that brought them to me. And, another thing, it’s really none of their business. Ah, but here I share with all that care to read this.
I have some clients that would prefer to see a thin dietitian, such as myself; I think they believe that thin dietitians have all the answers, or I am hiding my magic wand somewhere. Well, I must, right? I’m thin, I must eat all the right foods in the right combinations and the right amounts and never indulge in chocolate or alcohol or chicken wings, right? In the words of Dwight Schrute: “False!” Now don’t get me wrong, 85% of the time I choose whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts/seeds, lean meats, etc, but I believe in balance and enjoy the occasional brownie, beer, chocolate, Keystone Review wings, and my recent weekly favorite, a pretzel from Taste of Philly. So, if these clients are correct in their thinking, instead of getting a 4 year degree, 1 year internship, and taking an exam to become a registered dietitian, I should have just been weighed???
And, funny enough, there are some clients who would prefer not to see a thin dietitian. Why you might ask? Well, over the years I have heard rumors from clients that thin dietitians know nothing about the struggles that one might encounter with a “weight” problem. NEWS FLASH: I am not thin because I thrice tapped by ruby red slippers and said “let me be thin, let me be thin.” Ironically, I have had to work at this as well. Huh, who knew? I have had my “struggles” with weight over the years from starving myself to binging/purging, and every diet in between those two extremes. I started dieting in middle school about the time I hit puberty. I won’t go into all the gory details in this post as I want to keep them short, but I’ve done it all.
I don’t know everything, but I have learned some things in the last 10 years of being a dietitian and 20 years of pursuing thinness. First, don’t judge a dietitian or roller girl by their size or lack of tattoos. A thin person is not necessarily “healthy” or fast and an overweight person isn’t necessarily “unhealthy” or good at hitting. Second, I have yet to witness strict dieting being successful . I promote being mindful while eating real foods, which means more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, nuts/seeds, and organic dairy products. And, finally, BALANCE. Take rest days; eat pretzels, chocolate, and wings occasionally; it’s good for the soul.

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