Katelynne Burghardt, MS, RDN, LD, CEDRD
Hi, I’m Kate (She/Her pronouns).
I’m a master’s level dietitian and eating disorder expert.
I like to introduce myself formally with my full-name, Katelynne Burghardt,
and then make a joke about how I have half the alphabet after my name
when listing my credentials.
I started working towards obtaining half the alphabet when I was a
pre-teen after learning brief snippets about how food can affect your body.
I didn’t know what a dietitian was at the time, but I fell in love with the idea of
food as medicine.
A few years later, I learned that I could major in dietetics in college.
Dietetics is an area of study that focuses on how diet affects health in humans.
I was given nutrition books written by doctors and celebrities throughout my teenage
years and spent my free time learning more about nutrition that was heavily biased towards diet-culture and quick fixes.
I attempted to help friends and family members lose weight because I thought it would make them happier. They told me weight loss would make them happy. The media explained me that weight loss makes people happy and healthier. Cartoons, TV shows, movies, magazines, and society as a whole showed me that people who gain weight and “get fat” are lazy, unsuccessful, ugly, lonely, and depressed. Weight stigma was all around me, though at the time I didn’t even realize it.
I wanted to make people happy.
As I attempted to help people, I began noticing several flaws in the beliefs I had been taught by society. I watched some of the people I helped lose weight. As I cheered them on and praised them, they continued to hold on to their doubts. I heard many similar phrases repeated:
“I thought I would be happier.”
“I thought buying clothes would get easier.”
“I thought I would feel better.”
I had some tell me they bought multiple scales and thought all of them were broke because their expectations of a happier, healthier, more successful life had not been reached yet. I listened to people tell me about their eating patterns that they changed in order to improve their health, yet they felt worse, and many times I heard them tell me that their hair was falling out.
I listened to people shame and blame food for their problems in their life. I began realizing that the nutrition information I was spreading was not benefiting most people because it was biased.
Over the past several years, I have worked to teach myself, students studying dietetics, and others about how to present, explain, and understand nutrition information without bias. I continue to work towards increasing my awareness and understanding of my own biases and privileges. Without awareness and understanding of my own biases, I can’t filter out the biases in my own messages.
I believe in the power of adequate nutrition. I believe it can have amazing effects on our mind, body, and soul. I continue to hold on to my original dream of helping people, though in a much different way than I thought I could several years ago.
I want to help you feel this power, too, by increasing your awareness of the lenses we obtain nutrition information through. Let’s do this together!