October was such a crazy month, that I didn’t get a chance to write a blog post, so consider this post an extended update. In addition to starting another rotation of the dietetic internship (DI), I moved into a new apartment in October. Needless to say, I’ve been a very busy girl these past few months!
I’ll start by sharing some updates about my latest rotations. I’ve been interning in a long term care facility for the past two months. My experience at this facility has been divided into two parts: institutional food service management and clinical long term care. The food service management rotation was surprisingly fun. It takes a lot of work and organization to oversee the management of a food service department, especially in a residential/long term care facility. I learned about forecasting, budgeting, purchasing, and how food is stored and prepared in this facility. I also got to know the food service staff and presented an inservice on food sanitation and teamwork, which are essential in a food service kitchen.
My second rotation at this same facility has been in the clinical area. I’ve been working on nutrition assessments of residents in long term care (LTC) while getting to know the residents, their health conditions, and and how to address health problems using evidence-based nutrition interventions. I’ve found the clinical aspect of this rotation to be a little more challenging than food service, mostly because assessments need to be written in a very particular way and I’m still finding my voice when it comes to making recommendations and writing evaluations. My advice to anyone else going into a clinical rotation of the DI is to learn from each preceptor and try to see everything as a learning experience, especially if you don’t have much clinical experience prior to starting the internship.
Like I mentioned above, October was super busy due to transitioning from one rotation to the next, all while moving my life into a U-Haul and changing homes. I absolutely love my new apartment– it’s so roomy, light, and has such a great energy about it. Growing up, I wanted to be an architect or an interior designer, so I’m having a lot of fun trying to make the best use of space and decorating (on a budget!).
In addition to moving, October brought a lot of personal realizations and change for me. During the summer, I ramped up my exercise and started to restrict my food a little bit (or, a lot based on my actual energy needs). I think I was just stressed from this past year being such an intense year of change (writing my master’s thesis, applying to and getting into the DI, leaving my job as a WIC nutritionist, getting ready to move, etc.) that exercise and diet became a welcome distraction. I lost weight pretty quickly (even though I really didn’t need to), but I also became really moody, on-edge, and exhausted at times. As someone who is well aware of disordered eating and eating disorders, it didn’t take me long to realize I might be heading down a dangerous, unhealthy path. The past few weeks have been spent reflecting on how to manage stress better, increase my calorie intake, and not do so much intense exercise. I feel so much better now that I’m fueling my body correctly and taking it easy. I’ve realized the importance of taking a break when needed. Sometimes we’re so busy and wired to achieve that we forget to take care of ourselves, or resort to unhealthy habits as a means of escaping overwhelming feelings. I feel it’s important to share all of what I’ve written because food is fuel and life becomes a lot less fun and a lot harder when you’re under-fueled and hungry!
I’m hoping the rest of November will be a little more calm now that I’m settled into my new home and in December, I’ll get a short break from the internship (which is definitely welcomed, because every intern needs a break now and then!). I’m looking forward to sharing more updates and info when I start my next rotation 🙂