Name: Tanvi Aggarwal
Academic Qualification: B.Sc. in Home Science (Nutrition and Dietetics) from Delhi University, India (Admission Batch: 2016)
M.Sc. Nutrition and Dietetics from Amity Institute of Food Technology, Noida India (Admission Batch: 2019)
1. Why did you choose this profession?
I picked this career because, when I was studying nutrition in college, I realized that it's important to make healthy eating a part of our daily lives. Once we establish it as a habit, it becomes easier to stick to and follow regularly.
2. How can one become a dietician in India?
The aspirants should have nutrition qualifications, and after that, they should, either work in hospitals or clear certain exams. Also, more than this, skills and practice will help you become a dietician.
3. What guidance would you provide a person thinking about this career?
I would guide the aspirant to read and understand more about human and food relationships. Also, to understand the difference between diet and nutrition, because diet is part of our lifestyle, but ultimately nutrition is the lifestyle that we must follow.
4. What do you want people to understand right now about a dietitian's job?
Well, I want people to understand the difference between a dietitian and an influencer (on Instagram or YouTube), because when a dietitian talks about a certain superfood or nutrient, it means he or she has studied it in depth. And being a dietitian does not mean that she or he will provide exotic food items or salads because there is more beyond that, and that is ghar ka khana, our own superfood, which will also be prescribed as per the person's body and lifestyle, as everyone has a different body and everybody reacts in a different manner. Hence, the same knowledge or pattern can't be applied to everyone.
5. What is the most satisfying thing about your profession?
The smile on another person's face: I have worked with nearly 150–200 people, and when they tell me that finally they are feeling good or a particular thing has improved (like a habit, medical condition, or even gut health), they were trying to improve with medicines, but finally they got rid of them. There comes the satisfaction that today ABC person has healed because of my profession.
6. What does a regular work week look like in your profession?
A regular workweek in my profession looks like learning something new every day because I spend 3-5 hours on call to talk to different patients, so it can be learning new nutrition knowledge through their queries or even learning something about their profession or culture. Then they need to spend time updating their diet plan with different varieties and seasonal fruits and vegetables, especially their favorite food items, to keep them motivated on their journey.
7. What part of your job is the most difficult?
The most difficult thing about my job is
- To figure out why another person is not able to improve certain parameters, I need to probe more, and sometimes frustrated people stop answering the calls and messages, so the journey's left incomplete.
- Sometimes when a patient shares about certain things like their mental stress and challenges and that moment I give my best to motivate them, but, in the end, sometimes I feel demotivated.
- You don't get time for yourself because, as per patients, they can ask us anything anytime, and if I don't respond on time, they feel offended.
8. We have heard that taking vacations during a patient-centered operation can be a little challenging. What are your views on it?
Yes, it is difficult because my job is totally unpredictable as I deal with the human body, and any suffering can come anytime, so at that time the patient tries to reach out to me, and sometimes it becomes difficult to solve their queries.
9. What is your opinion about the RD exam? Is it necessary to qualify for this exam to practice as a dietician in India, or is it just one choice?
The RD exam is a way to be called a registered dietitian or qualified dietitian under the government, partially you can say it as a choice because, as per me, correct knowledge and practice will help you become a dietitian.
10. Debunking Myths: Is this true?
You always eat healthy:
It's a myth because you can't eat healthy throughout your life, and you will always crave that roadside street food. So, to maintain healthy eating, it is important to indulge in your favorite food items while maintaining portion control.
You never skip your workout:
It's a myth because 150 minutes of physical exercise in a day and 8,000–10,000 steps of regular walking is enough to maintain your body weight.
You are always well-maintained in your work and personal life.
No, it's the biggest myth because sometimes it's difficult to maintain work and personal life.
Healthy meals can never be tasty.
Again, a myth: healthy meals are super tasty, and there are so many recipes available online to eat healthy, nutritious, and tasty meals.
11. What kind of diet did you eat while you were growing up? You always used to eat well, right?
No, even I used to hate raw vegetables and milk, but now that I have grown up, I have learned how to make a boring vegetable into a tasty one. For example, I really don't like eating cucumbers, but I absolutely enjoy drinking its juice.
12. Do your friends and family members think you're comparing what they eat when you go out? Do they ask you for guidance or suggestions?
No, never, because I understand that I need to keep my work and personal lives separate. I understand the importance of having our favorite foods, but yes, I tell them to portion control. It goes both ways. When a family member asks for advice, I love to help, but if, for instance, I feel my mother or father is going wrong, instead of reacting, I would explain certain things in a better way.
13. Do you feel burned out when surrounded by patients or clients most of the time?
Not always because they are patients and I chose this profession, but there are some days, like 2-3 days in a month, when I feel a little nervous about my job profile when I am not able to help others.
14. Would you suggest this career to someone else if their main goal is to make money in it?
My first suggestion to a future aspirant would be to earn the respect, trust, and love of the people by helping them. Because if your practice is right and you genuinely want to help people, at a certain point you will make some money.
15. With so many slimming products or supplements coming up in the market or people opting for crash diets over a balanced diet, do you feel like your industry is becoming more commercialized?
Indeed, yes!! because some companies are trying to make fool out of people through false promises, but there are some companies that are genuinely good (like nutrients supplements), because in today's era it is important to get your nutrients through diet and necessary supplements like Vitamin B12, D, and many more that can be fulfilled by food.
16. What should one be aware of before entering this profession?
Criticism of the people because there will be some people who will not appreciate your job because of their lack of knowledge.
17. Lastly, what message would you like to give future aspirants and the general audience?
Skip the diet , Just eat nutritious food and live a nutritious life.