The day I earned my certification as a Licensed Dietitian was one of the most important days of my career. I was SO proud: I’d studied hard, followed the rules, and earned the esteemed “L.D.” Becoming a dietitian took a lot of work. In my class, only 50% of the students passed their exams and got an internship to become a dietitian. I was one of them.
Which is why today is so important: I’ve made the decision to kiss that license goodbye.
Why? I’ll tell you.
In a recent post, I shared how I learned the hard way that the old rules about food and weight loss—the very ones I was trained on as a dietitian—don’t work. They’re the rules that caused me to gain 20+ pounds in dietitian school. Those rules also did nothing to protect my father, who I thought was the picture of health, from emergency heart surgery. They’ve led our country to become the sickest and most overweight we’ve ever been. And those rules have been the source of so much pain for my clients, who come to me after being frustrated beyond measure that they can’t lose weight, despite following every food and weight loss rule to a T.
Since hanging my shingle as a dietitian, my team and I have helped thousands of people lose weight and keep it off. The results speak for themselves, and each year my business grows by at least 30%.
Here’s the thing though…
The approaches that have worked for all of these people fly in the face of traditional dietitian training. Yup—it’s only when we bucked those outdated rules that their weight fell off, and their lives changed.
But, the Minnesota Board of Dietetics and Nutrition didn’t like this. At all.
The board said that they don’t agree with the principles and approach that I use. They don’t think I should be talking about thyroid, hormones, supplements… or really anything other than food. Problem is, you can’t get results unless you look at the whole picture of health. That’s why we do it—and how we get the results we have.
So here’s what happened:
The results I got for clients, in the end, didn’t matter. They wanted me to stick to “the rules.” And so I had a choice: I could change how and what I teach, or I could relinquish my license.
Now, this didn’t happen overnight. I fought this battle with the board for a while—five long years, to be exact. We’re talking lawyers (and lawyer fees), court dates, mediation, negotiation, interrogation… for five years! I fought because I’ve built my brand on the authority that I believed my dietitian license gave me. I worked hard for those credentials, and for a while I wanted to keep them.
But in this process, I did some soul searching. I asked myself if I was going to keep fighting, or simply let it go. The choice became clear. I’ve chosen the latter. Because in those still, quiet moments, when I thought of surrendering this license, I experienced a newfound sense of peace and lightness that warmed my heart and made me feel faithful, connected and authentic. This is where I want to live and everything I do, and every decision that I make, I want to flow from this space. The choice suddenly didn’t even feel like a choice, but more of a welcomed step toward transcendence, and opening up to newer, greater opportunities.
Even though this was not an easy decision (I call myself “Dietitian Cassie” for crying out loud!), in the end, I had to ask myself, if that license stands for all of the things I don’t agree with, why would I hang onto it? It’s not aligned with what I believe or how I run my business. It’s not aligned with what I know works.
When I told the board what I decided, they were shocked. They couldn’t believe I would give up the credentials. They expected a longer battle. Nope.
I’ve always held myself to the highest standards of service and care, and I wouldn’t want you to settle for anything less.
So here are the main reasons I’ve relinquished my license, and what I’ve learned in the process, since there are things you can take away from my experience as you search for answers in your own journey, too:
Reason #1: I’d rather get results than follow rules.
You know me—I hate rules for their own sake. Makes no sense to me. I believe more in results than in what someone is paid to believe, and while I certainly wouldn’t be the professional I am without my education (since it essentially taught me what not to do), what this license represents doesn’t jive with what I believe and have seen to be true.
Sure, it’s impressive to have letters after your name, I get it—but if losing those little letters means that I’m able to provide the support, insight, and advice I know works—without being at war with an organization and dragged into court by my peers—so be it.
Reason #2: I want to be free from any advice or education that’s brought to you by Big Food influence.
Imagine your doctor’s license to practice medicine was paid for by McDonald’s. Would you be surprised if you got a prescription for a Big Mac? And yet that is exactly what is happening in the world of nutrition. When I attended my first dietitian conference, I was shocked to see an entire tent set up by Pepsi, who was sponsoring a calorie-counting campaign.
I’m sorry, what?
It’s true. As I’ve said many times before, the food industry does not have our best interests at heart. We know this. They’re profit, not people, centered.
One thing that doesn’t work in weight loss? Calorie counting. But have you ever wondered why this myth persists? Because if we treat all calories as created equal, then it doesn’t actually matter what you eat—and that means you can pretend you’re giving good, sound advice...while taking sponsorship dollars from companies whose products you can “safely” consume as long as it comes under your caloric limit (looking at you, Diet Pepsi).
If we all recognize that the type of calorie, and not the sheer number, mattered, then no one could possibly say that this snack or that soda “fits” into a healthy diet. And there goes that stream of income. Calorie blindness happens for a reason: Because it keeps some organizations in business.
Likewise, much of the education for nutritionists and dietitians is similarly flawed.
To this day, the very board that certifies dietitians is sponsored by Splenda, the Dairy Council, sugar producers, a milk company and more. Dietitians need to complete 75 hours of continuing education units (CEUs) every five years in order to maintain their credentials, and companies like Coca-Cola, General Mills, and McDonald’s offer continuing education courses that are approved by the board! Nonsense.
Reason #3: I believe a certification is only worth keeping if it’s aligned with your values.
Quite frankly, I’m relieved to finally get this weight off my shoulders. And the truth is I won't miss that license because I never really felt aligned with it to begin with. The rules behind it attempted to put me in the very box I’ve been telling you to break free from. I couldn’t do it anymore.
And, just sharing this with you, letting this go, and beginning a new chapter is incredibly freeing. I feel more connected to myself, my heart and my calling than I ever have. The weight that’s been lifted now allows me to put 100% of my time, focus, and energy into the practice that has proven results, rather than fighting the system that does not. It feels so good and SO right.
So, how does this affect you?
Honestly, it doesn’t.
Apart from adjusting to the fact that I’ll be changing the name (to my actual name!) and updating my social media handles, this will not affect you.
I still hold my credentials with the national Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). However, I have made the decision to let go of my state license with the Minnesota Board of Dietetics and Nutrition.
And, frankly, this is really more a matter of branding for me; nothing will change in the way I provide insight and support to you. None of our programs will change. Everything stays the same. My proven methodology remains what it is—rooted in science that has been proven time and again to be transformational and super effective at helping thousands of people lose weight and keep it off.
The reason I even felt compelled to tell you is because it was a big decision and one you should know about. I’m always telling you to question the old rules and to break any of them that don’t serve you. Rules for rules’ sake are a waste of time. I’ve asked you to take risks and a leap of faith and abandon old rules, old habits, old ways of doing, even when they were more comfy than effective (read: not effective at all!).
The way I see it, if I’m going to ask you to take that leap of faith, then I need to take one, too. I need to break with the rules that no longer serve me—along with the ruling bodies that never served me or you to begin with.
So, today marks the beginning of a new, exciting era! Here’s to starting 2018 fresh and free. And thanks, as always, for being so receptive, open, and brave.
Let’s go break some more rules while we’re at it!
**This post was definitely not sponsored by Pepsi.