We chatted to Estée van Lingen, a dietitian who is passionate about growth and evolving in her field. And is willing to share a chocolate brownie or cheesecake!
Why did you become a Registered Dietitian?
I have always been passionate about food as well as helping others achieve their goals. With Dietetics I get to work with both! Nutrition is also a field that is consistently growing it is also nice to keep on evolving with it and keep on learning and not just a set of rules that we learn in University and stick with for the rest of our careers.
What do you enjoy most about the work you do? What are the most satisfying moments?
Clients that are actually motivated and come to you for help. When they then leave your office feeling like they have learned a lot and you have made everything so clear and easy for them and then they go home eager to start implementing it.
Its always satisfying when clients achieve their goals following the advice you gave them but not just that. The fact that they also believe you made a difference in their lives and that you played a key role. Even if it was just for clearing bloating or improving energy levels.
What has been your career highlight?
Being able to start my own private practice without working in a private practice setting before. I would never have though that I could actually achieve it and now to just keep on seeing my practice growing on a daily basis. It has been a true blessing that I would never have been able to achieve without help from my heavenly Father and the support of family & friends.
What are the most challenging aspects of your career?
Convincing clients that a healthy balanced diet is the way to go especially if they have been following other diet trends with success.
How do you cope after a day of nutrition disaster and bad eating choices?
We all make mistakes, and yes dietitians also have bad days, believe it or not ☺
I just tell myself its ok and it’s not a train smash so I just have to get back on the wagon tomorrow or with the next meal and start afresh. We can’t keep on getting stuck in the past, then we will never be able to move forward.
What are the three things that you think people should stop saying when they meet a dietitian?
- I know I am fat. Do you think I am obese?
- What do you think about the banting diet?
- I want to lose the weight quickly, how can we speed weight loss up with supplements?
Tell us about what work you have done in the past as well as what work you are currently involved in?
I have finished my community service in a government hospital where after I went into a corporate company doing catering. I was responsible for compilation of meal plans for special diets eg Diabetes, high cholesterol, IBS, soft diets etc for in a hospital set up as well as healthy meal alternatives in canteens. I also did training with the chefs and staff on what healthy meals consist of as well as special dietary needs for patients in hospital. I then started my private practise where I still consult with clients to assist them with weight loss as well as special dietary needs.
Where did you study your undergraduate degree and where did you do your community service?
I studied at NWU (Potchefstroom campus) for my 4 year Dietetics degree (incl honours) and then completed my community service in Tambo Memorial hospital in Boksburg.
Tell us about your community service experience.
It was great to learn from other dietitians in the government setup as well as see what things are like in a public setting as well as the different needs there is for patients. I also enjoyed helping people that was not able to afford Dietetic services otherwise and it made my heart melt when you could see the difference you made in their lives. It also was frustrating at times when you really wanted to assist people but did not have the right resources due to unpaid accounts or lack of funds. But overall it was a life-changing experience
Have you continued studying and what do you do to keep up to date on nutrition?
I have not continued studying a degree but have done a few shorter courses/ diplomas in Sports as well as Advanced sports nutrition. I also keep up to date with the latest research through CPD activities/ events/ articles as well as attend congresses
What should clients look out for when deciding which dietitian to work with?
Have a look at the Dietitians website/ Facebook profile and have a look at what their passions are, what clients they see and compare it to your goals you want to achieve.
If a close friend or doctor refers you they are normally doing it after seeing great results themselves or with their clients so trust their judgement.
What is your favourite dish and your favourite treat food?
My favourite dish is any form of seafood including sushi. I normally enjoy a treat of a nice dessert such as a chocolate brownie or cheesecake which I normally would share with someone.