MEET THE DIETITIAN: ANNETTE WEAVER

  • Tell us a bit more of yourself?

2020 marks my 35th year of being a registered dietitian! Most of my career has been as a food service dietitian. I am married to wonderful man, whose work took us to Germany, Qatar and Egypt. We have a beautiful daughter who is now the doctor in the house. We are looking for that perfect place to retire and do more travelling.

  • Why did you become a Registered Dietitian?

It was second choice but no regrets.

  • What would you have wanted to do if not Dietetics?

Physiotherapist

  • Where did you study (degree and/ or postgrad)

BSc Dietetics – UKZN Postgraduate diploma – UP

  • Where do you work and what does your job entail?

The last nine years I have been working on the National Youth Chef Training Programme and teaching nutrition and food safety to hospitality and chef students.

  • Walk us through a day in your life?

My day has to include a walk with my husband. Lesson preparation, lessons marking and admin. Thinking of new ways to get nutrition messages across. Cooking dinner, experimenting with flavours in nutritious dishes.

  • What do you enjoy most about the work you do? What are the most satisfying moments?

The challenge of working with young adults. Being able to pass on knowledge and give people an opportunity to improve their lives.

  • What has been your career highlight?

Working in a renal unit was the most rewarding time in my career. My career has been varied and never boring.

  • What are the most challenging aspects of your career?

Dietetics was a relatively new profession when I started my career, so promoting what dietitians can do was important. Getting away from the dietitians are just kitchen supervisors label was a challenge. Today’s challenge is motivating people to adopt healthier lifestyles and choose more nutritious foods in a world that promotes unhealthy choices. My hope is that my students will remember their nutrition lessons and make a small positive change in their or someone else’s eating habits.

  • What is something that people don’t know about you?

Mmm – no secrets.

  • What are your favourite foods?

At the moment homemade bean & vegetable soup and Irish soda bread. I do enjoy a glass of wine, red of course.

  • What are the three things that you think people should stop saying when they meet a dietitian?

Oh, you work with fat people!

Can you give me a diet, I need to lose weight?

What do you think about, (the latest fad diet), should I try it?

It is great to see how the profession has grown and developed over the years. We need to focus on better nutrition for all in South Africa and have a common message based on sound principles.

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