Kristina Bergman, Intern 2014-2015
After spending four years at the University of Florida, taking 180 credits and securing two degrees (one in nutrition and one in psychology), I have to admit I probably learned the most about myself and the field I want to pursue through interning and completing the Intuitive Eating Practicum with Dr. Karin Kratina. Through readings, videos, recorded nutrition counseling sessions, and group discussions, Dr. Kratina exposed the flaws in the diet mentality and the ways in which the medical community and traditional dietetics practice may actually be leading us, as a society, further and further away from what can truly be considered “health” (frightening, yet strangely motivating!).
As an undergraduate intern for Dr. Kratina, I had the opportunity to share what I learned in the Intuitive Eating Practicum by representing Dr. Kratina at health fairs and other events. These experiences were extremely valuable as they allowed me to practice explaining the intuitive eating approach, to learn what others were struggling with, and to discover what I still needed to learn. Having this experience has proven useful to me in my dietetic internship as I continue to find myself defending the idea that weight is only one number, not a comprehensive snapshot of someone’s health status, and that being in tune with (and honoring!) hunger and satiety cues is essential before considering further nutritional guidance. Throughout my dietetic internship, I’m able to view all of my experiences through a unique lens. As I observe the effects of society’s fat-shaming mindset, I’m constantly imagining how I can change the conversation and open people’s minds to life free of self-loathing and full of physical and mental health. I see the potential in every one to be able to do this and to be truly happy and healthy, because I have seen Dr. Kratina guide clients to this goal.
Learning about the Enneagram with Dr. Kratina was a surprisingly insightful experience. I had heard of different personality styles, but nothing I’ve encountered has been as comprehensive (and useful!) as the Enneagram. Understanding other people’s point of view (and my own) has helped me work more effectively with patients throughout my internship and to learn more about myself. By understanding my own Enneagram style, I have been able to strengthen my relationships with others and think critically about how people perceive nutrition information.
Ironically, despite the fact I started working with Karin to learn how to help others, I am so grateful for the ways she taught me how to help myself. By using the tools Karin gives to real clients, I learned that I, too, had not been eating intuitively. Like so many of Karin’s clients, I had the opportunity to discover and confront the obstacles preventing me from having a healthy relationship with food and healthy relationships in my life (because we know it’s never just about food). And like so many of Karin’s clients, I now feel the relief and the confidence that comes with eating intuitively.
Working with Dr. Kratina confirmed for me how psychology and nutrition are truly inseparable. It showed me the importance of self-care and undoubtedly shaped the course of my career as well as my own relationship with food.