Real life women on how they stay on their feet…

Barbara O’Brien, community dietitian for the NHS, age 30

What’s your working day like?  They vary but a typical day can consist of a clinic – either morning or afternoon – and/or some home/nursing home visits. In clinic I see people for several different reasons such as weight loss, weight gain, advice for diabetes, or high cholesterol. I see people in their own homes or in nursing homes to give them the advice they need. My day usually ends with admin, e.g. writing letters to GPs.

What time do you get up, and what do you eat for breakfast? I usually get up at 06.30 and eat two Weetabix, a handful of Oatibix Flakes, and a tablespoon of raisins with skimmed milk (very precise I know!). This fills me up until lunch, which is really important because I often don’t get the opportunity to snack in between.

How do you get to work and what does it involve? I commute to work via the overground and underground. If everything is running on time, it usually takes around 45 minutes to reach the office.

What time do you finish and what do you do in the evenings? My finish times depend on where I am but it’s usually around 5pm. After work I always go to the gym near where I live. I used to row for many years at quite a high level, so I don’t feel right if I don’t do some exercise at some point in the day. I spend between one to two hours there and do either a cardio or weights session. Following that I go home, cook dinner, watch some TV, and then go to bed so I can start the process all over again the next day!

Are you standing, or on your feet a lot? If I have a full day of home/nursing home visits, I can be on my feet quite a bit. I recently bought a Fitbit and average 14,000 steps per day!

How does that affect your body? Being a community dietitian can take a toll on the body believe or not! I carry a backpack with me containing my notes, some diet sheets, and often a set of standing scales. As you can imagine, this can be heavy (especially if you’re walking or running for a bus!)

Do your colleagues have any tactics for being on their feet a lot? Comfortable shoes are a must. I have noticed that my colleagues who work predominantly in the hospital setting can often manage a pair of heels but for us they are simply not possible.

What do you look for in work shoes? I need to wear orthotics so I look for shoes they will fit into which is sometimes challenging. Previously I chose shoes based solely on looks alone, but these have led me to many a podiatrist appointment. I much prefer comfort over fashion these days.

Is the ultimate dream finding comfortable shoes that also make you feel stylish? Definitely. I always assume that a stylish pair of shoes and pain go hand in hand and so accept it as the norm.

What do you think to your FitFlop shoes? They are fantastic. They give me the support I need. I find trainers the most comfortable of all shoes, but they are inappropriate for work. The FitFlop shoes were as comfortable for me as trainers, but were fashionable and blended in nicely with my work clothes.