At times i doubt myself… i doubt what i am studying, i doubt my capabilities and what i have learnt.
Sometimes i think…. why am i going a 3 year university program when there are people who do a 2 week online course and call themselves a health coach.Or why can some people do an 8 week nutrition course and call themselves a nutritionist and begin writing meal plans for people….. whereas i have studied *almost* 2,5 years at university and still feel like i don’t know enough.
When it comes to nutrition you will never know it all… and if anyone says they do – then it is best you doubt them. There are researchers who research on small specific details and factors of nutrition and the body such as some are experts on fat, some are experts on antioxidants, some on protein etc No one can know everything…. there are still questions that are unanswered when it comes to nutrition and the body. There can be confounders in studies which make us think that certain food leads to certain negative, or positive results when infact it is something else that lead to the result. When you study and learn about nutrition you always need to stay up to date with the latest research, but also to be critical of different studies and articles…. what do the results actually mean? How was the study made? Can the results be generalized…. ?
So even if an article/study claims that coconut oil will make you lose weight, maybe the study was just done on 20 overweight men who changed their diet at the same time that they ate coconut oil… meaning that the results can’t be generalized to the overall population and a bigger study would need to be done before you can actually make the statement that coconut oil makes you lose weight. (This was just an example.)
You also need to be open-minded when it comes to nutrition and be aware that you don’t know everything and that recommendations can change over time. What we think is healthy now might change in 20-30 years when more research is done….. example in the past when fat was feared and people ate lots of sugar sweetened food instead. And now sugar and carbs are more of a “fear food” in society whereas many think eating lots of fat is healthy… recommendations and nutrition guidelines can change when more research is done.
So…. onto the actual topic of this post. For those of you who don’t know, i am studying health promotion with focus on nutrition at university and i have c.a 1 year left of my studies. And after that i might focus on certain aspects of nutrition or study more about psychology, coaching, stress and exercise. If you want to read more about my studies you can read HERE
I thought i would write a bit about what i have actually learned these past 2,5 years in university. This is more of a way to boost myself, as i wrote in previous posts, i have low self esteem and doubt myself quite a bit. So this is a way to show myself that i CAN and DO know alot about nutrition. And that i HAVE learnt alot during my studies at university…… So if you feel yourself doubting your studies or your knowledge… do this as well. Write down what you have learnt, what you know and even what you WANT to learn and know! This post might also be helpful for those of you wondering what i study or want to study nutrition as well 🙂
Also note, i am not studying the dietitian program i am studying health promotion so our main focus is working with healthy people/keeping people healthy so that they don’t end up sick! So we do learn a bit about nutrition and illness but that is not our main focus.
I have learnt (also lots of things i am missing from this list!):
Alot about nutrition. Down to cell level on how protein, carbs, fat, fiber are digested and absorbed in the body. Also about all the vitamins and minerals in food as well as alcohol and antioxidants & the function and importance of them. I have learnt about recommendations and guidelines for both healthy adults as well as elderly, children, people with illnesses, pregnant women, people who are overweight and underweight.
I have learnt about different illnesses and nutrition when you have the illnesses but also how nutrition can effect/lead to the illness or help recover from the illness. (Different illnesses, cancer, IBS, underweight, overweight, cardiovascular illnesses, diabetes type 2 etc etc)
I have done microbiology and learnt about different bacteria in food, food poisoning, how to prepare and store food.
I have learnt about physiology and anatomy. How all the organs work in the body, the different muscles. The importance of water and salt when working out and keeping the body healthy. I have learnt about the heart, the brain, the nervous system and learnt on cell level how it works in the body.
I have learnt about public health and how to promote health in society. How to work with different groups, which strategies to use. Also learnt about epidemiology, different illnesses in society, what are the risk groups in society and how to work with them.
Also i have learnt alot about research, finding articles, reading articles and how to understand them. What do the results from different articles and studies mean…. can the results be generalized? How was the study done? What confounders are there? How many people were in the study? Are the results significant…. ? What does the OR and significant standard actually say…. ? I have learnt to be critical of articles and studies and learnt to understand what they mean and whether the results are trust worthy or not.
I have better understanding of different food myths – where they came from and why people believe in them. But also able to say why different food myths aren’t true or why certain diets aren’t healthy as i understand how the different macros and micros break down and are absorbed in the body as well as how the body works. I.e why ketosis is dangerous, why we need glucose everyday, why too much protein isn’t going to make you build more muscle, why we need salt and the list goes on….
I have learnt how to coach people, be a leader and how to motivate people towards change and a healthier lifestyle. Different techniques that can work with coaching and when talking with clients and promoting health.
I have learnt about different cultures food and the importance of being able to understand that different people have different backgrounds which affect their way of eating. I.e need to take in a persons background and culture into consideration when helping people with nutrition and health.
I have learnt how to write meal plans & create a healthy diet plan.
I have tried following different diets to see how it is to eat them and which affect they have.
I have done blood glucose tests and done practical cooking to create meal plans as well as prepare food in a way that is healthy and safe.
I have read ALOT of articles about different areas within nutrition and health and have alot better understanding and knowledge – as well as reading articles on my freetime. Not to mention all the course litterature i have read over these past years which have given me alot of information and knowledge and better understanding.
I know i am missing alot of things which i have done and learnt during my university studies, but these were what i could think of right now.
I know i often doubt myself but i am trying to remind myself that i can alot… i have learnt alot about nutrition and health and can use that information to help people!! Sure, some people may take a 4 week online course and call themselves a nutritionist, but i know that my years at university will give me alot more knowledge and understanding of nutrition and health.
Do i recommend my university program to others? Yes… if you are more focused on health and working with healthy people – and not sick people. Or if you want to study nutrition and overall health and not work as dietician, then i would recommend it! There are so many different nutrition programs and courses, so it is best to decide what area of nutrition you want to work with and then choose your program 🙂