Graduation day | Health promotion with focus nutrition

After 3,5 years at university, whereof 3 years studying health promotion with focus on nutrition, it is finally coming to an end.

These three years have gone SOO quick. Trust me, when you first begin university it may feel like a lifetime until you graduate and are done… but it will go by so quickly. Three years anyway… if you study 5 or 7 years, of course it will feel like it never ends. But even then, i have heard people who study 5 years to do a masters and say that the time at university went far too quickly.

Today is my graduation day… hopefully get my bachelors in health promotion. Though i won’t know until summer whether i have passed or not with my final bachelors essay.

In three years alot can happen. I feel like a completely different person compared to the girl i was autumn 2016 and first started the program.

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^When i moved to Gothenburg, autumn 2016^^

2016 – new start

I moved to a new city… on my own. Wanting a new fresh start.

I had only been in Gothenburg once before where i spent a two day weekend with my boyfriend at the time… and i fell in love with the city.

Moving to a new city is scary… especially when you don’t know anyone. When you don’t have any contacts and don’t know where you will live. How to travel around the city.

Read more about this HERE: moving to a new city to study| life change and 8 tips for moving to a new city

I had moved out and lived with a roommate earlier, when i was studying at Uppsala univeristy, though i just had a 60-90 minute journey back home if i wanted to see my family. Now i was going to be 4 hours away by train.

However, i have always been so independant that that never bothered me… mostly i knew i would miss my dog. Which i very much have these past 3 years.

There are alot of fears moving to a new city and starting a new university program. Would i make any friends? Would i like the program? Would i feel lonely? Would i like the new city? etc etc I had to face alot of fears and step outside of my comfort zone alot when i first started university and moved to a new city.

 

Did i always know i wanted to study this program?

I have had doubts about my program… often wondered if maybe i should study the dietititan program instead. But in the end, i am very happy i have studied this program… and i do have plans to continue studying… to learn more about coaching, psychology, eating behaviour, leadership, sports nutrition and maybe do a masters in nutrition. Three and a half years at university but i still doubt that i have enough knowledge. Or well, i know i have enough knowledge… i know that my knowledge in nutrition and exercise and health promotion is adequate and higher than the average person… but i guess i am just not done studying or learning.

I love learning…. not so much the stress involved with assignments and exams. But learning more information which i can then share with others and use to help others is what i love. So i am not done with studying, even if i am done with my bachelors.

My university program

Many people are interested in what program i studied and it was “Health promotion with focus nutrition”, and i have written some posts about what i have learnt and my thoughts about the program, HERE: & HERE, which you can read.

My overall thoughts… it is a good program. You learn information about alot of different areas from nutrition, coaching, motivational interviewing (an evidence based counselling style that is usually used when helping people to change behaviours), sports nutrition, biochemistry, health promotion and the list goes on.

Compared to the dietitian program, we have focused alot on health promotion. I.e working with healthy people to keep them healthy. Promoting health and working on “health factors” instead of so called “risk factors”. In the dietitian program they learn more about how to work with sick people and people with different diagnoses. With my knowledge i can work with people who are sick to a certain extent… however we don’t really have the right knowledge to work with nutrition advice regarding certain illnesses and then it is better that the client is sent to a dietitian with more knowledge in those areas of nutrition.

So what can I, and the others in my class work with after this program? Well… we don’t really have a license like dietitians do. However we have qualifications to work with nutrition, exercise, health, health promotion, lifestyle changes etc

Careers can vary from having your own business and doing health coaching, doing lectures, working in health care centres, working in schools, working with businesses, creating mealplans or even working with food. The list goes on…. just from the wide range of internships that people did in my class shows how many different career options there are for us.

Not to mention that there is more and more attention focused on the health for qualified healthcoaches and people focused on promoting health. More and more people are getting sick due to lifestyle related illnesses, and i definitely think people with a similar university degree/program can have a huge impact in helping people improve their health.

What happens now?

It is so crazy to think that these 3 years are over, and it does send me into slight panic mode. I must admit… i feel like i have been constantly stressed these past 3 years, hahah. Which isn’t a good thing. But i have the same feeling as i did after graduation from highschool where you are left thinking…what happens now? What do i do now? Do i work… do i study… how do i get from A to B? What am i doing with my life? Am i on the right path?

So many questions and no answers…. I don’t know where i will be in 5 years time or what i will be doing with my life, or how my life will look like then. But i don’t want to worry about it either.

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This summer my goal is to just work at the foodstore i currently work at. Focus on my social media work with my blog, instagram and YouTube. And also work on some side projects i want to try to build up. And also begin with lectures, maybe doing health coaching and also applying for nutrition/health related jobs. I don’t know how my autumn will look like… but this summer i know i just want a break from school because these past months have been stressful with school and my bachelors essay.

My advice to others:

All i can say from my experience is…. Dare to try something new. Apply to that university course or program. Dare to move to that new city. It is ok if you realize that the first course or program isnät for you… that happened to me. The first time i started university and moved away from home it didn’t turn out as expected. I didn’t make friends, i felt lonely and didn’t have any fun at university. But the second time rount it was better.

It is ok if you study 3 years and realize you hare passionate about something else. You are not a failure. You have still learnt things, gotten experience and realized what you don’t want to do.

Just dare to try. Things may not work out as planned, but that’s life.

I had to move a bunch of times before i finally got my own student apartment. I didn’t makke friends at first when i started university the seocnd time around. I have felt lonely. I have doubted my program and whether i should continue studying.

But for the majority of the time i have enjoyed studying and enjoyed my university experience.

Also, i am so thankful that in Sweden it is free to study. Of course, i have taken a student loan to be able to afford to pay rent/food/etc and not have to work fulltime as well as study… but atleast i don’t need to pay to actually go to unversity, which i am very thankful for.

So… this long post finally comes to an end. All i can say is that i am so happy to finally graduate and have my degree *hopefully*… but at the same time i really don’t feel ready and like time has gone too quick.

Also, i know i haven’t written so many personal posts recently… i used to share my monthly goals and life updates… but with all the school and work stress i have had recently i stopped doing that. But i felt i atleast wanted to share this update in my life 🙂 For those of you who have followed me for the past few years 🙂 And hopefully you will stick around for the next few years as well!

 

Giving nutrition advice? | My thoughts

I love learning more about nutrition and i love being able to help others with their nutrition, food intake and balance with food.

I would gladly give out nutrition advice when asked for it, however i also try to abstain from writing general nutrition advice or recommendations because how much you need to eat or what you should eat is so individual.

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Of course, there are general recommendations for the majority of people which can be good to follow. Such as eating your 5-a day/or c.a 500g of fruit and veggies. Limiting the amount of processed food and sugar you intake. Not drinking soda with sugar. Trying to eat 25-35g fiber per day. Drinking several glasses of water a day etc. Limiting the amount of red meat you eat a week to 500g. etc

Those are general recommendations everyone should try to follow.

But i can’t give a general recommendation of how many carbohydrates everyone should eat, or how much protein, or how much fat, because it varies from person to person.

Example for an inactive person who needs to lose weight, then they might need to limit their intake of carbohydrates and choose lots of wholegrains and fiber rich food. Whereas someone who is very active may feel better eating more fast processed carbohydrates and maybe choosing less fiber rich foods before/after their workouts, or they may benefit from eating a very carbohydrate rich diet.

Or someone with IBS may need to limit their intake of fiber because it causes too much gastrointestinal pain, and for others they may need to increase their fiberintake to keep their digestive system working as it should.

Some people can handle a high fat diet, whereas others don’t feel good eating so much fat (apart from of course getting their daily essential fatty acids.)

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And the same goes for healthy eating. What is healthy is individual – even if there are certain guidelines everyone should follow. There are different factors that affect health and what a healthy diet is.

Also a person’s view on what is healthy depends on many factors. Ex. what i view as healthy eating, with my background with an eating disorder as well as growing up in a family where i ate vegetarian meals is different from someone who ex. grew up eating alot of junk food and has had to lose alot of weight.

Not to mention twhat is considered health depends on culture, how you grew up and what you grew up eating, what normal eating is in your social circle etc

Also, sometimes i want to share different food/eating/recovery quotes on my social media, but then i also realise that the reminder/quote is mainly aimed at those with an eating disorder or ex. a restrictive eating disorder.

Because the fact is, not everyone can eat whatever they want.

Some people do need to track their food intake, some people do need to watch their portion sizes. Some people can’t eat a sweet treat everyday, because it just triggers them to eat the whole thing.

Some people feel best following some sort of food schedule whereas others can eat very freely and be healthy.

Eating is so incredibly individual and the same goes with the food recommendations and how much you should eat.

When you read or hear different nutrition advice or recommendations it is also important to think, is this information relevant to me?

If you are in recovery from an eating disorder you WON’T have the same food recommendations as someone who is overweight and needs to lose weight. Ex. if you are in recovery from a restrictive eating disorder and need to gain weight, you will need to eat alot and also need to face your fear foods. Whereas if someone is emotionally eating and needs to lose weight, they will be recommended to eat less and keep treats to certain days.

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If you have an illness you will have to eat differently and have different food recommendations than someone who doesn’t have the illness.

If you are active or inactive you will have different food recommendations. And the same goes for supplementation… some people may need to take supplements and others may not, but there is no rule that you “have to”.

You have to look at your own sitution and think… is the advice aimed at me or not?

Ex, the more active you are the more you can eat. Also if you are trying to build muscle, if you are injured, elderly or trying to lose weight you will need a higher protein intake than someone who is a normal weight and no regular activity.

This also brings me to…. i can’t tell you how much you need to eat/what you need to eat without knowing your situation, your weight/age/lifestyle/goal and your food preferances. I get alot of questions from people asking me how much they need to eat, and i can’t answer that.

Infact i have seen in different groups online that people often ask that question and some people answer with an exact answer, such as 1800kcal or 2200kcal. And sure, those are general guidelines, but you can’t know. Even when you count out exactly you will never *truly* know how much you need to eat or how much you are *actually* eating, as the caulations aren’t exact. And they don’t have to be either.

But the fact is… someone can’t tell you how much you need to eat without knowing more about you and having certain details to help calculate. Just like when someone says, i can’t lose weight or i can’t gain weight or i can’t build muscle…. there is often alot more to it and it is not always as simple as “eat less” or “eat more”, but there can be other factors a PT/nutritionist/health coach needs to know to be able to answer the question correctly.

Sometimes it is easy to forget that not everyone thinks the way i do when it comes to nutrition. .Ex. when i read different nutrition advice i always think… is this advice relevant to me? Is it something i need to consider in my diet and intake? Or is it aimed at people in a different situation than me. Of course not everyone thinks like this, and not everyone has the same nutrition knowledge that i do.

It would be great if there was just a simple way of eating that fit everyone, but it is so individual. So please remember this.

And the same goes for when i post different recovery related food quotes and inspiration. I know that the advice may not be relevant or applicable to everyones situation, but i also know that many who follow me do struggle with disordered eating and that those quotes and advice do help – even if they may not be relevant to everyone.

 

My 10 best study tips | Balancing uni, social media and work

From an early age, i have always loved studying.

It’s not so much studying i like, it is learning which i love. I love feeling smart, i love learning new facts and i love when i begin to understand what i am learning, and make the connection between one topic with another. When you begin to understand how different things go together.

Studying is something i would say you get better at the more you do it.

Of course, not everyone likes studying and some people may naturally just be better at it than others. They can easier focus and concentrate. But also it depends on WHAT you are studying. If you find languages easier to study and learn then you may find studying science or math extremely difficult and vice versa. So maybe you are amazing at studying the subjects you enjoy and are good at, and not as good at studying the subjects you struggle with.

I have recently been asked about my best study tips, which i shared on my instagram, but also have to balance life when studying at university.

And i can say… it is not always easy.

Life at university can be very different from week to week according to me. Some weeks you have 1 lecture and lots of at home reading to do, other weeks you have lectures 8-5pm and have assignments on top of that. And some weeks you just have essays and group work and no lectures.

So how and where you study – and how much time you have for other things in your life depends alot on what course you are studying and how mcuh work the course includes.

Some weeks i have more time to be at home, go to the gym, watch YouTube etc and other weeks i leave the house at 7am and don’t return until after 6pm and don’t get the chance to go to the gym or do anything else but study.

That is sort of my life right now. I am studying 200%, i.e 3 courses at the same time. It is very intense as there are assignments, essays and tests all at the same time. And while studying i am also working as well as running my social media, so if my blog is lacking you know the reason why.

So how do i balance studying and everything else in life? Priortize, plan and structure up your life.

Buy a calender and write down all the due dates. Make to do lists.

Focus on what is most important – due date first.

Plan your days. I.e on Monday between x-y you focus on Z, then afterwards you focus on A-B. On Tuesday you focus on C-D etc etc 

Of course, you are only human and the plan doesn’t always workout. I.e maybe you wake up sick or you feel extremely demotivated and nothing will stay in your brain, then you need to change the plan and that is ok. 

Take away the things that don’t give you anything/you just waste time on/aren’t helpful. I.e for me at the moment, i basically don’t have time to watch any series or YouTube. I do take breaks, but then i prefer to listen to podcasts or go for a walk or take a shower or just bake – things which are more productive, This is just right now, otherwise i love watching YouTube and series, but at the moment it is something i don’t have time for.

Do take breaks and take time for yourself. And make sure to sleep! Usually when you are busy or stressed, sleep is the first thing people cut out on. But that is one of the worst things you can do, instead it will make you less effective and productive. Make sure to get 7-9 hours sleep, and instead just be more effective in the hours you are working.

Meal prep! Take 1-2 hours 2 times a week to meal prep – it is so worth it. And your meal prep can abe as simple as a pasta salad, or make a one pot lentil soup which doesn’t take alot of time.

If possible – walk places. This can take more time than public transport, but if you have the time it is a good way to get in some daily exercise if you don’t have time to workout.

Those are just some of the tips i could think of right now which i hope help! 

Below are some of my best study tips:

1) find your best way of studying. I.e do you study best when alone or when studying in group? At home or in the library? With or without music? Etc Find what works best for you. Typically, having a quiet place where you can sit and concentrate is the most efficient – also in an inspiring setting can be helpful. (I.e sitting in a completely white, silent room may not be so inspiring)
2) Find which way you learn best. (For most people it’s a combo of seeing/hearing/discussing/writing about the topic.) For me, i learn best by note taking and then answering questions about the topic and trying to teach out to others.
3) Priortize and organize – focus on the thing that is most important/due first. It’s easy to get caught up in small extra things and forget about the assignment which needs to be done first!

4) Flash cards and clear notes makes a huge difference!! Also, take notes during your lecture… trust me, you won’t remember what was said and you will regret not writing it down. It’s better to take too many notes then too little-
5) Also remember to not just memorize facts-but to actually try to learn. I.e it’s easy to just memorize and then forget the information after the exam… but by really trying to understand it can make it easier to remember!
6) don’t be scared to ask questions or ask for help! If you are stuck, discussing with a teacher or classmates can help alot!
7) Exercising really does help with creativity and studying!
8) Turn off your phone/notifications and put your phone away to not get distracted 📵
9) Take breaks and remember to eat enough to fuel your mind! Also don’t forget to drink water!
10) make a plan for your studying. It’s better to study a little everyday, read a few pages everyday than to sit 8 hours straight 2 days a week.

Recent thoughts : Eating enough/energy dips, exercise planning &nutrition

After four hectic days of school and work – and with 2 days of trying to rest and be productive, i felt it was time to update my blog!

All these posts i have been meaning to write, but there just isn’t the time for it with everything else going on in my life and in my mind right now!

But that brings me to my first thought/topic i wanted to share. I did write a little about this on my IG one day, and that was “eating enough while working” (or studying/just living life!). The thing to remember is that food = fuel, and if you aren’t eating enough, no amount of caffeine is going to give you that energy you need.

While i was working one day i began to have this real energy dip. The tiredness hit me hard, i still had half of my workshift left and i just felt like saying “no,no,no, i want to go home.” But then after a few more minutes of work i realised that i just needed to take a break, i had been moving and up on my feet for 5 hours already and all i needed was to sit down. So i took my break, sat down and ate an early lunch and after 30 minutes my energy was back on top. Back to motivated and a hardworker and no problem with the remaining hours of my workshift.

 

^^I was so tired in the left picture, haha (Before and after food, hahah)^^

And it is not just work, but when studying as well. After a few hours of studying my brain power and focus begins to decline and i feel like i will never get the work done or everything just feels “too much” and i feel tired. But then i take a pause, get some fresh air, eat a snack, drink some water and after a while i am back to focused and productive again!

Food is fuel and is key if you want to be productive!! Don’t skip food – even if you are super busy, have a quick on the go snack with you. Even just a banana or a handful of trail mix will help you when you energy is declining. And whether you have a busy/active job or if you have a desk job or just sitting studying, you still need to fuel yourself! Your brain uses alot of energy when studying, so even if you aren’t active your body still needs fuel! I can say from personal experience, both working when not eating enough/not having time for breaks & food/studying and not eating enough – and it makes such a difference to fuel yourself properly!

Of course i should note that somedays no amount of food is going to increase your energy levels and all you really need is rest and a break. Forcing yourself to study or work when exhausted is not a good idea and then the best thing is to take a break, rest and sleep if possible!

 

And then onto my second thought i have wanted to share!

So at the moment i am studying two courses, and one of them is about exercise/exercise planning. (And at the end of the term i will study more about exercise nutrition and stress etc). In this course we do talk a bit about exercise nutrition – but more about the physiology behind it. I have already studied fysiology, biochemistry etc so learning about the metabolism and energy systems isn’t new to me. But when you connect it with the physiology behind training – all different types of training – it is so interested to learn more about how the body uses different fuel and energy sources and why. Such as which energy source is used for HIIT, long distance, strength training, running etc

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I am loving learning more about exercise planning as well. I may workout, but i really don’t know much about exercise or exercise planning. Or well i do. I have read and heard about different exercise plans and how you structure up an exercise routine to reach results, but i have never personally tested one myself. I am the type of person who goes to the gym and does what i feel like at the moment and never really pushes myself 100% (unless it is running.). That is of course why i never really reach any results haha – i don’t have the motivation to push myself as hard as it requires. Instead i workout and enjoy it and that is enough for me.

But i do find it inspirational to learn more – and to put the information to use. The course is rather targeted at people who want to be exercise coaches or people who want to work with elite athletes – so for a normal exerciser, some of the training plans aren’t relevant or needed. Of course the plans and structure still work, just in lower doses!

What i love is that the teacher is really pressing on the topic that rest and the right fuel is key for athletes who want to succeed. So many athletes push themselves far too hard and never really recover, instead they just keep working hard and don’t take the time to rest physically and mentally. It is infact when you rest that your body and mind reenergizes and you come back stronger – and at times, even more motivated.

But also that eating right is key to success. Those that don’t eat the right energy and nutrients aren’t giving themselves the best conditions to succeed, and infact it can hinder their recovery time and even how hard/often they can workout if they don’t eat enough (and especially carbohydrates!).

Of course, for a normal exerciser who just works out 2-3 times a week – like a regular person, they will get the rest they need and eat enough fuel. But for people who are working out hard 6-7+ times a week, then they should really prioritize a period of rest and make sure to get enough sleep and food each day to recover properly!

By the end of this term i am hoping to be alot more knowledgable within exercise and exercise nutrition. Even if i don’t plan on writing exercise plans or being a sports coach, i hope that i can use the information and implement it with my health coaching or when working with others. It is good to finally have better information and understanding of exercise and not just “i have tried this and this worked and that didn’t work”!

A very long post… but i know that many like reading about what i learn in school! And when i haven’t blogged in days it all comes spilling out at once!