My university program – health promotion – studying nutrition triggering? Calories, “healthy food”, “unhealthy food”

What are you studying? How long is the program?

I am studying a bachelors i.e 3 years, called health promotion with focus on nutrition 🙂

Would you recommend the program you are studying? What’s the best and worst with the program?

If you are someone who is interested in nutrition but also in overall health then yes i would recommend this program 🙂 The main focus is nutrition, but we talk alot about overall health and we will even be having coaching classes on how to talk and coach clients in the right way. I.e inspire and help and not make clients feel guilty or make them feel like they “have to”.

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I hadn’t originally thought i would go this program, instead i was focused on going the dietician program however the acceptance points are very high and only about 20 people are accepted each year. I did get accepted to the dietician program in another part of Sweden however it was too far away and i didn’t feel like packing my bags and moving to yet another part of Sweden, so instead i stayed in Gothenburg where i am studying now.

The difference between health promotion and the dietician program is that with the program i am studying we are focusing on healthy people. Helping healthy people and preventing them from ending up with different nutrition related illnesses… whereas dieticians usually work clinically and work with helping sick people get better. Of course i am sure health coaches can work with sick people and dieticians can work with healthy people 🙂 There is also the difference that dietitians will have a registrered license whereas i won’t…. i.e when i get my bachelors i won’t be a registered dietician, instead i will just be a “health coach” or something similar… thought i don’t feel like calling myself a health coach because there are so many people who do a 2 week online course and then call themselves a health coach, and that sort of bothers me.

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The program i study is alot more open and there are many things you can end up working with once you are done… or you could study another few years and specifically study something and have more of a direction/focus. I think in the future i might take courses about business, sale, psychology/behaviour and some about exercise.

I want to work with maybe my own brand/business and help with overall health, so then doing extra courses will be beneficial, though i might just do them evening time or part time while i work…. who knows!

There are so many different nutrition programs to study now a days… dietician, diet consultants (i.e kostvetare, who can work in schools/businesses and work with creating meals and meal plans for big companies or for many people such as schools), public health “scientist” , health promotion/health coach etc etc If you are interested in nutrition and know it is a passion of yours, there are many routes and different programs to study…. maybe you are very passionate about climate and nutrition, then you can choose a program or courses which are more focused on that. Maybe you are mostly interested in exercise but want the nutrition part as well, then there are courses for that. Maybe you are interested in working with elderly or children or working with prevention of illness or maybe working with patients who are already ill….

Also note, i know many who have or have had an eating disorder end up studying nutrition because they are so focused on food, nutrition, calories but then after a while realise they aren’t even passionate about nutrition or learning about nutrition, instead it was just their eating disorder controlling them and making them obsessed with food, so PLEASE be aware of this. If you have an eating disorder i wouldn’t recommend studying nutrition UNTIL you are healthy, mentally and physically, both because when you are sick you are so focused on food and numbers and you don’t need even more focus on it when you can spend 8-10 hours just focusing on nutrition/food/calories with your studies. But also because you WILL talk about calories, “healthy food” vs “unhealthy food”, and also do things such as 3 day food journals, 24 hour recalls and in some cases even a week of tracking what you eat and then do an analysis of that. As well as in my course we had to do 3 days where we tried a “fad diet” and then wrote an essay about that from our experiences and thoughts.

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If you can’t learn about nutrition in a balanced way and not be triggered, i.e yes you talk about that eating chocolate is worse – nutritionally – than eating an apple. But there is SO MUCH more than that. I.e sometimes you just need chocolate to satisfy your cravings, sometimes eating chocolate is the healthiest thing for you mentally etc etc So even if you talk about calories and learn about “how you should eat” you also have to be rational and realise that there is so much more than just the guidelines, portion sizes and recommendations… You learn about all those things but you can’t be too impacted or triggered by it. I.e you learn about sugar and saturated fat, how it is absorbed and broken down and used in your body and you learn about the recommendations and why there are recommendations, but at the end of the day you have to still be ok with eating food with sugar and saturated fat…. even if yes, it should be limited. But if you get too triggered to the point where you get scared of food or learning about nutrition, talking about calories etc is negative, then i wouldn’t recommend studying nutrition.

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I excuse the long post, but it is something i want all my followers who have, or have had an eating disorder to be aware about. But also ask yourself, WHY you want to study nutrition and make sure it isnt your eating disorder or past eating disorder controlling you!