Want a work-life balance? Discover a career in nutritional therapy

Photo ©2020 Cj Swaby Olga Hamilton, a registered nutritional therapist who studied at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition
Photo ©2020 Cj Swaby Olga Hamilton, a registered nutritional therapist who studied at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition

Holding down a full-time nine to five whilst juggling family life is a challenge to say the least.

According to a study of 2,000 mums and dads, keeping the kids entertained, cooking meals and clearing up after the family meant they didn’t get to sit down and unwind until 8.39pm.

Luckily, there is a career that allows you to balance work and play, as well as providing you with the tools to support the health of your loved ones. Enter, nutritional therapy.

What is nutritional therapy?

Nutritional therapy is classed as a complementary medicine. The main focus is on treating the underlying causes of ill-health, rather than simply addressing symptoms. 

Nutritional therapists look to provide personalised support to clients, rather than a one-size-fits-all-approach. They help people from all walks of life who don’t know what they should eat, are confused by all the recommended diets, suffer from particular health issues, or simply want to support their general wellbeing.

Nutritional therapists don’t just work one-to-one with clients either. Some go on to write books, contribute to magazines, appear on TV, host wellbeing retreats, develop products and work as experts supporting organisations.

Olga Hamilton, a registered nutritional therapist who studied at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition (ION) based in Richmond, said: “My favourite thing about my job is the diversity…there is no typical day for me. My schedule can be really crazy and in one day, I can be presenting in front of 100 people, running to clinic to see a client or having strategy and planning meetings with a company.”

Meanwhile, Nicola Moore, another ION graduate, is able to structure her working schedule around her family. “On clinic days, which tend to be three days a week, I’ll work with a couple of clients in the morning, then a couple more after lunch before picking up my children from school,” she says.

Support loved ones with their health and wellbeing

As well as being able to enjoy a more flexible career, studying nutritional therapy arms you with the knowledge to support family or friends who are experiencing health concerns.

Sue Bosket, a student at ION, said: “I wanted to give my children the best start in life. I started looking at healthy meals for them and I found my creativity with food and nutrition started to flow.”

Virginia Blake, registered nutritional therapist and ION graduate, had a similar story of helping her partner.

“I decided to increase my knowledge and skill level in order to help my husband who has lived with an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) since childhood,” she explains. “My husband and I implemented specific nutritional changes through a personalised programme… from this he was able to come off all drugs and move his IBD into remission.”

How to train to become a nutritional therapist

There are a number of nutritional therapy courses available in the UK, but in order to become a registered nutritional therapist and join BANT, the professional body for nutritional therapy, you will need to complete an undergraduate degree on an NTEC accredited course.

NTEC accreditation means that the course is accredited against the National Occupational Standards for nutritional therapy.

Founded in 1984, the Institute for Optimum Nutrition has been training nutritional therapists for more than 35 years.

The BSc (Hons) Nutritional Therapy is dual-accredited by NTEC and the British Accreditation Council (BAC), and validated by the University of Portsmouth, a TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework) gold rated university.

Importantly, the qualification is part-time, with both distance and campus learning options available, allowing you to balance education with work and family life.

Sue Boskett said: “I found that the flexibility with the courses at ION really suited my lifestyle, especially still being a parent with small children at home and with other commitments.”

To find out more about a flexible and rewarding career as a nutritional therapist, visit ION’s website.

Photo Credit:  Cj Swaby.    

Insta: @cjswabyphotography

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