What kind of Nutritionist are you?
My practice focuses on Intuitive Eating which is a non-diet approach to health and wellbeing. It allows people to ditch the diet and any emotional baggage around food and build a non-batshit relationship with food. The central premise of Intuitive Eating is learning to understand and recognise internal hunger and satiety cues; but there’s a lot of unlearning old food rules that has to happen before you can relearn how to eat. Intuitive Eating is an iterative process that takes time and challenges you, but ultimately leads you to feel less crazy around food. It’s also about learning to enjoy food, accepting your body, and embracing activity just for the fun of it.
What training do you have?
I have a BSc in Health Sciences (Human Health and Nutrition) from the University of Aberdeen, a PhD in Nutritional Sciences from Texas A&M University, and I did my postdoctoral training at Cornell University in Community Nutrition. My research was in two primary areas 1) the gut microbiome and 2) psychosocial behaviour change theory. I am a fully Registered Nutritionist with the Association for Nutrition. I also do regular continuing professional development in the areas of Intuitive Eating, Health at Every Size, Well Now, body image healing and related non-diet approaches.
What’s a registered nutritionist and how is it different from a dietitian or a nutritional therapist?
The Association for Nutrition details the differences at length on their website, but essentially registered dietitians work with clinically ill people – people who have a diagnosis whereby they need nutritional management of their disease. Registered nutritionists practice nutrition in otherwise healthy people who need some help and guidance to make sure their diets are as healthy as possible. Both use evidence based practice – i.e. they look at the scientific literature and scientific consensus as a basis for their advice and recommendations. Registered nutritionists and dietitians both have to be trained to at least degree level (many have an MSc or PhD). Nutritional Therapists do not necessarily use evidence-based practice, and don’t go to university for their qualifications (some people even do it online!).
What if I want to study nutrition, are there any courses you recommend?
If you’d like to become a Registered Nutritionist or Dietitian then you have to go through an accredited degree programme at a university. These are the only types of courses guaranteed to be evidence based and held to high accreditation, ethical, and continuing professional development standards. I don’t recommend online or part time courses or certificates in nutritional therapy because there’s no guarantee that these courses will be evidence based and in my experience they use questionable science . Check out the Association for Nutrition and British Dietetic Association list of approved courses.
If you want to learn more about nutrition just for fun then the Open University has a free nutrition module and you can do free online evidence based courses through MOOCs like University of Aberdeen and Stanford. If you already have a science background then I recommend getting your hands on a good quality text book like one produced by the Nutrition Society.
Do you have any advice for people starting a podcast?
I do! Always remember to turn the mic on (I use a Shure). I record over Skype using ECamm Recorder and edit in GarageBand. I level sound (poorly) in Auphonics and host using LibSyn. Other than that, I have no idea what I’m doing.
CAN YOU HELP ME WITH MY NUTRITION/HEALTH STUFF?
Unfortunately I’m not taking on any new clients currently but members of my team are; head to the London Centre for Intuitive Eating page to learn more and book in for a free 15 minute discovery call.
Can I sponsor your podcast?
I’m totally down with brand collaborations so long as your brand vibes with mine. I will never, ever promote weight loss aids, juice cleanses, supplements, or anything that I would not personally use. If you’re a cool brand and you wanna make sweet content together then get in touch: hello(at)laurathomasphd.co.uk.