What it's like to be a Nutritionist
There’s no doubting that food and cooking has become a trend of modern society. With new fad diets hitting the headlines and reality cooking shows showcasing luxury ingredients – it's hard to know what foods are good for us.
Enter nutritionist and dietitian Clare Wolski, from The Healthy Eating Hub.
Clare studied a Bachelor of Human Nutrition and a Master of Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Canberra. We caught up with Clare to see what she's been up to since graduating and to find out why nutrition is so important for creating a well-balanced lifestyle.
Tell us about your journey since graduating from UC?
After I had finished all my placements and assessment, I got straight onto the job hunt. It took me a couple of months, but I secured a role as a weight loss consultant for Jenny Craig. Although this wasn’t directly using my degree, it was an opportunity to gain a different set of skills, particularly counselling and motivational interviewing. I continued to keep an eye on the Dietetic jobs and managed to gain a role as a contractor Dietitian with The Healthy Eating Hub. I became very invested in my role at The Healthy Eating Hub and by helping to grow the business I have been able to move to a fulltime position.
What does a typical day involve for you at The Healthy Eating Hub?
Most days are one-on-one consultations with clients. I get to spend most of the day talking to people, which I love. The most common issues I work with are weight management, Type 2 Diabetes management and investigating gastrointestinal issues. I also do a lot of business admin and content development for our newsletter and website.
How has the health industry changed over the years?
Even in the short time that I have been in the health and wellness industry, I have seen an increase in the number and diversity of people who are interested in nutrition and healthy eating. This is great, as our role as dietitians becomes less about convincing people that healthy eating is good and more about making practical changes. I find however, that the increased interest has resulted in huge amounts of inaccurate information which is freely promoted via the internet and social media. As a result, many of my clients feel overwhelmed and confused with what healthy eating really means.
Why is nutrition important? Why should people pay more attention to their health and wellbeing?
There is so much good quality research which demonstrates how eating well and exercising can improve our quality of life now and into the future. While each person’s motivation to eat well (or not) is different, when any of us stop to think about what we want our lives to look like, and how we would like to age, food and nutrition is always a key piece of the puzzle.
What are your tips for creating a well-balanced lifestyle?
Keep it simple!! It’s not what we do on occasions that makes the difference to our health and our wellbeing, but what we do day in, day out. So rather than sweating the small stuff like counting calorie or macros, start by figuring out what habits help you feel consistent with food and how you can swap to more whole foods. When you find a strategy that works well for you, focus on persisting with that. Whether it be packing your lunches for the week, planning your dinners or tracking your alcohol intake. There’s no one right way to eat healthy.
What is your go-to dish when you throw a dinner party?
BBQ and salad. It’s just so simple and straight forward. Or burritos where everyone can help themselves.
What recipes do you think everyone should be able to master?
Salads... wait, hear me out on this one! For so many people salad = boring. Lettuce, tomato, cumber. YAWN! When I think about that for a lunch or dinner I’m not excited. But salads (and all veg sides) can be made so much more interesting by changing up the veg you use or the flavours you add. One of my favourites is a haloumi salad with fried haloumi, red cabbage, capsicum, snow peas, spinach, carrot and a dressing of lemon, honey and oregano. So good!
What is the best thing about being a nutritionist?
I am a big nerd and I have always loved understanding things properly. Understanding the chemistry of food and how it works with your body was my favourite part of my studies. Now, the best part of my day is when I can give that understanding to someone else. I love the feeling when a client walks away saying ‘oh that makes so much more sense now.’
What advice would you give for anyone wanting to pursue a career as a nutritionist?
There is no clear career pathway in the nutrition industry. If you keep pursuing the areas of nutrition that interest you, you may carve out your own career. Sheryl Sandberg’s book (Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead) gave me some of the best career advice, to lean in!
Words by Stephanie Cossetto, images supplied by Clare Wolski
Bachelor of Human Nutrition, Master of Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Canberra (2000)
Clare Wolski studied a Bachelor of Human Nutrition and a Master of Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Canberra. Passionate about the health and wellness industry, she worked as a weight loss consultant for Jenny Craig, before landing her current role as a Nutritionist for The Healthy Hub.
You can connect with Clare via LinkedIn.