- Rachel Fletcher
Why I became an Nutritionist
Since childhood, all I ever wanted to do was become a police officer and I had a successful 19 year career doing just that. I’d had a variety of roles and upon leaving, was a busy Detective Inspector. So why leave….? To quote the title of About the Adventure’s podcast interview with me; ‘sometimes things change and you take a different path’.
I’d experienced an extremely tough few years after my husband was diagnosed with a terminal illness, and after he died in 2016, I struggled getting back into my job. It was a stressful role, with long hours and a ton of responsibility and my priorities had changed. After months of internal debate, I eventually resigned and went straight into another job at my local council. Whilst I enjoyed the challenge of something new and meeting new people, the nagging doubt that this wasn’t the right career for me kept growing. I’d previously completed a Level 2 nutrition course and enjoyed it. I was becoming more and more interested in the role of nutrition in our overall health and wellbeing. Plus, as an avid gym goer, I was keen to learn more about how diet can impact performance. I was already following a lot of health and wellbeing accounts on social media and wondered how much of their advice was actually correct.
As this point I started researching nutrition qualifications. Well, let me say there are a TON
out there, from quick online courses to full degrees. I didn’t really know what to do for the best and reached out via social media to the lovely Rhiannon Lambert (@Rhitrition on Instagram, www.rhitrition.com) who advised me to look for courses accredited by the Association for Nutrition (AfN). It was here that I saw the BSc at Sheffield Hallam Uni. I rang to find out more and within about 10 mins, I’d been offered a place. This took me by surprise and I didn’t know what to do. Generally speaking I’m a planner, a lover of ‘to do’ lists and take my time to make big decisions. I only had a few days to make this one. To use another quote form my podcast interview; ‘I knew if I didn’t do it I’d regret it’. Cue 3ish years (thanks COVID) of commuting from Derby to Sheffield to become a very mature student !
So why give up an established career to study full time, with no job security afterwards ? I realised that doing an online or quick part-time nutrition course wasn’t enough. Yes, it would give me the basics but not nearly enough to provide good quality, individually tailored advice to clients. For me, that’s so important. You’re worth more than some generic advice. Worth more than being sold some restrictive, fad diet plan or supplements. I wanted to be credible and provide evidence-based advice. I wanted to do a course accredited by the AfN as I knew it would be give me that. Now being a Registered Associate Nutritionist with the AfN, I am bound by a standard of ethics, conduct and performance. This is incredibly important to me because right now, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. Yes, even people who’ve done a weekend course, as the title isn’t legally protected. Yet…. I’m hopeful this will change and only those who are registered, will be able to use the title, making it easier for people to know who they can trust with nutrition advice. In the meantime, always look for a nutritionist with the letters ANutr or RNutr after their name. You can also search for the register on the AfN website (https://www.associationfornutrition.org/). I’m there; registrant 27201.
You can find out more and listen to my podcast interview with About the Adventure here: https://www.abouttheadventure.com/post/rachel-fletcher