Aloise completed a Degree in Marketing, and then did a stint at a big digital marketing firm. Then she decided to head in a completely different direction. We talk to her about her journey to becoming a Nutrition Therapist.
So Aloise, what does a Nutrition Therapist do?
My job is to enhance people’s health and well-being. Things like lowering the level of inflammation in their body, and help them to lose extra weight. Many people don’t realise how the food they eat can affect their health, in either a positive or negative way.
You started a different career path though, can you tell us a little about that?
I was trying to choose between studying Nutrition or Marketing. My dad told me I would never make enough money to live as a Nutritionist and he encouraged me to study marketing. I decided to follow his advice. I studied a Bachelor in Marketing/Management at a Business School. At the end of my studies, I had to find an internship at a company. I wanted to get experience in digital marketing, and I found an internship at Publicis. (Publicis is one of the biggest advertising companies in the world). This was 4 years ago which, at the time, was when digital marketing was really expanding as a profession. I thought it was a great opportunity to get experience in this sector. This would allow me to find a well-paid job to provide financial security.
But you realised something during the internship, what was that?
Well, my 4-month internship ended up being so repetitious. Every week looked the same. It was soooo boring and it wasn’t what I was expecting at all! I also learned I wasn’t made to work in that kind of environment. There are big open workspace, lots of noise, boring repetitive tasks, sitting 8 hours per day at a desk. It was a good opportunity because it provided financial security but it wasn’t my true area of interest. I realised I didn’t want to turn my back on nutrition and that I wanted to pursue that passion instead.
Was it a difficult conversation telling your parents you had changed your mind?
At the start, my Dad couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to get a job in my field of study. I had to explain, many times, why I wasn’t feeling fulfilled following that kind of career. My Mum always supported me. Eventually, my Dad understood that I’d never be happy if I wasn’t doing what I was truly driven to do.
And so what prompted you to pursue a complementary therapy like nutrition?
I’ve always had an interest in nutrition and the different natural ways to heal the body. At home, my stepfather was very interested in natural therapies. So there were many books and magazines on the subject around the house. I spent hours reading as much as I could. I was so passionate about learning how to heal the body in a natural way.
What is it about this type of work that you love?
I love seeing people’s health and minds improve. It’s very rewarding to give someone the tools to naturally maintain great health. The challenges are to keep on motivating clients to stop their unhealthy addictions. Sometimes they fall off the wagon and I have to find the right words to get them back on track to stay motivated.
So what would you say the vital hard and soft skills are for being a Nutrition Therapist?
Asking the right questions for clients to feel comfortable to open up and talk. Being a good listener to try to understand a client’s life story and how they’ve gotten to where they are now. A good attitude is super helpful too. I’m positive about every little progress a client makes to help motivate them. Sometimes it may seem insignificant but every bit of encouragement counts.
I have a diploma in Nutrition Therapy, so it’s essential to know about anatomy and physiology. Also, the impact of diet and supplements on the body. This helps me to solve nutritional problems to improve and maintain their health.
Thinking about your school days, what life skills did you start to develop then that you now use?
My degree in marketing wasn’t a waste. It taught me skills such as basic accounting, as well as how to create and manage a small business. When I was a student, I worked in a restaurant which helped me understand the value of money. It also gave me good communication skills, as well as learning how to work as part of a team. I also worked as a kitesurf instructor when I was living in Portugal. The job was super hard and physically demanding. It showed me that I was physically and mentally strong enough to achieve anything in life. It also showed me that girls are equal to men and can do extreme sports or a ‘man’s job’ if they want.
What sort of other interests and passions do you have?
I am passionate about any kind of natural therapy. I love the idea that you can heal the body through a holistic perspective. So balancing our environment. Or finding the root cause of a problem, and being able to avoid taking medication where possible.
What advice would you give to someone to improve their career prospects in complementary therapies?
Be curious about everything and keep on reading books on different complementary therapies. I have learned so much about complementary therapies from my own curiosity.
Is there anything else you want to add that I haven’t asked about?
If you’re not sure which career path you want to take, start by looking at your interests and passions. Whether it’s sports, something you like to read about or talk about. There is nothing that isn’t a good career idea! And if you change your mind at the end of your study like me, it’s never too late to take another direction. Avoid choosing a career path to make your family proud of you. Instead, choose a path because you enjoy it and are good at it.