Open Universities Australia offers a Bachelor of Food and Nutrition through La Trobe University, so we thought we’d track down a real-life nutritionist and ask them a few questions about their career.
So, please meet Zana Glamuzina.
Thanks for your time Zana. What are your qualifications as a nutritionist?
I have a Bachelor of Science with a double major in Human Nutrition and Exercise Sports Science.
Where are you working?
I work at Goodlife Health Club in Prahran, Melbourne.
How does your working day usually start, and continue?
I have clients mainly before and after office hours, where I do one-on-one consultations. Throughout the day, I am either writing plans, answering emails and questions from clients, carrying out research in regards to client consults, or studying and upskilling in specific areas of interest.
As a nutritionist, what do most of your clients ask for advice about?
What to eat, how much and how often. People love creative ideas and thrive on being told what to do. The easier, the better; the less they have to think the happier they are.
Is it important to combine nutrition with exercise and a healthy lifestyle?
Oh, 100%. A healthy lifestyle consists of good nutrition and exercise. I have a background in Personal Training which complements my nutritional services and allows me to tailor both to my clients. I see great success with clients who participate in daily activity alongside my nutritional plans.
Which qualities do you think make for a good nutritionist?
Someone who is a great listener, shows empathy, is organised and has patience. With health and nutrition, everybody has an opinion and everyone knows something, so as a nutritionist it’s important to guide people correctly. Also understanding that sometimes you may not be the best fit for an individual and learning to outsource other practitioners to work with is necessary to get the best results for your clients.
Which qualities do you think are an indicator that being a nutritionist might not suit you?
If you struggle to communicate with people or find it challenging to talk to people on an individual level. People are often going to talk to you about things they may find embarrassing, so it’s important to be able to relate and make people feel at ease when they are with you.
Can you suggest any blogs, social pages or websites for nutrition students to keep up to date on news & discussions?
My personal favourite is Dr Libby. She is a mentor for me when it comes to nutrition.
Jessica Sepel is a blogger/Instagrammer who has recently brought out a book with great recipes.
I think it is important with blogger/Instagram accounts that the source has a sound background in health studies. With all researching, it is important to be objective; never believe things you read straight away, and always research and question your findings.
What are the three things that a good nutritionist needs, that you don’t get from school?
- One-on-one practical application with clients, to see if you can put what you have learnt into practice.Alternative thinking – university teaches us to think on a population level which is beneficial when working for large organisations. But that can be different when working one-on-one.
- There are other services that will complement your university learning, so always look to how you can become a well-rounded nutritionist. For example look at courses in stress management, meditation, fitness, cooking and time management so you can use these to teach the necessary skills to help your clients build a healthy lifestyle.
What is your number one piece of advice?
A great nutritionist needs to be able to help a variety of clients, so never stop the learning process and always be open to ideas and concepts.
And what advice would you give people currently studying – or looking to study Food and Nutrition?
Practise what you preach. The best way to learn is to do. If you are in the middle or looking to start studying nutrition, then research how you can get yourself as healthy as possible. The more you learn practically, the more confident you will become when you step in to the industry. Try to seek out a mentor and start learning now.