Magdalena Marvel, 40, founder of Persea Clinic, spent over a decade working in television broadcasting.
But aged 33, the stress started to take its toll. She began to feel unhappy and fatigued, experiencing continual mood swings and overwhelm. Prior to this, she had suffered from an eating disorder as a teenager, which had left her with weight fluctuation, anxieties and IBS.
Marvel realised that something needed to be done to bring her body and mind back to a healthy balance.
“I remember visiting the gym one time and seeing a sign inviting people to book a consultation with a nutritional therapist,” she explains. “At this point I was already interested in moving to a career in health, but I didn’t know where to start. I contacted the nutritional therapist and booked a 15-minute free chat with her.
Here, she says, was when her journey into nutritional therapy started.
“It helped me to understand the possible triggers of my health concerns and how to use nutrient dense food as a tool to support a healthy balance in my body and take control of my persisting symptoms.”
With a newfound purpose, Marvel enrolled onto a nutritional therapy course at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition (ION) in London, whilst still working part-time in television. Having also become a first-time mum during her studies, she graduated in 2018 and has since been running her own private clinic.
“What I love about my job is the fulfilment and satisfaction I get from supporting and helping others to achieve their goals,” she says.
“In my previous career I was mostly facilitating; I didn’t feel like I was helping anyone or making anyone’s life better. Now, receiving feedback from clients saying that there was even the slightest improvement in their symptoms is the most amazing feeling in the world!”
What is nutritional therapy?
Nutritional therapy is classed as a complimentary medicine and focuses on treating the underlying causes of ill-health, rather than just addressing symptoms.
Registered nutritional therapy practitioners apply a science-based approach, using nutrition, to promote individual health. They may use a wide range of tools, such as testing for individual nutrient status, to assess and identify potential nutritional imbalances and to understand how these may contribute to an individual’s symptoms and health concerns.
Studying nutritional therapy
If people have been through their own health issues, like Marvel, this can inspire them to go on to learn more and study to become a nutritional therapist themselves.
Because the term is not protected in law, anyone can call themselves a nutritional therapist. However, practitioners who have undertaken accredited training can register with the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) to become a registered nutritional therapist, and can also register with the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT).
At ION, the BSc (Hons) Nutritional Therapy enables all graduates to become registered nutritional therapists.
A degree course may seem daunting, but ION’s BSc (Hons) is part-time, with online study options available. This allows you to balance education with other commitments.
Although she describes the course as “demanding”, Marvel now enjoys a more flexible career that also encompasses skills spent from her time in television.
“Nutritional therapy grants me the flexibility to run a clinic around my family life and other commitments,” she says. “Due to the broadness of the industry I have been able to use my previous skills gained in media to write articles for different magazines around nutrition and health.”
But for her, the best part of being a nutritional therapist is the diversity of the job.
“We are all different people with different lifestyles, eating habits and genetic predispositions. This makes my job super exciting as each consultation is different and brings new challenges for me to research. It never gets boring!”
Find out more about studying to become a nutritional therapist
About the author
Paula Werrett is a Registered Nutritional Therapist & Head of Undergraduate Provision at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition
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