Someone in the office recently told me that Loughborough University Students are the happiest in the UK, and this was definitely the case when I interviewed Sophie Enever. As fellow Loughborough alumni, I experienced life on the sport obsessed campus firsthand; a world where you looked out of place not wearing Nike free runners or shaking your blender bottle in the library. Although we all love to relive our care free student days, Loughborough was not the primary topic of our interview. Since graduating Sophie has gone on to become accredited by the Association of Nutrition and bagged a job with The Good Whey Company – a corporation that focuses on the importance of protein in the diet, developing whey protein products and supplements. I was keen to ask Sophie more about her background, her role in the nutrition industry and her advice for those hoping to follow in her trainer-clad footsteps.
How did you get to where you are today, can you tell us about your educational background?
My interest for nutrition was well aligned to my passion for sport and exercise, so when it came to university choices I had quite an easy decision on my hands! I studied Sport and Exercise science at Loughborough University. The interaction of nutrition with both performance but also with healthwas something that I loved to study and so I continued my time at Loughborough and took a Master’s in Sport and Exercise nutrition. Since being at The Good Whey Company I have also gained a postgraduate qualification in Human Nutrition to broaden my knowledge of public health and nutrition.
How did you crack into the competitive nutrition industry?
Well I was fortunate enough that my manager had also undertaken her Master’s degree at Loughborough, doing the same course as I did and so as part of the recruitment process she sent the job advertisement to the department. I saw it and applied and thankfully they picked me!
What is the best part of your job?
I am very much a people’s person, so I do love being out there and talking to our consumers about nutrition, whether this is at a show or giving a talk at a conference. Protein nutrition is especially something that people take for granted so there is always a lot of interesting things to talk about! I must say I have always been a bit of a geek, so I also love to further my knowledge by doing courses or attending conferences. Nutrition is a very dynamic area so it is important to always keep up to date with the latest research.
What is the hardest part?
Finding time to fit everything in! As I just mentioned it is so important to stay on top of all the latest research, but the days aren’t always long enough and sometimes it’s hard to find the time for reading!
As a bit of an expert, why do you think protein is so important to our everyday diet?
Protein is our building block, crucial to every cell in our body, so it sounds pretty important to me! Structurally, it plays a huge role in keeping our bones, muscles, hair and skin healthy but it has the added bonus of playing a role in things like appetite control too.
Working in the nutrition industry, which is the worst food fad you have come across?
To be honest, fad diets are perhaps all as bad as each other! I think the worst bit about them is that they don’t teach people something that, although it may sound cliché, is totally central to healthy eating – everything in moderation!
In your opinion, what is the healthiest way to lose weight?
I think the healthiest way is the most simple – cut down a little on the treats and portion sizes, vamp up the ‘good bits’ (i.e. protein, good fats, wholegrain carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables) and make sure you exercise enough too. The most important thing is to make small and realistic steps that you can, and want to, maintain for life. I think support is always helpful when trying to lose weight so whatever way suits you find a friend to do it with too and motivate each other until you reach your goals.
What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your footsteps and find a job in the nutrition industry?
Never give up on your passion. If you want it, work hard at it and you will succeed – that sounds really simple doesn’t it? I would also say that experience is absolutely vital, so get out there and practise your skills – even if it is just on your family.
I am the first to admit that we are not the healthiest team here on editorial, can you reassure us we are going to be ok by sharing your go-to cheat food?
That’s a tough one, if I’m honest, I have always loved crisps. So thankfully the food industry has recently developed some healthier alternatives that still have a great taste and crunchy texture. I must admit I do love a lamb dhansak on a weekend too!
Whether you want to get qualified as a nutritionist, or simply learn how to improve your own diet, a nutritionist course is a great place to start. With plenty of evening and part-time options available, there has never been an easier way to get your five a day.