Written by Alejandra Toro
MSc Nutrition and Behaviour
Hey everyone, my name is Alejandra and I’m an MSc Nutrition and Behaviour student from Colombia. Throughout the academic year, I have had lots of different projects from my course, from my placement, through the Global Talent Programme or other extra-curricular activities. There is one, in particular, that I will forever remember because it had an outstanding outcome and it changed the way I perceived the world around me, and even helped me to build stronger relationships with my family.
Combining two fields in one project
When I was undertaking “Nutrition, health and psychology” I was very excited because, as you can see, it’s a course that combines two fields I’m highly interested in. We learnt not only about theory but also about how you can really help someone shift their behaviours towards healthy, long-lasting habits. I was faced with a case study of a child whose entire family had weight management problems. The idea was to come up with a nutritional intervention but also a behavioural therapy for the whole family that would actually work.
What I learnt
For the case study, I had to do an extensive literature review about what people are doing to tackle these issues and what is the current best solution. The research abilities you will develop can be applied to any job and transferred to most tasks. Also during this project, I developed critical thinking with a real-life case study that could be applied to my friends, family, or many people I know.
Impact in my life
The boy in the case study was the same age as some of my cousins, and had similar issues. When I was doing my research, I was really motivated to find the best solution that I could also share with my family. Real, down-to-earth tips to shift people’s behaviour are so important. How can you tell a child to stop eating that much chocolate and drinking so much soda if he has done it forever? There are a whole host of interesting ways and I shared them all with my family, which made our bond stronger.
It turns out that, when you do things right, you get rewarded. Unexpectedly, I received an award for being the best student in my course. This award was for more than just my grades; it was due to my positive attitude and motivation to learn and to improve and develop the programme further. When you are studying something you are passionate about, it is so much easier, and if you put your soul into it and do everything with the best attitude, you can have fantastic results. Try not to think about the grade that you will get; do things because you have a genuine passion for them, and you will see how much easier life can be.