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Adding a counselling twist to nutrition, empowering others to heal

Written by Endeavour College of Natural Health | Monday, 18 September 2023

future of wellness nutrition

Shafia Jahan works as a mental health nurse and loves her role so much that she has no plans of leaving. But there are two compelling reasons why she wanted to expand her nutrition knowledge.

“In my second year of nursing, I did a mental health clinical placement and spent most of my time sitting in the garden talking with the patients,” Shafia said. “Unlike other areas of nursing, in mental health, you have more opportunity to connect with people.”

In 2006, Shafia joined a new graduate nursing program in Sydney. She later worked at an adolescent mental health unit, in torture and trauma on Nauru and, back in Sydney, at adult inpatient units, forensics, telephone triage services, alcohol and drug services and community mental health. In 2017, she started as a contractor to Defence in mental health intake and risk and case management.

“As a nurse, I recognised a massive gap in mental health care around diet and nutrition. Many people with chronic diseases are tied to their meds, some of which increase their hunger cues. Often no one is paying attention to what they are eating. Many patients do not understand the impact food has on their mental and physical health, or, if they do, they don’t have support to make positive changes.”

Shafia’s growing awareness inspired her to consider further studies, but another factor cemented her path.

“I was a body-building bikini model and competed nationally,” Shafia explained. “To compete, you had to weigh yourself constantly and follow a highly restricted diet. It was a damaging experience, and my self-esteem took a hit.”

Keen to focus more on intuitive eating and a healthy relationship with food and self, Shafia enrolled in a nutrition degree.

“I did my research, and Endeavour has an in-house clinic, which I see as a bonus. It’s also one of the few places recognised by industry associations, and I can highly recommend it. I have no regrets”.

“For anyone thinking about study, do a short course or go to an Open Day and talk with the students and graduates, and you’ll see where this career can take you.”

Shafia’s name means to heal or healer in Egyptian Arabic. It inspired her business name, Empower2Heal Nutrition.

“Empower2Heal is about celebrating health at every size. I want to help people to heal using a non-diet, non-judgmental approach,” she said.

Shafia will continue working as a mental health nurse, and once she’s a qualified clinical nutritionist, she plans to run online clinics on Saturdays.

“I know it will take time to build my nutrition client base, and I want to keep travelling with work, so it’s important to be mobile,” she said.

Her long-term dream is to own a 4WD motorhome and work virtually, helping clients wherever she is and giving back to different Australian communities through workshops and volunteering.

“For me, it’s not about making money. It’s the connection with people that fills my spirit.”

Learn more about nutrition with Endeavour!

How does nutrition affect our overall wellbeing? Find out more through our Bachelor of Health Science (Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine) and range of Nutrition Short Courses.

Endeavour College of Natural Health

Endeavour College of Natural Health is Australia's largest Higher Education provider of natural medicine courses.

The College is known as the centre of excellence for natural medicine and is respected for its internationally recognised academic teams and high calibre graduates. Endeavour offers higher education Diplomas in Health Science and Bachelor of Health Science degrees in Naturopathy, Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine, Acupuncture Therapies and Chinese Medicine.

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