Interview with the Dietitian

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Picture a busy train station in the Big Smoke on Leap Day. It is rush hour and two people brought together by social media meet face to face. Nichola Whitehead and I found each other on Twitter a few weeks ago. We have been in communication via email, setting up guest posts for each other’s websites. She is a registered dietitian working for the NHS near Leeds and founder of When we finally meet, I take the opportunity to ask my fellow entrepreneur a few questions.

Mollie (MM): Where does your passion for food come from?
Nic (NW): Growing up, I had bad skin and so began researching foods that could to help control it. My parents aren’t big into cooking, but a Gillian McKeith appearance on TV inspired me *shameful face*. I strongly believe in the power of food to treat and prevent disease.

MM: Don’t worry, I wanted to be a marine biologist because of ‘Jaws 3. Did you always want to be a dietitian?
NW: No, not at all! I started at Loughborough University reading Sport & Exercise Science and in year 2 decided that my passion lay in nutrition (in particular sports nutrition). I never thought about working in a clinical setting but am really enjoying working in the NHS I feel it provides a fantastic learning platform. You need basic clinical knowledge to give tailored advice to clients.

MM: You are quite slender. Do you exercise?
NW: I did gain a stone at uni and it took me a year to take it off. Now I do a ‘toning’ fitness dvd 1-2 times per week and a 20 minute run or cardio dvd once a week. So 1-3 times per week I exercise. I mostly watch what I eat and try to keep active in my day-to-day life.

MM: What are the misconceptions about food that bother you the most?
NW: That some foods are good and some foods are bad! It isn’t about evil-izing food. If you eat the right amounts of the right foods and don’t ban yourself from foods you love, you will be fine.

MM: If you could have someone take one thing away from your website, what would that be?
NW: That people should enjoy their food and see it as a tool that can improve their health. The key is the 80:20 rule - be good 80% of the time and indulge 20%. With that rule you can keep slim for life.

MM: I love that rule! I have to limit myself to less than 200 calories from chocolate a day.
NW: Oh! Well that is good to limit it.

MM: Well usually it ends up being 106 calories, with a snack-sized Kit Kat. What go-to snacks to recommend people to keep on hand?
NW: That sounds like a well portioned treat to have! I like to encourage fresh and dried fruit, oat cakes, hummus and carrot sticks and olives.

MM: What do you snack on?
NW: Ermmm, fresh and dried fruit, oat cakes, hummus & carrot sticks, olives, (and erm the odd biscuit, chocolate and flapjack!!).

MM: Are carbs really that bad?
NW: No, carbs are wonderful! We should have carbs (preferably whole grains) at every meal to provide energy for work and play.

MM: What is the one thing you would recommend to people to change in their diet that would have a big impact?
NW: I would say that everyone should have regular meals to avoid the body going into starvation mode. Regular meals are so important to maintain a good metabolism and are key to healthy eating and weight loss.

MM: What are your hopes and goals for Nic’s
NW: I just want to spread the word that good nutrition is achievable and can offer fantastic health benefits!

MM: You mentioned you have a boyfriend. Did you propose today?
NW: NO! That’s a boy’s job ;)


  1. I will try to stick to the rule 80:20.. Good to know!

    1. FYI :)


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