Head of School of Nutrition - Anne-Marie O'Shea
"The best piece of advice that I've received is that the greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one. There is no right path in life, just the path you choose. It is your approach to that path that makes it 'right'."
"Professionally speaking my greatest achievement is the development of Future Fit's School of Nutrition, a specialist area of nutrition expertise. I am really proud of what it offers our students in terms of both courses and resources. On a personal level, I enjoy continuously challenging myself. Over the past year I have learnt to swim, to dance the Argentine tango and to play the violin. Life just isn't interesting unless I am learning something new."
Anne-Marie has been interested in the relationship between food and health from a young age, so studying for a degree in nutrition seemed a natural choice. Since graduating she has worked in the food industry and has also run a lunch club for adults with learning disabilities. She has a varied job role with Future Fit, which includes developing courses, writing articles and supporting students with their learning.
I am interested in obesity and the factors that contribute to it at both an individual and population level - how we can enable individuals to adopt better habits and also how at a population level we can create a society where eating healthily and being active is the norm. A lot of responsibility is placed on the shoulders of the individual to exercise willpower. However, 50 years ago people didn't have more willpower than they do today. They just had much less access to energy-dense processed food and more active occupations.
Dieting can encourage a negative mindset towards food, where eating is about counting calories and trying to achieve unrealistic goals that leave individuals swinging from periods of strict deprivation to unhealthy excesses. When helping an individual improve their diet it is as much about reversing that mindset as it is about educating them on the principles of healthy eating. There are an endless number of diets on the market and the crucial question isn't so much whether they work but how long you can stick to it. It is far more helpful to encourage individuals to take gradual steps to improve the overall quality of their diet.
I'm not good with heights. I spent a recent trip on the London Eye in a huddle on the floor with my eyes closed!