Unhappy in your day job and interested in becoming a certified health coach? December 31 2014, 0 Comments

I get a number of questions about the course I've been studying this year. Many of you may have already heard of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). If not, you're likely to have heard of graduates that include Pete Evans, Sarah Wilson, Jess Ainscough, Miranda Kerr and Melissa Ambrosini just to name a few. I must admit prior to signing up smack bang on a year ago the only person I knew who had studied at IIN was the lovely Claire Obeid. I actually wanted to start a blog and started googling to see if a domain name was available and came across Claire, who was practising as a health coach after studying at IIN. It turned out a friend was also participating in her Freedom Project at the same time and raving about it. So my journey with IIN began. 

At first glance IIN looked like a fabulous coaching course and had a wonderful energy about it. I emailed the details to a school teacher friend who was interested in wellness and was feeling burnt out from teaching. But little signs about IIN kept popping up for me and I began to take notice. The signs weren't for any of my friends, they were for me!

I have a background spanning over a decade working as an occupational therapist specialising in stroke and neurology. I had what I call a spiritual awakening in July 2013, which opened my eyes to the cause of my own dwindling health and burn out from working in traditional health care settings. During my awakening I had many truths revealed that we (humans) are slowly killing ourselves (and Mother Earth) faster than we are finding cures for our illnesses and solutions to our destruction. With chronic health conditions on the rise, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease and stroke I realised there must be much more to it than my 30-odd years on the planet had led me to believe. The science available didn't seem to cut it. The statistics showed we were getting sicker and sicker. But why?

After my awakening things became crystal clear. Health and wellness is about nurturing the body, mind AND spirit. It didn't matter who had told me that before, I couldn't see it clearly for myself until last year. Even in my university education, spirituality and the environment underpinned some of the occupational therapy theory, yet I really wasn't connecting the dots enough with my patients (or myself). I felt something was missing. You see I believe we are all made up of energy and that the spiritual and body-mind connection is more often than not, overlooked in main stream medicine. I believe that the chemical filled products we put on our skin, the overly processed and preservative, pesticide loaded food we eat, our previous traumas, blocked chakras and high levels of stress are ruining us (that is just a start). I believe for many of us we are searching for a quick fix without looking deeply at the root cause of our problems. So many of us don't want to look within and heal ourselves as this takes strength and inner work. We get misguided by the media and rush to take the latest pill or surgery that offers to cure all. 

In the six months leading up to my awakening I did a 28 day yoga challenge that incorporated dietary changes while practising yoga daily. I ate a predominantly raw and plant based diet and was initiated into the big green world of smoothies! I felt amazing. I knew nutrition was a part of the holistic health puzzle but the penny hadn't dropped as to the extent that food really is medicine. It was after this challenge that it became a little clearer that my diet actually wasn't as good as I thought. Being a health professional, this shocked me. I pondered if I'm not really looking after myself very well, what about those who don't work in health? I felt I had nothing to lose by studying at IIN and everything to gain. Knowledge is power and I wanted to add to my tool kit.

"The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison" Ann Wigmore

So why IIN?

IIN is a 12 month online course that covers all of the things I believe to be absolutely essential to our happiness, healing and wellness. IIN consider nutrition or food to be so much more than what we eat. It looks at other areas that need to nourish us. While IIN covers a number of dietary theories, it has a strong focus on the primary foods of relationships, career, exercise and spirituality. The premise is if any of our 'primary' foods are out of alignment, it doesn't really matter what you eat, poor health will creep right on in. IIN seemed the perfect fit for me, as despite studying physiology and anatomy, I really had minimal knowledge of nutrition (other than the health pyramids of the past or the current Australian Guide to Healthy Eating which in my opinion needs an overhaul). This seemed mad to me to think most health professionals (people CARING for the un-well), including doctors, receive no-minimal training on nutrition, not even the basics. No wonder the food provided in hospitals is ghastly!

What is a health coach?

A holistic health coach is a guide and mentor to better health and happiness. Working with a coach allows you to address desires and goals around relationships, career, finances, exercise, spirituality and diet. A health coach empowers you to tap into your own body and work through blocks that may be holding you back in a number of areas using a variety of strategies and coaching skills. A health coach does NOT provide diagnoses, prognoses or prescribe medication for any health conditions and is NOT a replacement for a psychologist, nutritionist, dietitian, naturopath, doctor or any other health professional. The course covers the ethical requirement of referring on where indicated if the client's issues are outside the scope of the coaches expertise. Health coaches collaborate and work with other health professionals and a large component of the work involves listening and coaching the client to find their own solutions to their health and happiness struggles. A health coach is a motivator, an accountability pro, a listening ear and a cheerleader to help you get to where you want to go! 

What does IIN cover?

IIN covers over 100 dietary theories, provides you with practical coaching and counselling skills (way more effective than I learned in my undergraduate degree and super helpful for real life relationships). It equips you with the skills to become a health coach (if you wish) and you receive a certificate stating that you are a Certified Holistic Health Coach. There is a proportion of the course that covers basic business skills to help you set up your own business, prepare workshops and e-courses to help you spread your wellness message and transform the lives of others. This component covers social media, marketing and growing your list. You can access a copy of the full curriculum here.  

Highlights?

Without a doubt the amazing community of like minded souls that I have met through IIN. From that first overwhelm logging into the Facebook groups when the course started in February this year - I have been blown away by the beautiful souls all across the world who want to heal themselves and guide others to heal and lead healthier, happier lives. 

The IIN conference in Sydney in March this year. Joshua Rosenthal came out to Australia to lead a day long IIN conference. This was key in meeting other IIN-ers and the energy in that ballroom at the Westin was INCREDIBLE!!! We heard inspiring stories of how IIN had changed students and graduates, the success stories of where IIN had taken people. The highlight was hearing Pete Evans tell his cute bunny story and seeing a very different side to him than just a celebrity chef from MKR. We had other activities planned across the weekend and I made life long friends that weekend.

The confirmation and reassurance that I am not so weird, nor am I alone in my thinking or beliefs about health. I've found so much clarity amidst such mixed messages in the media about diet and nutrition and learned to really notice how my body is feeling and respond to that whether that be with food, more rest, meditation or down time. My spiritual practice has continued to evolve and my general health has improved dramatically. I feel more energetic, less stressed and clearer about where I am heading in life.

Flexible payment plans. From monthly payment plans to discounted rates for paying up front, there is an option to suit any budget.

Excellent support. There are monthly coaching calls with other students led by a previous graduate of the course. These are extremely beneficial and attendance at a number of these is a requirement of the course. There are a number of Facebook groups (International, National and State based) to provide support throughout the year and a place to connect.

Lowlights?

For me personally, I can't really name any. By nature I am optimistic and always try to see the good and positive. The modules aren't too lengthy, you can knock them over anywhere between 2-4 hours per week (unless you want to dig deeper and read further on the topics). There are plenty of prompts to stay on track. I love that you can listen on your phone or iPad anywhere. For me there was plenty of nutritional content as my interest really lies in the primary foods of relationships, career, exercise and spirituality - specifically yoga and meditation! If I had to state one negative it would be that the business and marketing content was repetitive as I had completed Marie Forleo's B School earlier in the year. This was no fault of IIN however. One other thing to note, some content is American centric in terms of the food industry and government, however still applicable in general terms in Australia.

How is the content delivered?

IIN is an online course delivered via an app with a range of audio, video and slideshow material. The content is taught by leading experts in the field of nutrition, health and wellness, counselling, relationships, business and marketing. Some of my favourite contributors to the program include David Wolfe, Dr Mark Hyman, Dr Frank Lipman, Dr Andrew Weill, Dr Deepak Chopra, Gabrielle Bernstein, Christine Hassler and Dr Harville Hendrix.

Who else studies at IIN?

IIN tends to attract people of all ages and from all kinds of backgrounds ranging from yoga teachers, pharmacists, corporates, stay at home mums, teachers, other healers, psychologists and nurses. There is even an incredible truck driver in my intake keen to improve the health of fellow truckies!

How do I really know if it is for me?

Take a deep breath in and slowly exhale. Notice what you feel. Does the course keep popping into your life in different ways, do you feel drawn to it? Have you done your research and still feel tempted to sign up? Go with your gut. It won't let you down. I can help you a little more...

It's a NO: 

If you're looking for an in depth nutrition course then this isn't the course for you. IIN doesn't pretend to be either. If you're unsure do more research. Have a chat with one of the staff in the New York or Sydney office.

It's a YES or maybe:

If you're interested in becoming a health coach, passionate about food, health and wellness or perhaps you aren't sure what you want to do but know it's in the area of wellness. IIN will help clarify this for you. IIN has been the platform for so many successful entrepreneurs from people starting businesses selling raw treats to graduates writing books and becoming professional speakers. The inspiration and life skills you gain from IIN is incredible!

In a nut shell IIN was:

The biggest roller coaster and transformational experience. It has challenged me in ways I never imagined. I have looked at every aspect of my life, my fears and doubts, taken more notice of my impact on the environment, my lifestyle choices, my relationships, my 'bad' habits and idiosyncrasies. It has challenged me to grow and question my old way of living. I see IIN as a course in personal growth and can see how everyone could benefit from the learnings.

If you're looking for a holistic health course that complements your previous education, skills and knowledge base, wish to improve your own health, are passionate about personal growth and transformation (or that of your families) then do not hesitate! Jump right IIN!

If you want to read more reviews of IIN by other graduates I've found Sarah Wilson's, Alice Nicholl's from The Whole Daily and Melissa Ambrosini's all objective, interesting perspectives and anticipate they will fill in any gaps I may have missed.

Currently IIN are offering massive savings* off tuition fees and have extremely flexible payment plans available if you sign up before 31st December 4pm (New York - EST). Want to sample a class click on the image below.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions at simone@yogamona.com.au or you can contact Sheridan.Buchanan@integrativenutrition.com to discuss the program.

*I'm an ambassador for IIN because I can put my hand on my heart and say it is a life changing course, whether you want to be a coach or not. It has deepened my knowledge of nutrition, the food industry, holistic health and has added to my existing tool kit of occupational therapy training and life experience. Being an ambassador means I get commission if you sign up and mention you heard about IIN from me but the awesome news is you also benefit too by getting additional savings! Win. Win. :-)