I never thought to write a review for the nutrition school I went to. The Institute for Integrative Nutrition was so kick ass, I think it's pretty apparent since I flaunt it all over my site and newsletters. Don't worry, I'm not that annoying girl, I just like to share what I love!!
A few days ago I was editing my newsletter template to always have a health coaching link at the bottom of the newsletter, which got me reminiscing about the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (a.k.a. IIN) and my experience of the school/program and how it all began. So I decided to write about it and let you get a personal peak into how I felt before I made the leap and left an old career behind. Below is my personal story. In part II, I'll share the most often received questions I get about Health Coaching and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
If you want to check out the program, get a sample class here. You'll get to experience a section of the program as students experience it so it's kinda cool.
It all started in 2008, I was just laid off from a fashion design job in the middle of the economy crash. I had a gluten-free blog (surprise surprise) that was a hobby, and I started to think about leaving the fashion industry for good and pursuing nutrition and health (as it was always a side passion). The fashion industry is not stable, and it certainly wasn't then. So I started looking at schools, but couldn't find what I was looking for. It all seemed like such a chore to sit online 24/7 looking at graduate schools, it even seemed hard and was I really sure I wanted to leave a 13 year career to start all over again? So I put the idea to rest.
3 months later I landed my fashion design dream job and never thought about nutrition again...
Until 2012, when my dream job closed shop and I realized It was going to be very hard to find a position like the one I just had. It wasn't that I had given up, I had been in the fashion industry for over 13 years. I knew the ropes. I knew what I was up against. The fashion industry was and is cut throat and there was no room for medical/health problems or chronic conditions. I knew fashion was going to have to be a path that I'd leave behind. In crept the idea of nutrition school because if I wasn't going to do fashion, my second passion was Celiac Disease and the gluten-free lifestyle. I coached a lot of people even back then on Celiac Disease and how to go Gluten-free, how to read labels and learn the lifestyle. So I knew if fashion wasn't going to be my path, that perhaps this could be. So It was on the radar.
And then it was off the radar after I landed a design job at Victoria's Secret. I denied that little voice inside me. In 2013 I was still at Victoria's Secret and constantly sick. I'm pretty sure it was my body telling me I was denying my called path. I was so unhappy that the idea of nutrition school popped in again as that flying color option that could change everything. And as the Universe would have it...
I ran into my old massage therapist and we went to lunch. Over Sushi she started to tell me about IIN as she was a student. How it was about the eastern side of medicine, also known as functional medicine and holistic health. I was interested. It sounded like a program I should do, I thought to myself. But I was also super skeptical. An online certification? Is that even legit?
So, that night Google became my bestie in the sense that I researched IIN all night long. Somehow I found a free webinar. I signed up. Actually I signed up for two and watched both. IIN's webinars are about the school, common questions, what the curriculum entails, what you learn, who teaches the courses, what type of certification IIN is and what jobs you can get with this certification. Midway through the second webinar, I ended up crying because I knew - I SO knew this was the direction I needed to take. I related. I felt at home. I felt this WAS SO DAMN RIGHT. But I was scared to leave a 13+ year career in fashion that I went to college for, and for what ... an online nutrition certification in holistic health coaching? Like what is that? So even though I felt it was right, I was still judging this program.
So I did what any confused person would do - More Google. I was so on the fence. I felt really lost. I Googled lots of IIN health coaches and a few blogs came up. I found an awesome blog by successful Health Coach Holli Thompson who also left the fashion world behind (Chanel!!) to pursue the health coaching life after experiencing and healing an array of her chronic health conditions. I was all nervous, but I emailed her anyways. I wrote the longest novel, OMG and pressed send. I thought, I'd be lucky if I even got a reply. (You know bloggers, not everyone is kind or nice, and not everything gets back to you). I can't remember if it was the next day or the day after, but it was pretty darn quick. She not only replied but offered to set up a FREE coaching call about the school! I was floored by this kindness. She didn't know me from a hole in the wall. And we spoke for 45 minutes. (See? The Universe again, giving gifts) And at the end of the call, she said "If I was your mother, I would tell you to take the leap". And it was funny because my mom the whole time was pushing me to take this leap too. My own mom said these would be seeds I'd be planting and in time a new path would grow and blossom. So with Holli's words and my mom's push in the back of my head, two IIN webinars where I felt HOME, I decided to DO IT! In between talking to Holli and my mom, I did speak to an IIN rep twice, with plenty of emails back and forth. I probably was really annoying to that IIN rep! LOL. I laugh out loud literally, because I know what it's like to be unsure and want to pursue a different life, and I know how hard it is to make that switch, but I also know that sometimes the leap is part of the path.
I liked the idea of IIN because it wasn't a Nutrition degree or a Dietician degree. It wasn't a Bachelor's degree which I already had, and it wasn't a Master's Degree which I wasn't ready for at the time. It was a Health Coaching Certification, giving you the credentials of Holistic Health Coach, or now Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. It was a program that was 1 year, where I could get my feet wet and see if this was the direction I wanted to go. It was also about holistic health which was an eastern approach to medicine - given my health issues, I was curious. I also thought the program would help my blog take a new direction.
With amazing guidance from the Universe, I was awarded a partial scholarship and able to get $1000.00 off my tuition! It was insane! But I realized I received these gifts because this was the right path for me and in a way I was being led or called and the Universe was guiding me. The Universe works in mysterious ways, sometimes you want to choose a new direction, and often a new direction is already chosen for you and you just have to become more aware so you can see it as a gift. Tune in to what you need and where you want to go.
Side Note kinda funny:
The IIN rep told me IIN was like Disneyland. That is was so fun it was like a trip to the amusement park. While I agree FUN and TOTALLY AWESOME, (because it was) I wouldn't say Disneyland - It is school and it's nutrition. You are learning a so much in that program. And while you can do this program while you have a full time job, it doesn't quite feel like a ride in the Tea Cups. The one of many things that IIN does open you up to is a whole world of creativity, health, wealth and knowledge.
After all that, I was so #IIN. I felt so much love in everything that IIN did. The staff, the students were so helpful and supportive. This team literally roots for you, and what I would find out once I started the program was that the IIN team roots for you the entire time, and even after you graduate. The energy is pure love.
And just like that I was embarking on a new journey that I would learn would help me manage my health conditions, find the right people to help me begin to heal and finally get to the root of it all. Honestly without this school, without this path, I wouldn't have been able to create what I create now. I wouldn't have been able to live clean and healthy the way I do now. Same with self-care. Same with meditation, yoga and everything mind/body in my life that I have learned. And the same with leaving one career, and having the courage to develop another one. Currently I'm not taking health coaching clients, but I do take clients for Angel Card Readings (studied under Doreen Virtue in her Certified Angel Card Reader Course), I am getting my second website makeover, I'm writing an Ebook full of delicious juices and smoothies, and I'm working towards becoming a professional blogger while working with other brands to develop recipes. But I want to tell you, this did NOT happen immediately.
While at the time I had grown so much, I also felt held back and for a long while in transition. I don't think many people talk about this in their reviews, but I do have to address it. I graduated in July 2014 from IIN, and I fully thought I'd be coaching midway through the program. I was convinced that within months I'd become a successful health coach, but as the Universe would have it, I developed a ton of chronic medical conditions that collided with school. I managed to get straight A's, but my immediate dream of health coaching and rebranding my blog had to take a back seat so I could take care of myself. The plus from this is that I learned at IIN that self care is number 1! If you don't have your health, you have nothing. So IIN taught me so much on that. The negative to this, is that many others and myself have been brainwashed by society to think that self-care should take a back seat. That a massage is a luxury. NO. Self-Care, I learned is a necessity. So self-care came first and that basically took up all the days I wasn't working on school, going to doctors or working on my blog. I coached here and there many months later after I graduated. I didn't coach during school, or immediately after. And I didn't launch my new blog till January 2015. I still think this school is the best. I still think that it was one of the most important decisions in my life to do because it got me where I am now. Read more about my story here. Everyone who does IIN is on a different journey.
This is what I posted to Facebook when I enrolled in IIN on June 5th, 2013:
Photo: taken from Pinterest
Because the truth was for a while before this leap I was so stuck that I couldn't make a move. I didn't know if changing my career was the way to go, or to stick out a career that was wearing me down. I didn't know if anything would come from this, and if this was the "right" decision. But after so much back and forth, I said yes to life and yes to IIN.
And did it feel right? Not yet. It felt different. I felt different. I felt a shift. I felt excited. I also felt nervous, but mainly excited!
I never would have been able to guarantee to myself that this was going to be the best decision of my life. I didn't know that till 2 months into the program. I didn't know that till I graduated and became very involved with Gabrielle Bernstein and completed her Level 1 Spirit Junkie Master Class Certification, followed by studying with Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine and becoming a Certified Angel Card Reader, followed by B-School with Marie Forleo and every other certification I did since then. Can I tell you what I learned at IIN that's the most important? I learned that I am damn smart! My memory skills are on point, and I retain a ton of information. My brain is a sponge and always wants more. I absolutely LOVE nutrition and wellness. I like to figure out ways to heal and manage. I like to figure out ways to be a team player in my own healing and help others become a team player in theirs. And I love talking to clients about their health issues, because I know I can help problem solve by using holistic nutrition and wellness. And I want to know it. It's my passion. And I couldn't have predicted that until I went for it and experienced IIN first hand.
IIN made me realize that I was a healer. That I had gifts to share. And that people really do need my help. IIN was meant to be the left turn that I took in hopes for something different, better, more fitting, more loving, more evolved and lighter.
Barnes and Noble and The Farmer's Market became my favorite places to frequent (and Whole Foods). I re-branded my website, soon to be twice. IIN opened me up to a world of learning, an incredible supportive group that to this day I still support, a world of speakers I never dreamed of seeing live and a deeper bond with myself because I was in the midst of my deepest chronic health conditions, and while it's taken a long time to heal, that healing has been expedited because of #IIN and because I said yes to the school. I think out of all the Modules (learn more about this soon to be HERE), my favorite is the one where you learn about David Avocado Wolfe, superfoods, smoothies and green juices and raw foods. That was my ultimate fav.
I became an Ambassador for IIN pretty early on as I knew this was something I would want to share and promote with the world and my community. I wish every new student the best experience possible, whether they go on to be Health Coaches or find new paths through IIN! I look forward to hearing from you on your journey and feel free to contact me about the school anytime!
Love & Finding Your Way,