Your Top 5 Burning Questions About The Institute For Integrative Nutrition

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There seems to be something in the air, because I have been receiving countless emails from you guys lately about what I do as a holistic health coach, how I became a coach and specific questions about The Institute For Integrative Nutrition, the school through which I obtained my holistic health coaching certificate. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I’ve been focusing more on my one-on-one coaching, or maybe because it’s that time of the year where people recommit to their new year resolutions…either way, here are the top 5 burning questions that I see come up over and over again.

Before we dive in, I just want to quickly say - I was in the exact same situation as you when I first looked into IIN a couple of years ago. I had read a lot about it, but I wanted first-hand real and authentic feedback from people who had done the course themselves. And so, I reached out to some coaches in Switzerland (where I was living at the time) and asked them allllll the questions. They were incredibly helpful and helped me in making my decision, for which I am super grateful. Which is why I am an open book about IIN and you can ask my ANYTHING!

Let’s dive right into it.

  

CAN I DO IIN EVEN IF I DON’T WANT TO BECOME A HEALTH COACH?

Totally. When I signed up for IIN, I wasn’t actually 100% sure what I wanted to do with it. At the time, I had been on a rollercoaster ride of self development and healing from an eating disorder, and I got to a point where I wanted to take the next step on my journey. I became to realize just how fundamental sleep, stress management, relationships and spirituality are to my overall wellness, and the IIN program focused on exactly that. What attracted me the most was the concept of primary and secondary foods. This concept is based on the idea that having healthy relationships and communication, a fulfilling career, regular physical activity, and a spiritual awareness are all essential forms of nourishment.  

You can eat all the kale in the world, but if your primary foods aren't taken care of, your physical and mental health suffers as a result. But when these “primary foods” are balanced, what you eat becomes secondary.

I love that! Given that I had focused on calorie counting and the numbers on the scale for years, this concept truly was life-altering for me. IIN is about way more than food and nutrition. It has the power to completely transform your outlook on life. In a way, you are your very first client.

Of course, doing IIN you will get a coaching certificate and you will be able to coach others with it as a professional holistic health coach. But you will get just as much out of the program if you are doing it just for yourself. 

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ARE YOU A FULL-TIME HEALTH COACH NOW?

No. Since I started coaching in early 2016, I have coached over 30 clients, many of which have stayed with me for over two years. I have gone through phases where I was working part-time for someone else, part-time for myself, and other times where I was working full-time and still doing coaching on the side. 

 On the one hand, I guess you could say that I have never dared to take the plunge and sometimes I seriously wonder if I should. On the other hand, I actually really enjoy the balance of working for myself and working for someone else. I also really love the field that I’ve been working in (brand entertainment and social media), hence why I’m currently doing a master program in Marketing and Communications. In a way, having the financial stability of working for someone else means that the one-on-one coaching remains a passion project of mine and I genuinely love working with every single one of my clients. This has been the perfect balance for me for the last three years and I feel like it’s a win win situation for me. 

The key takeaway is that doing the IIN program allows you to become a full-time health coach if you choose to go down that path, but you don’t have to. I know of so many people in different life situations that all have chosen to do IIN – busy execs, working mums, uni students, people with a major health concern trying to improve their health. The list goes on. 

In the end, I feel that IIN is suitable for anyone that is interested in health, wellness and nutrition. If you intend on coaching, then the Institute For Integrative Nutrition is perfect for you. If you want to deep dive into holistic health for a personal health and healing journey, then IIN is great for you too. Either way, it will provide you with incredible knowledge that will help you live a healthier life.

 

HOW MUCH TIME COMMITMENT IS THE COURSE?

IIN is set up in a way that you can do your courses anywhere at any time as everything is accessible online. This makes things very convenient for all you busy peeps out there. At the time, I was finishing up my bachelors, working part-time and my blog was my side hustle. In terms of hours, I would say I probably spent around 6 hours a week on IIN. The great thing is that you can take it at your own pace, as you can go back and forth between different modules as you please. I sometimes was way too busy with uni assignments and work that I didn’t manage to fit in as much time for IIN, which wasn’t an issue as I could easily catch up a few weeks later. The only thing is that there are small tests every couple of weeks; for these, I just made sure I had caught up on all the material by that time.

I honestly think the program is incredibly flexible and easy to follow no matter your current life circumstances. In the end, the more time you commit to it, the more value you will get out of it, but as a benchmark, 6 hours a week should be enough.

 

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HOW DID YOU GET YOUR FIRST CLIENTS AS A HOLISTIC HEALTH COACH?

When I started IIN, I knew that if I ever started coaching people, I wanted to focus on helping women heal their disordered relationship with food and their body. I had recovered from my own eating disorder with the help of a holistic health coach who had an eating disorder herself, and it made me realize how powerful it is to work with someone who can relate to your own struggles by way of personal experience.

 I have always been an open book when it comes to my personal struggles. Obviously not at the very beginning of my ED, but as part of my healing journey I committed myself to no longer hiding my struggles. As such, a lot of people at my university knew about my past with an eating disorder. Even before I started IIN and coaching, I had girls reach out to me and confide in me by sharing how they have gone through something similar. In a way, I started coaching before I even did IIN, because I would meet up with these girls, grab coffee, go for a walk and just listen to what they were going through. 

When I finished my coaching certificate in 2016 and announced that I was starting to take on clients, I straight away got numerous requests from girls from my old university that I had previously talked to. Many of these girls then went on to coach with me, and from there it really was a word-of-mouth kind of domino effect. It all came incredibly organically, and for that I am very grateful. 

That being said, there’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes that most people don’t realize. Every day I am teaching myself new business skills – SEO, how to drive traffic to my website, staying up to date with ED-related educational material, taking online Photoshop courses etc. I am my own marketing, finance and sales team, and it can be bloody hard at times.

 HOW MUCH DOES IIN COST?

The full program costs $5’995, which let’s be real is a serious investment. But the program really does delivers in terms of teaching you from so many different areas of health and nutrition from some of the best experts out there. IIN has been in operation for 27 years and features some incredible guest speakers like Dr. Andrew Weil, Gabrielle Bernstein and Dr. Mark Hyman, which was a big tick in my books when deciding to take the leap. Plus, they IIN really supports you to get out there and make health coaching a full-time gig, which is obviously great if that’s the path you choose. 

One thing to remember is that you won’t have to pay the full tuition fee! If you decide to enroll in IIN after hearing about it through me, you can use my referral link or simply mention my name to the admissions team to save a HUGE chunk. You can also pay in installments rather than paying everything up front, which is another great way to finance the studies if you are not in a position to pay everything at once.

I’ll leave you with that, I hope this helps to answers some more of your IIN-related questions. 

WSS ☽⋒

5 Bedroom Hacks That Have The Power To Transform Your Sleep| The Koala Edition

5 Bedroom Hacks That Have The Power To Transform Your Sleep| The Koala Edition

I’ve already talked about the importance of quality sleep in previous blog posts, where I touched on the importance of creating a regular circadian rhythm through waking up and going to sleep at the same time each day, getting natural sunlight and exercising preferably in the morning, supplementing with magnesium and keeping your room cool and aired out, just to name a few.

With our recent move from Sydney to Melbourne, Phil and I made a few more mindful decisions when it came to the design of our bedroom and sleep rituals, which I want to share with you today. Implementing some of these tips and habits can hopefully help you to fall asleep faster, stay asleep and most importantly - improve the quality of your sleep. Sleep is essential to your wellness and worth prioritising, and these easy to implement tweaks can make all the difference.

5 Things I've Learnt In Almost 8 Years Of Relationship

5 Things I've Learnt In Almost 8 Years Of Relationship

If you want a plant to grow, you have to water it. You have to tend to it, nourish the soil, give it the right amount of sunlight, protect it from the harsh winds, and give it love and energy every single day. Otherwise it will die. This principle applies to your relationships too. The more love, time and energy you invest in them, and the more consistent your efforts, the more your relationships will grow, open wider and go deeper.

Phil and I are coming up to almost eight years of relationship and

The 5-Min Soul Share: Are We Staying In Australia?

The 5-Min Soul Share: Are We Staying In Australia?

Living with uncertainty feels uncomfortable, like that sensation you get when an episode of your favourite series ends and you are left with a cliff hanger. The kicker is - this was the season finale and you have to wait for months to figure out how it all ends. Just on a big, life-as-you-know-it threatening scale. This is how I have felt since the beginning of 2019.

The 5-Min Soul Share: Major Life Updates

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Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in your life don’t have a title until much later." - Bob Goff

Have you ever found yourself in a place or a season of change that left you with more questions than answers? How do you navigate through the uncertainty when you just don’t know what the future holds?

I’m currently finding myself in this exact situation. While everyone else is busy chasing their new year resolutions and seems to have their 2019 plan of attack perfectly mapped out, my world has been turned upside down.

Long story short, but essentially Phil’s and my Australian visa runs out on the 15thof March and we don’t have a backup plan. Our initial hope was for me to get sponsored through my work, but that fell through as my current job in a brand entertainment/social agency isn’t relevant enough to my Bachelor studies. I found out the week before the Christmas holidays, and ever since I’ve been in literal panic mode. We have talked to and met with multiple lawyers, thought through every single option, drawn up pro and con lists for each scenario…

Major life decisions to be made

I’m just not ready to leave Australia! We came here almost three years ago on a complete hunch, with no job, no real plan and only one person we knew. Since then, Australia has become home, and I’ve honestly never felt more ME anywhere in the world. With all the moving around that I’ve done, this is the first time I feel like I’ve truly found “my place”. The thought of leaving Australia makes me want to ugly cry. And I have, I’ve done lots of crying the last few weeks actually. I’m not sleeping well, I’m having all these crazy dreams and my eating was all over the place for a little while too. I feel lost, confused and honestly just really exhausted. Definitely not how I envisioned 2019 to start off. Blaaah. 

Conversations with Phil have been intense, and the Skye conversations with my parents even more full on. Questions go like this: What do you want to do? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Are you sure this is the right thing? And all I want to do is scream I DON’T KNOW from the top of my lungs.

Technically the options are endless – keep trying different ways to get sponsored, Phil extends his student visa by studying another semester, I do a Masters (only a casual unexpected 90k expense, no biggie), or we could move anywhere in the world! But all of these options leave me feeling anxious and uncertain. Uncertainty/anxietyàFear àLack of action. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been paralyzed by this predicament. It’s emotionally, mentally and spiritually draining. At the moment I wake up every morning consumed with worries and an immense sense of pressure and urgency. Exactly how I didn’t want to feel coming into 2019.

I think as a generation, we’ve got this invisible pressure on us to identify e-x-a-c-t-l-y what we want do with our lives and to then pursue those goals with no mess ups along the way. According to my parents, I already effed up once. I did a Bachelor at the worlds most prestigious and expensive Hospitality Management university in the world, and once finished I decided I didn’t like hospitality and never wanted to work in the field. I don’t blame them for being concerned about my sense of judgment; at this point I don’t even know if I can trust my decision-making.

I’m not going to lie, this whole situation has really screwed with my mind and it’s been an incredible difficult start to the year for me…I kind of just accepted that for the next two months I’ll be living in fear and just be miserable. Because, how else could I be?

Then, the other day, I saw a quote from Mastin Kipp that really struck me:

"The quality of your life is directly related to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably live with." 

Becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable

I could go through life for the next two months completely loosing my shit over all of this. But imagine if I ended up having to leave Australia, and that’s how I chose to spend my last valuable moments? I’d forever regret that. I’ve decided that I need to level up and work through this whole situation. A mindful approach is just what the spiritual doctor ordered. And so, I am trying to become comfortable with the uncertainty. At the end of the day, there is no adventure in certainty amiright.  How boring would it be if our lives were tightly scripted according to a master plan?!

I am allowing myself the patience to marinate on these unsolved questions and to sit in the unknown-ness of it all. I am trying to take small steps, tiny actions that will help me realize that things are easier than the seemed like from a distance. And I am trying to find certainty in sticking to my daily practices – training, eating well, meditating (I’ve been meditating daily which is a breakthrough for me) and staying open-minded and vulnerable in all conversations with Phil, family and friends. It’s a conscious effort I’m making in order to merge my head and my heart, so I can move through this decision more aligned and in tune with my intuition. 

At the end of the day, I just have to trust that all will work out all right. All I can do now is trust my intuition, trust in my relationship with Phil, and trust that we will be just fine no matter what we decide. I’m I’ll be sure to keep you posted on what’s going on. One of my goals for 2019 is to share quick and candid thoughts on my blog, so I hope you enjoy this format of honest mind dumps.

If any of the above is hitting home with you, just know I'm here in it with you too. 

Stef x

Why I support ethical brands like Pukka Herbs

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A decade ago, buying organic tea, activated nuts and kombucha used to only be possible in hippie health food stores. But in the last couple of years, lots has changed and more and more health, sustainability and eco-conscious brands have gone from niche to mainstream.

And 2018 has seen lots of changes! From being able to find healthy bliss balls at 7/11 to my go-to superfoods and organic Pukka teas being stocked at Coles, some of my favourite brands have been catapulted into the mainstream domaine. These brands are shaking off the tag of exclusivity once associated with the wellbeing sectors and are making themselves accessible to everyone.

The power of a brand with a purpose that's beyond just profit has never been clearer; especially as us Millennials are longing for brands that do good. I remember reading “Earth Is Hiring” by Peta Kelly and thinking AH-MEN when Peta was inviting our generation to give a sh*t about each other and our earth. As she says, “Our planet isn’t a place for us to holiday, but a place of permanent residence with the requirement that we nurture and love our Mother Earth.”

With news like Trump pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement and publicly stating he doesn’t believe in climate change, it can feel like we’re taking steps back, but I wholeheartedly believe that we are moving in the right direction. When doing research for this post, I was really impressed that 63% of consumers would choose an eco-conscious brand over a mainstream brand (UK survey).

I definitely have noticed this shift in conscious consumerism - both in myself and my friends/family. Not only are more people taking measures to improve their health, but in doing so they are also looking for products that support our planet. We vote with our money, and more people are using this power to proactively support brands who’s values they align with. And so, these “niche” health products are slowly becoming available in mainstream retailers. Obviously there’s still a long way to go, but there are options! One of the brands that I want to celebrate today for the incredible job that they do, and for successfully going from niche to mainstream is: Pukka Herbs.

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I’ve been drinking Pukka’s yummy 100% organic medicinal grade herbal teas ever since I moved to Australia and have always admired them for their ethos. I already knew a little bit about their sustainability program and best practices before writing this article, but when I actually looked into the specifics, I was honestly blown away by their dedication to protecting the environment, supporting the communities and also their transparency.

If you’re already a Pukka Herbs fan, there’s some good news: some of their top flavours are now not only available at independent health food stores across Australia, but also in Coles. Yaaay! The flavours available are: Detox, Mint, Ginger, Lemon Ginger Manuka Honey, Turmeric Gold and Night Time.

At the moment I’m loving their Lemon Ginger & Manuka Honey tea because I’ve been sick on and off, and this tea is a great immune booster thanks to the lemon and ginger. Manuka honey has traditionally been used for improving digestive issues and also has many antioxidant benefits. Plus, it’s a great tea for a pitta-vata dosha like myself (you can do a Pukka dosha quiz here). Pukka actually blend all their teas using the wisdom of Ayurveda, meaning that the teas are tailored to help solve different health issues through the power of the herbs they use. I think a lot of people don’t realise just how powerful herbs actually are and what a great addition they are to naturally helping with all sorts of health issues.


Why Pukka Herbs truly walks the talk

Pukka truly walk the talk when it comes to all things sustainability, fair trade and organic production. Their whole founding philosophy is “built on the principle of doing good through commerce bringing positive change into the world through a genuine contribution to global equality, ending poverty and protecting the environment.” The word “Pukka” actually stands for authentic in Hindi, which I think is such a beautiful name. Translated into action, this looks like this:

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  • Everything Pukka creates – even the string on their tea bags – is certified organic. Saaaaay what?! Prior to learning this it hadn’t even crossed my mind that this was a factor to consider.

  • You won’t find pesticides, GMO or artificial flavours in their teas.

  • Pukka is a certified B Corp. What this means is that they meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, and aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems. Collectively, B Corps across the world lead a growing global movement of people using business as a force for good. How good!

  • The packaging is FSC certified and is 100% biodegradable. FSC is a certification that shows consumers that a brand operates in an environmentally, economically and socially responsible way.

  • Pukka gives back in many different ways. Here’s just a few:

    • 1% of all profits go straight to environmental causes. In 2017, over $752.000 AUD were donated to environmental charities.

    • Pukka has a Fair For Life certification, which guarantees a respect of human rights and fair working conditions as well as respect of the ecosystem and promotion of biodiversity and sustainable agriculture practices.

    • $262.000 AUD were invested into community fair premium funds helping the producers and local communities where the herbs are grown.

  • For the first time, Pukka has mapped out their carbon footprint, breaking down their total carbon output from 'crop to cup'. It’s not only cool that Pukka chooses to be this transparent, it’s also really insightful and made me understand a lot more about the production cycle.

    • But you know what was the most shocking? The biggest carbon impact from crop to cup is actually us consumers boiling our kettles - 49% of the total carbon footprint! This is because most people boil twice as much water as they actually need simply because they don’t think about it and just boil a full kettle. Ufff…Just think about the difference it would make if we all only boiled the exact amount that we need.

If you’re a keen bean, you can ready more about everything Pukka has achieved recently in this 2017 sustainability report or in this summary leaflet.

I truly hope that more and more brands like Pukka will go from niche to mainstream, so that more people will become conscious consumers and make better choices for their health, our communities and our planet. We all have the power to vote with our money, so let’s make sure to make the right choices and support the right kind of businesses!

*this post was written in friendly collaboration with Pukka Herbs Australia.

18 Things You Might Not Know About Me

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My first blog post on the new website yeeeew! Some of you may be following me since the beginning, but there’s a few new faces around (hiiiii) so I thought I’d share a bit more about myself on here.

If you have more questions, feel free to comment below and I’d love to answer!

  1. I speak three languages and have never lived in one place for more than three years at a time. I’ve had the amazing privilege of calling Germany, Switzerland, Paris, London, Dubai, the US and now Australia, my home. 

  2. I work full-time for a brand entertainment agency whilst having my own health coaching business and wellness blog on the side. The side hustle is real!

  3. My favourite motto to live by is: “You don’t have the be the same person you were five minutes ago.” This quote has accompanied me from the beginning of my recovery journey. It reminds me to not fall into the “all or nothing mentality” and that I am in control of my mindset at all times.

  4. I’m a morning person and honestly can’t think of a better way to start my day than with a workout. It just gets me into a good mood and sets me up for the rest of the day. 

  5. My alarm is set for 5:20am, even on weekends.

  6. I used to drink up to 5 coffees a day and smoke half a pack of cigarettes! Far out, how times have changed.

  7. Phil is my boyfriend of 7+ years. We met in the first week of uni and hit it off straight away. He says he had to fight for me for the first three months because I didn’t want to commit, but in my mind I was set on him straight from the beginning. I don’t know how I lucked out as much as I did with him, but we’re the best of friends and life partners.

  8. His family has moved around almost as much as mine has. His parents currently lives in Thailand and his sister in Uganda.

  9. I’m such a homebody and always prefer staying in over going out. I don’t mind a cheeky glass of wine with friends, but I prefer a relaxed environment where you can have soul-nourishing conversation rather than screaming at each other over deep house music.

  10. Next bucket list travel destinations are New Zealand and Japan.

  11. I’ve got a laundry list of allergies: bees, antibiotics, hair and eyebrow dye and ant bites, just to name a few. I’ve been in the hospital numerous times for allergic reactions, the craziest probably being when I coloured my eyebrows and woke up not being able to open my eyes because my face was THAT swollen.

  12. I’ve lived in Australia for over 2 ½ years and my family hasn't visited me once! Shame on them…They finally booked their flights for next year March and I’m already plotting the entire itinerary.

  13. I have food stains on 95% of my clothes, being clumsy is a daily struggle and I have a skill for loosing my keys and travel cards.

  14. I have one younger sister (5 years apart) who is adopted from the US. She has the most beautiful Afro hair, although she hates it.

  15. I love playing the “Where are you from"?” guessing game with people. Top guesses usually are: Irish, Scottish, Canadian, American or Swedish. Because I was in an international school system for most of my education, my accent is a weird mumbo jumbo of all kinds of languages.

  16. I truly believe everything happens for a reason. You don’t have control of everything that happens to you, but what you do have control over is how you react in every situation. It’s something I constantly need to remind myself when sh*%t hits the fan, but life is so much easier with this outlook.

  17. I’ve been off the pill for 6 ½ years and only ever took it for about half a year. I realised pretty quickly that I just wasn’t myself on it and that I didn’t want to go through life putting daily hormones into my system. I’ve never looked back!

  18. My favourite productivity hack is called Pomodoro’s. It’s a time management technique where you use a timer to break down your work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short 5-10 minute breaks. During those 25 minutes, there’s no getting up, no Insta scrolling, no distractions, just powering through! Because it’s such a short time, it’s easy to commit and I tend to get my best work done this way.

I hope you enjoyed these little fun facts,

Stef x

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Let's Talk About Sleep, Baby

Let's Talk About Sleep, Baby

You can sleep when you’re dead.”

“There is no rest for the weary.”

In today’s society sleep is totally underrated. In fact, sleep deprivation is almost worn as a badge of honour. I hear people bragging about how they pulled an all-nighter or get away with sleeping 4 hours a night all the time. I used to be one of them.

But the truth is, in order for you to perform to the best of your ability you need to get deep, restorative rest every single night. The average person needs between 7-8 hours of rest each night, and the mountain of studies proving this fact is undeniable.

What You Can Do With A Coaching Degree From IIN

What You Can Do With A Coaching Degree From IIN

As many of you know, I studied with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and qualified as a Health Coach in 2016. Every week I get emails and DM’s from you guys asking me for feedback and advice on IIN, so I thought it beneficial to offer some more unbiased and authentic opinion on the pros and cons of the course and offer an insight into where a path in health coaching can take you.

I did write a lengthy blog post last year outlining all the general information about the course like what the program entails, duration, cost, time commitment etc, so definitely have a read through that bit first if you are serious about learning more.

How To Navigate Love And Eating Disorders

How To Navigate Love And Eating Disorders

For about two years, I struggled with my inner daemons on my own.

That is, with my eating disorder, of course.

It was a debilitating feeling, knowing that no one else knew that side of me. I wanted to let someone in, but at the same time I couldn’t think of anything worse than someone finding out the truth.

When I finally found someone who I could confide in – and who didn’t seem to care in the slightest that I had “issues” – it changed the way I dealt with my problems. I finally let someone in. That person was Phil.

My Body Journey And Where I Am Right Now

My Body Journey And Where I Am Right Now

"I've been underweight, I've been chubby, I've been skinny fat, I've been super lean, I've been at the peak of my physical fitness and then lost it all again. All along this journey, I've hated my body, loathed it, accepted it, then loved it, then hated it again, wanted it to be skinnier, then stronger, fitter, more flexible, and the list goes on...

3 Recovery Techniques You Should Try

3 Recovery Techniques You Should Try

As you all know, I’m BIG on trying out new fitness, recovery and wellness modalities, so I was super excited when Shaun from Koa Recovery first reached out to me. That was almost a year ago, and since then I’ve become a strong proponent of the amazing services they offer. So I wanted to share those experiences with you and tell you why these recovery modules are so amazing, how they work and how you benefit from them as well.