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.
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.
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.