In September I graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition as a Certified Holistic Health Coach. I really enjoyed my year there and feel that I learned a lot! Since I didn’t go to college right after high-school, IIN was a great way to dip my toes back into a form of education. It was all online, so I was able to create my own schedule.

Other than the variety of health-related topics we were taught, we also learned many “real world” lessons. These are the life lessons that stuck with me after graduating from nutrition school.

1. My idea of healthy living isn’t always ideal for everyone else.

Because of my long history with digestive issues I’ve read a lot of gut healing books, websites, and articles. Nearly all of them recommend a Paleo style diet. That, for a long time, caused me to think grains, for example, were very bad for everyone.
At IIN we are taught many different dietary theories, as well as pros and cons of the different diets. The theory of bio-individuality, or “one person’s food could be another person’s poison” is something that was also instilled in us on many occasions.
I now feel much more open, mentally to different ways to achieve wellness.

2. The importance of listening to my body, and some tricks to understanding it.

My long stint of chronic illness has taught me how to listen to my body to know when not to push it. IIN has taught me more ways to understand clues my body could be giving.
For example, craving sweets could be a sign that you are actually craving positive emotional connection with someone.

3. How to be my own health advocate.

Over the past few years, I’ve learned to stand up for my health and what I need, but many of the IIN lectures have given me more confidence to do so for my myself as well as others.

4. Being confident in what I know.

I have spent a number of years researching holistic health for my own needs. I’ve learned a lot on my own but was not always taken seriously, because I didn’t have a degree. IIN has taught me a lot, given me even more resources to continue learning on my own, as well as provided me with a snazzy piece of paper that says I know things.

5. The desire to learn more.

At IIN we learn about a vast number of subjects, but do not go into great detail about all of them. With each lecture, they provide a few resources to help dive deeper into subjects that really interest us. There are also continuing education programs at IIN to learn more about digestive health, hormone health, business, writing, etc.

6. How to really listen to people.

The key to health coaching is to really listen. Not only to what clients say but also to what they aren’t saying. There are plenty of lectures that give tips on deep listening. The sample coaching sessions were also very helpful to observe correct ways to key in on what people do and don’t say.

7. It’s okay to not know all of the answers.

Not knowing everything is okay. Being honest about what you know and what you need to look up is better for everyone all around. It is also an opportunity to do some research and learn something new to share with your clients.

Enrolling at IIN last year was a decision I am really glad I made and I highly recommend enrollment for any of my fellow health nuts!

What are your favorite health-related topics to read about? Let’s continue the conversation in the comments.

-Lizzie

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