UPDATED: MARCH 2020
I have been asked by many people about my experience of studying Health Coaching through The Institute for Integrative Nutrition®(IIN).
Here is the long and short of it…
I simply cannot recommend IIN highly enough!
And yes, I am an Ambassador which means I earn a referral fee for anyone who signs up through me – but I am an Ambassador because I truly believe in the school and the course. (Please read my affiliate disclosure here.)
For me, it was nothing short of revolutionary, life changing – and most importantly, life affirming.
This is my story of how I came to IIN, my experience of IIN and what has happened since I graduated. I am sharing the stage with Rebecca – IIN’s global admissions representative. She shares more on IIN and the health coaching program.
As with most things in my life, I came to study at IIN in a back-to-front way – most people sign up because they want a new career, and one as a health coach. After qualifying, many graduates branch out into starting food product lines, hosting nutrition / wellness workshops, becoming public speakers or writing books.
I did it the other way around. I had already been researching and writing my book ‘Mila’s Meals: The Beginning & The Basics’ for some 2 and a half years before I enrolled at IIN. My motivation for studying through them was not to be a health coach. I felt that my book would have more credibility if it was written by someone other than “just-a-mom” – someone who had a nutrition qualification of some sorts behind their name.
I looked into other nutrition qualifications and courses, but decided against them because:
- I didn’t want to spend 4 years studying (I have already spent 6 years of my life in tertiary education and time was of the essence);
- I didn’t have the money required to study a 4-year nutritionist degree;
- and, it would be money wasted anyway, as I didn’t want to be a nutritionist – I just wanted to be able to share my knowledge and my beliefs (and have people believe me!)
So why did I decide on IIN?
You are qualified in a year!
If you already have a career and need to continue to earn a living while studying, the workload (15 hours/week), the online learning environment, and the 12 months it takes to qualify is perfectly suited to this.
IIN have introduced a 6-month accelerated course!
The teacher list is like the Who’s Who of functional, mind-body health & wellness!
You have access to the most innovative, highly respected, forward thinking, wellness / spiritual / medical / integrative practitioners on a GLOBAL level.
The lecturers include (to name a few):
Mind-body expert and bestselling author
“Integrative Nutrition offers a comprehensive holistic approach to not just nutrition but lifestyle management.”
Cardiothoracic surgeon, author, and star of The Dr. Oz Show
Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post
“Integrative Nutrition gives its students great tools to improve their wellbeing and thrive in their day-to-day lives.”
Dr. Andrew Weil
Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine
Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University
Dr. David Katz
Director of Yale Prevention Research Center
“Integrative Nutrition trains students how to give good advice about nutrition, how to deliver it well, and how to make it stick.”
World authority on raw food nutrition
Dr. Mark Hyman
Chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine
“Health Coaches can provide the instruction, the tools, the information, and the facilitation of behavior change that leads to the creation of health instead of the suppression of symptoms or disease.”
Dr. Bernie Siegel
Expert in healing and patient empowerment
Dr. Frank Lipman
Founder of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center
“The success rate at my practice is so much higher now that we have Health Coaches. I see Health Coaches as an essential part of the progression to ‘good medicine.’”
Author of The Artist’s Way
Dr. Christine Northrup
Women’s health and wellness expert and bestselling author
In depth and holistic nutritional education.
While a nutrition degree might focus solely on food, IIN has developed the concept of Primary & Secondary Food. Essentially Primary food is nourishment that doesn’t appear on your dinner plate.
The four core primary foods for adults are: exercise, spirituality, career and relationships.
The premise is that when these areas of your life are in balance, food is secondary. Joshua Rosenthal (IIN’s founder, director and primary teacher), says that, “Healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career, and a spiritual practice can fill your soul and satisfy your hunger for life.” They are, essentially soul food.
This concept was revolutionary in my own personal health journey and I can now see why it is a vital part of any discussion about nutrition. You can eat kale until you turn green, but if your Primary Food plate is empty, chances are you will not experience vibrant health.
And then there is the nutrition/dietary information – the course delves into over 100 dietary theories! You are guided through all of them and given an additional year-long access to the nutrition library to allow you enough time for all the information to be explored and absorbed.
You will be Health Coached!
Your year at IIN will be a personally life changing one – I can guarantee it.
You are essentially health coached while studying to be a health coach! It is very clever how they do it – you don’t actually know is happening until it is. You LIVE this education – it is not simply cerebral. This alone, is worth the tuition fees!
A global network
A Facebook group is set up for you and your classmates and this is where you will meet and interact with like-minded people from all over the world. This is a golden opportunity – especially for us in South Africa, I feel. To be part of a global community/network is like a golden ticket! I have no doubt the connections you make through this school will benefit you professionally.
You may feel that learning online in a school that is based on the other side of the world could be isolating. This is not the case at all – in fact I felt more connected to my classmates in IIN from across the world than I did to those I sat next to for 3 years at The University of Cape Town (UCT)!
Or you may feel that you need to “see it to believe it”. Trust me, it is a real school, with real people! The student support offered by the school admin staff is immediate, and effective.
Health Coaches are growing community – a necessity in response to the current state of ill-health and medical care and, a new field in South Africa for which demand will grow.
It is a qualification that will no doubt offer you many opportunities. From one-on-one coaching, corporate wellness to online programs, healthy food products, skincare lines, and books – the list of what you can do with this qualification is a long one!
And us Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches are in good company… Chef Pete Evans is one!
Pete Evans is an internationally renowned and household chef, restaurateur, author and television presenter. His passion for food and a healthy lifestyle inspires individuals and families around the world.
Other IIN grads doing great things:
S.W. Basics of Brooklyn
Adina (Class of ’07) created S.W. Basics of Brooklyn, an all-natural skincare line that has been featured in Vogue, People, InStyle, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop.
Launch Your Dreambook
As a graduate of IIN you are also given the opportunity to enroll in their Launch Your Dreambook course (which I did while studying the health coaching course).
This 6-month course takes you on a step-by-step journey to self-publishing a book. While I was already far down the line with writing my book when I did this course, the information and support in getting book published was invaluable.
There are many IIN graduates who are now successful, published authors.
I’m proud to say that these are some of my classmates:
Click on the book covers to view them on Amazon.
And besides being a published author leads to many other opportunities such as speaking engagements etc.
Do you have doubts? These were some of mine…
But I don’t want to be a coach or need a business education?
It was not my intention to be a health coach so I thought that perhaps the coaching aspect of the course may be a “waste of time”. I had similar thoughts about the business curriculum of the course since I am an experienced marketer and have run my own business before. But I was wrong about all this!
The coaching part of the curriculum essentially trains you on how to deliver your knowledge. This part was invaluable to me.
I had most of the nutrition knowledge already after 2.5 years of research for my book, but the coaching curriculum showed me how to deliver this knowledge. There is no point knowing something, if you can’t effectively communicate it to others.
It also made me a better mother and friend 🙂 The coaching skills you are taught will benefit you personally as you use them in all your relationships – personal and professional.
The business skills and financial management part of the curriculum are invaluable and can be applied to ANY business you are involved in or choose to set up. From basic and essential “How To”, to more holistic matters such as creating a positive relationship with money and learning how to honour and value your offering. Again – invaluable learning!
Is the course credible?
Yes – absolutely! Ivanka Trump and Venus Williams even work with Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches 🙂 And Dr Frank Lipman (Founder of The Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York and integrative medical doctor to the who’s who of Hollywood) employs a team of Health Coaches – and only IIN Health Coaches!
IIN is licensed by the New York State Department of Education. IIN has also developed educational partnerships with several American colleges and universities so our graduates can use their IIN certification to get their bachelor’s or master’s degree. Some of the partnerships include: Goddard College, Excelsior College, SUNY Purchase, and Maryland University of Integrated Health.
After graduating you can also take the International Association for Health Coaches exam which will certify you to work as a Health Coach anywhere in the world (which I have done). The IAHC would not offer this to graduates from a school without credibility.
Now is not the right time?
Ah “the right time”. When is the right time?
This was my perfectly timed plan… finish writing my book by December 2013, then study at IIN, then work part-time while raising my children (with little to no life drama forecasted or anticipated).
This is what really happened… I was writing my book while being a full time mom to Mila all of 2013 ready to meet my self-imposed deadline. In November 2013 I had a miscarriage and stopped working on the book for 3 months. I started writing again but in April 2014 I got divorced. I took a break from the book for a few months again, then picked up where I left off but in September 2014 my friend and sister-in-law was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer – she passed in April of 2015.
This made me realize that there is no such thing as “the right time” – there is only now!
Between March 2015 and March 2016, I enrolled in IIN’s March 2015 Health Coach course, I enrolled into the Launch Your Dreambook course, I continued writing my book and published it in December 2015. I graduated from IIN as a health coach in March 2016.
While it might seem like madness to enroll in two courses while grieving and writing a book – those courses are what pulled me through a very challenging time. The timing was in fact… perfect!
I’ll say it again – there is no such thing as the right time – there is only now.
But… I am not a full-time Health Coach. Why you ask?
I graduated from IIN in March 2016, but, as a single mom to a 7-year old and a self-published author (aka mompreneur), my time and energy is in short supply. I want to be fully present and available for my daughter, while earning a living to support us. Choosing to do this by self-publishing a book may not have been the wisest decision, but it is the one I made and the one I stand by. But it is hard work – and my time and energy is stretched thin. I don’t feel I can commit the time and energy to a full day of clients and give them the level of care I want to and I feel they deserve.
Since graduating, I have been approached by many people asking me to be their Health Coach. Imagine that?! Potential clients approaching you with no marketing effort whatsoever!
Even though I only take on a handful of clients a year, I am regularly doing talks to students and parents at schools as well as being the wellness speaker at other nutrition and parenting related events. I thoroughly enjoy these as I can reach many people in a short time. I am also busy putting together school programs/workshops for kids which I hope to launch in the near future. You see, with this qualification and with the state of health being what is it, there is much to be done! You can see my full list of services here.
I can sum it up like this…
My year at IIN was an incredibly uplifting and empowering experience.
I have absolutely no regrets.
It was money very well spent.
I am using what I learned at IIN everyday, and in all that I do.
(I actually miss the weekly lectures!)
Interested? What next?
As an Ambassador, I can offer you a HUGE tuition discount. Please email me if you would like more information on this.
If you are interested in IIN, I suggest signing up to receive the IIN newsletters – they also announce discounted fees every now and then and this is what finally pushed me to enroll sooner than I was planning to.
By clicking on any of the images below for more info, you can subscribe to the mailing list and I will be marked as your referral – this qualifies you for the Ambassador tuition discount.
If you phone to enroll or to ask for more information, mention “Ambassador Savings Offer” along with my name you to qualify for the discounts.