One year ago I signed up to study with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) having absolutely no idea the extreme excavation my life was about to undergo.
While there are a million online nutrition courses floating around the interwebs IIN was the one that just kept catching my eye. For one thing, a lot of my wellness heroes had completed the course; Sarah Wilson, Jessica Ainscough, Pete Evans and Melissa Ambrosini to name a few. So I started googling a bit more and digging a bit deeper. On every search I would unearth another gem and my gut feeling nagged me more.
In hindsight, I knew right from that get-go that this was the course for me but I kept dismissing the notion. Since completing my studies I have learnt to really hone in on these feelings (aka intuition) because if you are feeling something so strongly – it generally means something. For me though I was nervous. I kept nestling in to the ‘logical reasons’ to avoid signing up. Resistance (which I just wrote about over here) was trying to keep me in my safe, small world.
It’s a long shot but I am going to take a guess that you may have clicked on this link because you may have had the same feeling as well? You have no idea why, but you are being pulled to this course. I know at least some of you are feeling that way because I receive emails every week asking about my experience or just how I got to where I am. So I decided to put it all into one comprehensive post because (romance aside) as a mumpreneur I need to save time where I bloody well can!
The keynote lecture in module one was by a fellow named Joshua Rosenthal – the founder of IIN. Whether you study with IIN or not, you should get to know this fellow. He is a funny, inspirational leader in the health and wellness field and his quirky personality makes the delivery of such subjects easily devourable. In his first lecture he said “I don’t know what seems to happen to our students over this year but life just seems to get better. They have a transformation”.
I didn’t really believe him at the time but safe to say it has been a truth for me and a lot of my alumni pals.
My life then..
To describe to you how my life has transformed, let me set the pre-IIN scene. I was a hobby-blogger who was addicted to tapping away on my keyboard about sustainability and health. I dreamt of doing it full time and secretly imagined myself as the eco version of Carrie Bradshaw – sans cigarettes of course. I was a new mother to a gorgeous, nocturnal 5-month old and feeling pretty frustrated as I adjusted to my post-baby life, body and sleeping habits (or lack thereof). As I have spoken about here despite it being that happiest time of my life in a lot of ways – I was sinking fast. I was living in a suburb a long drive from any friends and family and was feeling isolated and depressed.
As the days wore on my mind kept wandering over to IIN. Just as often though nasty little thought bubbles popped into my mind. “It sounds perfect for you”. You have just had a baby – you can’t study. “I could work from my own home which would allow me to work for myself”. You could never make a living from coaching. What the hell is a health coach anyway? “I have always been interested in health and wellness”. Who is going to listen to you?! You are the heaviest you’ve ever been, have an anxiety disorder and can’t stick to a diet. Fatty. “Good point”.
My mean monkey mind defeated me every time and put a whole load of resistance in the way. I know now – as I mentioned here – that resistance is literally just a fear of success disguised as a fear of failure.
But at the peak of my lonely desperation and a few tear-filled conversations with my husband and parents I was finally given the push I needed (not to mention the support). And I was away.
My Life Now…
I actually just had to double check it had only been twelve months because it doesn’t seem possible that all the changes that have happened could of in such a small time frame.
Physically; I have more energy, my skin is better, I have lost 20kgs and I have learnt to overcome my anxiety naturally. Beyond that – as I considered myself my first client – I have managed to self-diagnose and experiment to figure out why my body was behaving in the ways it was. For example, after these bizarre rashes started appearing all over my body, I could experiment with my diet and realise that I had developed postnatal allergies to eggs!
I also figured out that what I originally thought was just feelings of aging turned out in fact to be a major digestive issue (you can read more here and here and here). I have therefore honed the right eating habits for me. This converted me from struggling-vegan to thriving-paleo.
While I had expected (and welcomed) physical changes from the course I was surprised that the biggest changes to my life have been the mental ones. My mindset has literally been transformed. Positive thinking, affirmations, morning pages and meditation are just some of the tools that have created this newly confident woman. I have learnt to remove toxic relationships, make healthy habits stick and basically stop beating myself up all the time.
My best friend of over a decade the other day told me that she is so amazed by the changes in me – I am assertive, I complete things, I focus on the bright side and I am a much better listener. Sure I still have my days where I want to pack it all in but that is okay – humans occasionally feel low!
And obviously… the career! My goal was to create an income that allowed me to work at home so that I could spend as much time with my daughter as possible. If I loved my job – bonus points. Well that has certainly happened for me. I am only just at the beginning of business journey but the business model I have created includes a bit of coaching, a whole lot of writing, running workshops, writing, collaborating with friends on online events and selling products which I have written. I am on my way to creating a passive income I am in the process of creating an exciting ecourse as wel. Did I mention writing?
How Does It Work?
So, the course is divided into three disciplines of learning; nutrition, coaching skills and fast-track (business and marketing skills). The curriculum and philosophies behind the school are the most perfect mix of alternative, scientific and just plain logical.
Virtually everything is done via an app on your phone although there is also an online dashboard with slides and a whole virtual library of resources. It worked perfectly with a baby because I would download the lectures and then go for a long walk with Boog in the pram; one of the only places I can get her to stop and relax. Exercise + quiet time + study, all at the same time = Winning. This was the way that I managed to complete the course while being a fulltime mum.
Every three months there is a multiple choice exam and there are also 6 – 12 group coaching phone calls to discuss your successes, challenges and ideas with classmates and a coach. These calls can be scheduled for any hour of the day or night (and they are via a free conferencing system!).
What Were My Fave Bits About the Course?
It all sounds very gushy, but IIN does not feel like study at all. Every single lecture feels like a TEDx talk. My husband loved it when I studied at night because he got to listen in – they are genuinely entertaining.
The lecturers are as diverse as they are credible. They range from authors, doctors, professors, activists, farmers, spiritual leaders, journalists and even the former-heir to the Baskin Robbins throne. Some of them are science-based and factual while others are deliciously quirky and have a more alternative attitude. They cover the entire spectrum of dietary theories (from vegan to paleo to raw to nutritarian). They will confuse, confront and challenge you. They will inspire you to think and question. They will drive you to learn and evolve.
I have added many heroes to this little old pinterest board since discovering them in these lectures.
Easily the highlight of this year. After a fairly intensive crash course in bullying through my school years, I have held on to a lot of feelings of ‘not belonging’. That feeling has gone up in a poof of smoke and been replaced with some of the closest in sync friends I have ever had not to mention everyone else!
Locally I have struck up close friendships that are never short on conversation – friends that I have mentioned here and here and here. Globally I have a whole group of Skype dates, pen pals, supportive business contacts, ever-encouraging mentors and industry buddies in every city!
Some of your relationships will evolve organically. For example I met one of my to-the-moon-and-back-besties Claire over Instagram! I hooked up with this other beauty, Miss Vegan Sparkles, through a coffee date. Some of the relationships are structured by IIN and you can be as involved as you like. The relationships form in all sorts of ways – Facebook groups, your own mentor, your own peer coach or the beautiful staff at IIN. Or none. Or all of the above.
- It is a 1 year course: 40 modules (1 module per week), 4 exams and 4 two-week study breaks
- You complete the course at your own pace. One module is released each week and you have access to them for 2 years after your course has been completed**. There were weeks when I was behind… hell, occasionally there were months when I was behind!… but it is all totally catch-uppable.
- The lecture times vary each week. Some weeks you’ll be done in 90 minutes others will take 4 or 5 hours.
- The course costs between $5 – $6K** which I paid off with monthly instalments (they have a variety of payment plans).
- All course requirements are completed online except the group coaching calls which are via a free conference system.
- You are certified to start working as a coach after 6 months. Myself and many of my friends have started making money before officially graduating.
- There are several intakes over the year. If you sign up to my newsletter here I always mention when the next intake is and what discounts or special offers IIN have for that month (you can save up to $1000 off).
- You also have the option of completing an extra 6 months of immersion free. This is an additional course that really cements your business knowledge.
So there it is in its entirety. Twelve months of change condensed into one blog post. By far one of my favourite experiences in life so far. I can’t wait to use even more of the tools this course has gifted me and send some healthy, happy ripples into the world.
If you want to enquire with IIN about how to become a health coach you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and mentioned that Emily Ehlers sent you. I am also beyond happy to answer any questions that you may have about the course in the comments below or give me a ring-a-ding ding over at email@example.com
NOTE: I would also like to state – as I do whenever anyone sends me an email enquiring about the course – that I am a health ambassador for IIN. All students that study IIN are eligible to become ambassadors which is an affiliate system where I get paid a commission if anyone signs up through me. This being said, I would only ever promote something that I wholeheartedly believe in. Everything I have written above is a true representation of the effect IIN has had on my life.
**This was the terms and conditions when I completed my course in April 2014 – you would need to confirm with IIN if this is still the case.