Career Series: Becoming an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach

integrative nutrition health coach

So you want to pursue your passion in wellness and nutrition, or maybe you’re considering becoming an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Now what?

That’s exactly where I was just a few years back. I had reached a cross road in my corporate job and my options were to start looking for other jobs in the digital marketing field or finally figure out how to put my passion for health into action. Being the risk taker that I am (well, some may just call it stubbornness!), I decided to jump in head first and pursue my dreams.

How did I know I felt called to health and nutrition?

Ya’ll, it’s been in my blood since I can remember. In high school when girls were eating turkey slices and carrot sticks, I was reading up on the latest health magazine to see what the latest trends and research were.

Friends and family would often come to me with questions and I was secretly writing them meal plans with the limited knowledge I had. Shhh… don’t tell anyone I didn’t know what I was doing! I can remember longing to be able to help them with confidence.

Looking back though, I feel like a fraud because I wasn’t walking my talk.

I didn’t have the “normal” problem of needing to lose weight. I was just trying to keep weight on, but I wasn’t fueling my body in the right way. I was an avid cross country runner and would frequently scarf down Cuban sandwiches before practice because I was living in this fear mentality that I was too thin. Ice cream before bed every night? Hit me!

This was a huge insecurity of mine that I feel some people don’t understand because maybe they don’t relate to it. But hey, we all own our stories, right? Couple this with acne that had plagued me since I was in middle school and had me trying almost every antibiotic on the market. It was a recipe for self-esteem disaster and I only got temporarily relief after each round of Accutane (yes, I did it twice).

From high school I went on to become a personal trainer in college. I thrived in an environment where I was able to work with clients’ one-on-one to reach their goals. Having a part to play in their journey towards transformation which led to increased confidence and healthier habits was such an honor for me and it fueled my passion even more.

Having graduated with a marketing and communications degree (since I thought I wanted to be an event planner), I enrolled in a distance-based dietetic program after interning with a Registered Dietitian in college two days after completing my undergraduate degree. I thought if I wanted to be in the nutrition world, becoming a registered dietitian was my ticket so sign me up!

Two semesters in, I put a pause on the program. I was loving my full-time job in marketing and having to switch gears to biochemistry online every night felt nearly impossible. I was barely making it by and started to question if this was the right path for me.

My journey towards becoming an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach

Four years into my corporate job I was feeling an itch. No, not that kind of itch! I was experiencing a shift in my role and knew that I was at a crossroad. I either needed to start looking for other digital marketing jobs or figure out a way to put my passion for health and nutrition into action.

I applied for a few marketing jobs in the health and wellness space, one of which was for an influencer in the space. I didn’t get that job, which was a blessing because I realized I didn’t want to work for someone like that, I wanted to be that person!

I wanted to be a person of influence that was making a difference in people’s lives. When people came to me for advice, I wanted to know how to confidently help them. My desire was to guide people on their own transformative journey just as I did as a personal trainer, but in a more holistic way.

After doing some research, I was quickly drawn to the program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). I saw the panel of experts that were a part of the program along with the many inspiring career paths the graduates were taking and I was sold.

I wasn’t sure what exactly my future career as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach would look like, but I knew IIN was going to lay the strong foundation that I needed. I craved a title behind my name and the confidence and validity that a reputable program could provide.

I enrolled in September 2015 and never looked back (quite literally). I knew I was headed in the right direction because within the same week I was also offered two jobs that would provide me the income I needed to bridge the gaps after leaving my corporate job.

Let me tell you, going from a cozy full-time salary with benefits to making just over minimum wage jobs that were physically demanding were incredibly hard on my self-esteem. But looking back, it’s a shift that I’m incredibly grateful for as I learned so much in the transition period!

The year that I was enrolled in IIN feels like a complete blur. There is so much information shared, but all within bite-sized pieces so that you’re not overwhelmed. It’s a completely realistic program whether you have a full-time job or you decide to go out on a limb like I did. Aside from giving me the tools I needed to confidently pursue a career in holistic health, IIN provided a community that is spread all over the world that supports and encourages along the way. I have continued to make many new connections and form amazing friendships with other IIN coaches post-graduation!

I knew that my career would be jumpstarted while enrolled in the program. What I didn’t expect was how my own personal health would be transformed. I was introduced to a whole new way of living and I finally started to understand what a nutrient-dense lifestyle really looked (and felt like). The mindfulness connection of how we eat and how foods affect the body became real to me and I noticed a shift in my energy, confidence and self-esteem. My skin was finally blemish-free (for the most part) and the heaviness I felt from working behind a desk all day at my corporate job was gone. This transformation was expedited by the fact that I was also working in a juice bar where I was consumed with exploring the world of plant-based foods.

When people ask me if I would enroll in IIN all over again, my answer is absolutely, yes. It was what I needed, when I needed it and I’ve been able to connect with some of the most incredible people as a result of the program. Becoming certified as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach gave me the confidence I needed to begin working with clients and jumpstarted my career in holistic health. I’m incredibly grateful for the teachers, coaches and programs that have been put on my path to bring me to where I am today.

Stay tuned for more career series posts coming your way where I’ll talk about how I got my business started as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, a glimpse into my career today (and my dreams for the future!), the other programs that I’ve graduated from to expand my knowledge and expertise, and even how I started this very blog.

If you’ve made it to the end of this post, thank you for following along! Hopefully I’ve inspired you to pursue something in your life you’ve been too afraid to start. The only person getting in the way of making your dreams a reality is YOU!

Want to learn more about IIN and the process of becoming an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach? Get a sneak peek of the health coach training program curriculum, here.

Are you ready to get serious about your health goals and learn how to make nutritious changes in a simple way that will lead to increased confidence and energy? Let’s chat!

This post is an update from my original post on why I chose the Institute for Integrative Nutrition that I wrote when I was first starting out on this journey. You can check out this post, here!

-Carly Paige

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Hi! I’m Carly Paige, a culinary nutrition expert and chef who believes that healthy doesn’t have to be frustrating, boring or restrictive. I’m here to show you how through my Simply Swapped Method so that you can feel more energized and confident from within. You’ll find tips for focusing on nutrition in the kitchen, along with plant-powered, gluten-free recipes that proves healthy can be delicious.