When I decided to enter the space of wellness I thought I wanted to be a fitness trainer.
I was physically active and earning money while teaching others to live the same way seemed like an easy choice. However, after a short stint of assisting a celebrity fitness trainer in Mumbai I realised that I wanted to expand my definition of wellness.
So when a friend suggested The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) to me I discovered that it seemed like a good fit.
IIN has a holistic view towards health which includes not just food, sleep and movement but everything else that nourishes us in life – including the quality of our personal and professional relationships, presence of a supportive community, a pleasant home environment – essentially joy in all areas of life seemed like the right take on personal wellness.
Of course I was the healthiest person I knew, so this would be a cake walk – I thought.
However, a few months into the course I experienced a health crisis.
While there were cues right from the beginning – a few seconds of black out in the gym, low energy, fatigue, infrequent headaches it soon snowballed into panic attacks, low blood pressure and low salt levels among other things. (Read more about that here).
This came as a shock to me – how could it happen to me?
I was eating healthy and working out regularly?
What became clear to me much later was the fact that I was living a life out of alignment with my true self.
Instead of giving myself time to explore what I needed from life and this new career I went into fear mode and decided to take up a job, even though I knew I was done with it.
Not only did I dislike the job, but also the city I was living in.
So I started using the only numbing mechanism I knew of – since my childhood – over working.
We all have our addictions when we try to escape the present moment – for some it is alcohol, drugs, sex, smoking, junk food and for some of us it is burying ourselves in work.
It took me a year and a half after IIN and a lot of work on myself to figure this out.
This had been a pattern of mine since childhood.
When I didn’t like the phase of life I was going through, I’d numb myself through work.
I used to be so proud of leading a healthy life – except that I wasn’t alive in the life I had chosen at that point. Essentially nothing was wrong with me, but everything was.
I was one of those classic cases that Joshua, the founder of IIN categorizes as people who think there is nothing wrong with them. (face palm to myself).
I still remember the day I was walking in the park after work with tears streaming down my face.
I was on the phone with my dad telling him – “I can’t do this anymore.”
I felt so broken and clueless.
A month later I quit my job and moved back to my hometown.
I felt so defeated at the time.
I knew I was meant for bigger things in life but all I felt was burn out from having to do so much.
In retrospect I realize that when we ask the Universe for a life beyond our wildest dreams, sometimes what IS has to fall apart for something better to take its place.
Early on in my work as an IIN health coach, I hit another cycle of burn out and ended up questioning myself – Why is this happening to me again?
I am doing my own work now – something that I love.
The catch was I hadn’t had a personal transformation.
I had not given myself the space to breathe.
The truth is I was doing what I thought I should be doing.
Now, as a child we are so trained in ‘shoulding’ because there is always someone telling us what’s better for us that we learn not to trust ourselves.
This is the reason I love IIN’s exploratory approach, although I hated it early on.
The reason being, I did not know how to listen to and trust my own self.
It felt absurd.
I liked the idea of what they proposed but had not been able to implement it in my life.
I was not embodying it yet because I had decades of conditioning which said – You don’t know better.
So when I started trusting myself, still afraid, a lot started coming up for me.
A surge of unfelt emotions which I had been escaping for years and then the real me – not someone who I thought I should be.
It was almost like meeting the 5 year old me and asking her what she’d want her life to look like.
As I became my own first client I would often laugh out loud in moments when I’d remember Joshua’s simplistic advice which I’d scoffed at earlier.
His words, “Given half a chance the body will heal itself by itself,” are my bible now.
The pace at which we are living life these days, we refuse to give ourselves time to be still, go within and ask ourselves what we need. Most people like me become such slaves to getting advice from diet books and experts that we forget that we are our biggest experts. If this confuses you, I know how it feels because just a couple of years back I had dismissed it as hogwash.
But it is true. I have had my biggest client breakthroughs, when I have asked them – “What do you think you need the most right now?” and then listened deeply without wanting to give them advice.
“This is really bad for the ego,” as Joshua put it.
But once my clients come up with this answer is where I step in and guide them with my knowledge.
Sometimes it is a healthy meal and sometimes it is about making a decision to let go a toxic job or a work colleague.
I meet them where they are, not where I want them to be.
Another one of the nuggets from IIN that has begun making sense to me only now.
Why? Because I don’t rush myself to reach any destination at all now.
There are so many tools I’ve learnt at IIN which are rooted in the fact that make healing about the person not the theory. I truly believe in it.
I have had countless people who have got massive breakthroughs in my free exploratory call with them.
So if my story resonates with you and you’re looking to dig deeper I know that’s where the gold lies. While the right food truly is medicine, you can’t heal with food what needs to be felt and released – your emotions.
I would highly recommend anyone who is looking to create a career in health and wellness to enroll in IIN whether you’re just a beginner or are further ahead in your journey.
This approach is unique because it is not about a theory but about the person in front of you.
In a service based career like health coaching this will make the biggest difference.
We are not carbon copies of each other that the same diet or lifestyle cannot be copied by everyone.
We need to find balance in our lives and that looks different for different people.
I would never be able to advocate IIN with such confidence had I not experienced my own transformation. The fact that I have is reason enough for me to say – if you follow the process, you will see the magic.
I cannot predict how your life will transform, but I can promise that if you’re looking for answers IIN can truly open the doors to personal transformation for you.
Since I have a lot of people reaching out to me from all over the world about my experience at IIN, I’d like to answer the questions I keep getting asked a lot:
Q.) This is a U.S. based course, will it fit the Indian context?
IIN is unique because of its exploratory approach. It doesn’t tell you exactly what to do but introduces concepts with multiple options which can then be applied for any culture – food or otherwise.
I have had Indian clients from all over the world.
While some are happy to explore new ways of eating, some choose to stick to their traditional Indian diet while exploring improvements within it.
All of them get fabulous results if they’re willing to put in the work.
Take a sample class – CLICK HERE
Q.) Do they teach enough about nutrition?
Yes. They have a gazillion dietary theories.
But what I like more is that they go beyond nutrition in the traditional sense.
Food nourishes us but so do our relationships – personal or professional.
Our home environment or our social circle – all of it contributes to our healthiest, happiest selves and this is what we delve into along with improvements in diet, sleep and movement.
In today’s world where stress is the major contributor to any physical ailment, this is such an important take on nutrition.
Have a look at the course curriculum – CLICK HERE
Q.) How soon can we start making an income after doing this certification?
You could choose to work alongside a medical practitioner – nutritionist, doctors, naturopaths or start with healing your friends and family first.
In my experience of setting up my own health coaching practice and seeing friends around me, it is your belief in what you’re doing that will set you up for success.
There are a lot of new things to be learnt as a health coach and a new business owner (if that’s the path you choose) and you have to be willing to implement what you learn, be open to making mistakes and learning from them while being patient with yourself.
Personally, I had a rough start because I was overworked and tired in my previous profession, a few of my friends started getting clients before finishing the course as they were already further ahead in their health journey.
We all have different starting points and this is why it is better to not compare ourselves to others.
We all have our ups and downs and the learning process there in.
My one piece of advice – lead with giving value and the money will come in.
Don’t do it the other way round.
Start your application process – CLICK HERE
If you’ve made it this far, I have some good news – you get a huge discount if you choose to enroll through me. Here’s what you need to do:
1.) Say “I was referred by Parul Tewari” when speaking to your IIN representative
2.) Write it down in your official admissions email and copy me in it to get up to USD 2000 off when you enroll.
Note: I get a small commission if you choose to enroll through me, with no extra cost to you. However, I spend a lot of time and effort in sharing my experience and answering questions for anyone who reaches out to me to give them an honest feedback.
BONUS: If you choose to add me as your referral at the time of your enrollment, I’d be happy to offer a free one hour coaching intensive (valued at USD 150) or a one hour intensive on how to kickstart your health coaching business (valued at USD 150) with real clients.
Q.) Isn’t IIN a huge investment? There are a lot of other cheaper coaching certifications.
It is and it will be worth all the money you put in.
IIN created the concept of health coaching.
They have the best mentors from all over the world as your teachers – Deepak Chopra, Gabby Bernstein, Mark Hyman, Nitika Chopra.
It is a deeply transformative experience which will set you apart in the world of wellness.
While I will not be able to comment on any other health coaching certifications since this is the only one I have taken, I feel when we invest in something we are invested with our time, efforts and energy as well.
Know more – CLICK HERE
If you still have more questions write to me at [email protected]