How my photography business led me to become a health and wellness coach + Advocate.


During my entire high school career and even prior, I was fascinated with photography. My parents not only supported but highly encouraged me to follow my heart and study to become a professional photographer. My spare time was spent driving through the countryside of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, watching behind-the-scene photoshoots, soaking in beautiful imagery in fashion magazines, and falling in love with the process of printing my own work. I wanted nothing more than to become a professional photographer. What I didn't account for was how following my creative heart would end up causing me excessive weight gain and loss of myself. 


In complete transparency, my photography business wasn’t the only factor in my weight gain and downward spiral, but it played a greater role than I realized. My lack of a healthy lifestyle started in college as does for most. The first time of being on my own - making my own eating decisions and finding other distractions that kept me from being active. I might have used the gym once and floated in the dorm pool twice.


Like most college kids I ran on caffeine and poor decision-making when it came to food which would carry out into my early years of adulthood. This "lifestyle" only continued to become increasingly poor when I returned home from college and began building my photography business. Pouring my heart and soul into my business meant my health + wellness would fall to the back burner. As my business gained traction and success the scale increased until I hit rock bottom on the floor of our closet. I had nothing to wear and knew it was time to overhaul my lifestyle if I wanted to live a life beyond my wildest dreams.  


True to form, I attempted a fad diet after fad diet. It wasn't until I had an honest heart to heart with myself that I reached out for help and began a 12-week clean eating program with the help of a coach. In those 12-weeks I transformed every aspect of my life starting by adding my name to the ever-growing daily to-do list. On the surface, this appears selfish, but putting myself first allowed me to serve my clients, family, and friends better because I was feeling fulfilled. At the end of the 12-weeks, I lost 20 pounds and found an incredibly strong love for health and wellness. 


When the 12-week program wrapped up, I quickly noticed a newfound love for health and wellness and I was hungry to learn more. A crazy chain of events sparked the idea to enroll in a year-long holistic health coaching program with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). Attending IIN was the perfect program for me allowing me to run my photography business and attend classes virtually around my schedule and from the comfort of my own home.


Attending IIN, pushed me to question how I approached my own health and wellness as well as how I help my clients approach their health and wellness. It’s not about a one-size-fits-all lifestyle and I truly learned how to look beyond food and movement to connect the dots with other areas of my life that were causing discord which affected my weight, lack of energy, and struggles for balance. 


I was able to learn over 100 different dietary theories that pushed me to think differently and beyond fad diets or the diets that are pushed out by main-stream media. Several modules encouraged you to examine your relationship with personal development, self-care, spirituality, relationships, and career all of which I pushed to the back burner when building my photography business.   


HOW IIN WORKS:


The set-up for attending IIN is pretty genius. You are able to log-on and attend class at any time of the day. A new module is presented weekly and includes classes on dietary theories, methods of movement, how to coach your clients, and business development.  


When I attended back in 2012, we attended coaching calls with a moderator to help keep us on track and coached us to be the best coach we could be. 


WHO IS IIN FOR? 

I truly believe that anyone can benefit from IIN if you have an interest in health and wellness. For me, I was curious to have a better understanding of how my mind, body, and spirit played into my relationship with food and movement. Attending IIN pushed me to reconnect with the areas of my life that deeply desired to be nourished and in turn, helped me overcome my weight challenges which I am happy to say I am 60 pounds lighter!  


WHAT ABOUT A CAREER AS A HEALTH COACH?

Attending IIN is the first step if you want to pursue a career as a health coach, but it doesn’t guarantee you’ll come out with a thriving practice. That my friend is on you! This isn’t to scare you, but the direction you take your coaching business will be based on your desires upon graduation. I have friends who have gone on to write books, incorporate health coaching into their yoga practice, or find that coaching has helped them with the loss of a loved one and is now proving grief counseling.  


Personally, I used my holistic health coaching certification as a starting point to then become a personal trainer and blogger. Honestly, the career possibilities are endless - it simply comes down to how much work you want to put into making your dreams a reality. 


Still on the fence about attending IIN? I’d happily set aside a few minutes to chat with you to answer any questions you may have. Complete the form below and we can start a conversation.