Integrative Nutrition Blog

5 Unexpected Takeaways from the IIN Conference

March 7, 2016

Image via Integrative Nutrition

We are positively glowing after spending two full days with over one-thousand Integrative Nutrition students and graduates!

There is nothing quite like an Integrative Nutrition live event. Students often say the live conference is one of the best benefits of enrolling in the Health Coach Training Program. Like-minded people gathered together in one space, united by the same passion, learning from the world’s top wellness visionaries, inspiring and supporting each other… it really doesn’t get any better.

On Saturday, Integrative Nutrition Founder and Director, Joshua Rosenthal brought down the house by igniting a spirited conversation about Integrative Nutrition’s core concepts such as Bio-individuality and Primary Food. He helped our students understand that being healthy is actually quite simple and that there’s more to it than just the food we eat.  

On Sunday, students experienced something we like to call, “Medical Monday on Sunday!” with lessons on the microbiome, heart disease, the brain, fighting sugar addiction, and even stem cell research. It was IINspiring!

One of the most special things about our conference is that the experience is unique for each person who walks through the door. We hear from students all the time, “the IIN conference gave me exactly what I didn’t know I needed!” We call that synchroncity

That’s why we wanted to give you a glimpse at what the conference was like from the perspective of an attendee. So, we checked in with IIN alumna Diana Chaplin, who is a 2012 graduate. We asked her to share with us the moments from the conference that resonated with her most. She had some pretty great insights to share – check it out!

What I didn’t expect to learn at the IIN Conference
By Diana Chaplin

Integrative Nutrition was once my school, but after years of being a part of this amazing community it has evolved to become much more than that; IIN is my family. And nowhere is this connection more powerful and apparent than at live events.

I had the privilege of attending the IIN conference over the weekend and what I experienced went far beyond my expectations. 

From the very first moment of exiting the elevator into the event hall, I was welcomed with joyful greeters waving red and white pom-poms, immediately followed by hugs from classmates and friends I’ve made over the years. I felt like I entered the happiest place on earth, where everyone was kind and exuberant, equally eager to learn, grow, and share our diverse yet unified passions for wellness.

As I found my seat and got settled, I took a moment to look around the room and take in the palpable energy around me. I had the sobering realization that while I may sometimes feel isolated in sharing the message of health and happiness in my personal life or work, I am truly a part of a growing movement that is creating positive change around the world.

There’s nothing like a room full of Health Coaches to remind you that you are not alone!

I am still reeling from all the inspiration and motivation that occurred throughout the weekend, not to mention the valuable information I learned from the incredible speakers.

Here are my 5 biggest takeaways from the IIN conference:

 1. IIN’s core concepts are simple, yet revolutionary.
The first day Joshua Rosenthal, Founder and Primary Teacher of IIN, revisited some of IIN’s core concepts, including Bio-individuality, Primary Food, 90/10, and more. The concept that there’s no one diet that works for everyone, and that there is much more to health than food, may seem obvious to some but it runs counter to the majority of medical advice and how most people approach wellness and nutrition. Knowing firsthand through health coaching how these concepts can transform people from the inside out reminded me that we are onto something HUGE here, and that you don’t need a medical degree to understand it. 

2. We have much to learn from each other.
Throughout the conference we were asked to turn to one another and share our thoughts or experiences on everything from dietary preferences to fitness habits, spirituality, career, relationships, and even how we like to be “bad” from time to time. This sort of interaction is immensely powerful and reminded me that it’s not just top speakers, authors, and other professionals that I should listen to but that each of us, no matter where we are on our journey, have something valuable to offer. Through eye contact, touch, and sharing our stories we help each other understand humanity and ourselves more deeply, and that is equally as important to our education.

3. Our medical and food systems are broken, yet ripe for transformation.
We heard quite a bit about the many cracks in our current healthcare system - how doctors don’t have the time to really get to know patients, how they are quick to prescribe medication rather than lifestyle recommendations, and how frequently patients with preventable health issues aren’t given the right information about self-care or diet. Instead of getting consumed in the fate our healthcare system, at IIN we focus on solutions. We see this as a challenge, and opportunity, and evidence that Health Coaches are the missing link that could bridge the gap between doctors and patients. By sharing our wellness knowledge and inspiring others to take better care of themselves - and by becoming more integrated in conventional medical systems - we can help reduce high rates of chronic disease, obesity, and other preventable ailments.

4. We must begin with our own self-care.
While I entered the conference confident in my own health, I was humbly reminded that wellness is not something we are ever done with, it’s an ongoing process requiring constant attention. The more we are able to maintain our own self-care, the better we’ll be able to serve others. Sometimes I’m too quick to de-prioritize sleep or exercise, I ignore warning signs of imbalance in my body because I’m too “busy,” and I forget to nourish myself after depleting situations. This event and connecting with my fellow Health Coaches has gently reminded me not to let myself slip away in the process of caring for others, an important lesson I’ll be applying for weeks and months to come.

5. Mind-body medicine is not fringe science.
Several of the speakers referenced the rise of mind-body medicine as a scientifically proven and effective strategy for reducing pain or stress and improving health. Gone are the days where the medical community could stigmatize alternative healing methods as “lacking evidence” because each year provides us with new research proving that the mind, and gentle, natural intervention, is a highly effective form of healing. Of course this doesn’t mean that someone shouldn’t consult a doctor for serious illness, but it opens the door for the important work of Health Coaches, and the ability of people who need help to turn their own health around through natural healing methods such as improving their diet or lifestyle, pursuing a sense of purpose, and addressing the root of their health issues rather than simply managing symptoms.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for all the insights and knowledge I gained over the weekend! Not mentioned was the rising role of the human microbiome in our health, the helpful strategies for creating professional sustainability of Health Coaching, and essential nutrients for mental health and aging. I could go on but I’ll stop here and invite you to experience a live conference for yourself in the future, which every IIN Health Coach has the opportunity to do.  

Did you attend the conference and have any insights of your own to share? Do you agree that while our medical and food systems are broken, the world is ready for a change? Please share in the comments below! 

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