Heather Shannon: Bridging the Gap Between Nutrition and Mental Health

Traditional therapy is often associated with looking to the past to find an explanation for a behavior, emotion or thought process. The concept of coaching differs in that clients are encouraged to take action in the present and strive for a healthier future, as opposed to dwelling on the past.

Heather Shannon, a 2011 graduate of the Health Coach Training Program from Chicago, had a background in psychotherapy before enrolling. When she graduated, she opened her practice Health and Wellness Counseling Associates of Chicago. She works with people who, if they’re lucky enough to realize it now, are in desperate need of health coaching: over-worked, over-stressed young adults. Heather has realized the importance of prioritizing health and gaining a strong sense early on, taking action in the present to create a future with endless possibilities.

How has your life changed since graduating from Integrative Nutrition?

Health Leadership Award: Introducing Integrative Nutrition to Israel

This week, in honor of Father’s Day, I am delighted to present the Health Leadership Award to my colleague and friend, Alok Zohar Zemach Wilson. A graduate of the class of 2000, Zohar left a lucrative career in advertising to pursue a passionate career in health and nutrition coaching. He has since founded two holistic health centers – one in New York and another in Israel – while raising his beautiful daughter, Amor. He also translated my book into Hebrew and has consistently spread the school's mission to bring health and happiness to the world. I am grateful to have shared my journey in health with Zohar, and I was lucky to have the opportunity to thank him in-person, at the Integrative Nutrition conference in London.

Integrative Nutrition Reviews: Beyond Sugar Shock

Welcome to the latest installment of Integrative Nutrition Reviews, where we consider books, movies, and other media related to health, food, and personal wellness. Want to suggest something for us to review? Post it in the comments!

Millions of Americans are overweight, wanting to shed extra pounds in order to look and feel better, but find themselves struggling with their weight loss efforts due to serious sugar addiction. 

Connie Bennett, IIN graduate and best-selling author of Sugar Shock, has released another book, Beyond Sugar Shock, which details a 6-week plan to help readers break free of sugar addiction and create a life that’s sweeter, more delicious, and more fulfilling than any sugar-laden treats. Connie describes this new life as “sweeterlicious”.

Connie reveals the truth behind sugar addiction, including her own personal experience, explaining that most sugar addicts are entrapped in negative thought patterns. They focus more on body image than the actual mental processes that lead to unhealthy food choices in the first place.

London IINternational Conference Recap

This past weekend, Joshua Rosenthal, Founder and Director of Integrative Nutrition, travelled to London, England for the first ever IINternational Conference. Held at the beautiful event space, Altitude 360, the conference was an intimate gathering of members from our community. Joshua defined Integrative Nutrition as a global community whose mission is to bring health and happiness to the world.

This rare opportunity was organized by IIN students, Luisa Kerdel Blatnik and  Amanda Cook who took the initiative to create a space where they could invite others to study with Joshua live, in a personal setting.

Saturday was dedicated to class time with an emphasis on creating community, strengthening coaching skills and building your practice. Sunday’s focus was building new partnerships, connecting with your vibrant community and exploring London, one of the most exciting cities in the world.

Amanda wrote a detailed recap of her inspirational experience over the past weekend at the London IINternational Conference. You can read the entire post, Conscious, mindful entrepreneurs: get ready to live a life beyond your wildest dreams, on Amanda’s website, Wellpreneur Online.

Webinar with Dr. Joel Fuhrman: How to Eat to Live

It’s no secret that the obesity epidemic is still looming over our health. But there’s hope: at the forefront of the health and wellness movement are IIN’s esteemed faculty, who are all committed to reversing the healthcare crisis.

One of them, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, is a leading expert in nutritional and natural healing. His New York Times bestseller, Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, shows you how to reverse disease, lose weight naturally, reduce high blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and prevent heart disease and cancer – all without relying on drugs or fad diets.

Building Healthy Bones with Irma Jennings

Our bones are crucial for optimal health and longevity, yet we don’t spend nearly enough time learning about how they affect our overall wellbeing, and how to support them. Irma Jennings, a 2004 graduate of the Health Coach Training Program, claims her bones are the strongest they’ve ever been, at age 60! Her first career was financing infrastructure for roads, bridges, tunnels, and schools, building infrastructure for our cities and states. Now as a Holistic Bone Coach, she works on the infrastructure of her clients: their bones.

Irma, who lives in New Hope, PA, enrolled at Integrative Nutrition as a result of her own health issues. Now she has a thriving practice, Food For Healthy Bones, helping others build strong bones through eating well and living a healthy lifestyle. This interview highlights Irma’s work, and the unique niche market she has created for herself.

The Myth of the Perfect Health Coach

Many of us have a very specific idea of what a Health Coach looks like. We imagine them as fairly young, attractive, fit, healthy, and happy. If it were any other way, would they still be in a position to guide others on the path to wellness?

While it’s certainly true that Health Coaches should walk the walk when it comes to having a healthy lifestyle, there’s more to the story. Not all Health Coaches started out in peak physical condition, knowing the nutritional benefits of kale or how to best motivate others. In fact, many of Integrative Nutrition’s students enroll with the primary goal of addressing their own health concerns.

Weight loss, digestive distress, autoimmune disease, and depression are just a few examples of the health challenges that are stabilized or even conquered by IIN’s graduates. Many continue on their healing journey - even as they begin to work with clients - and this experience puts them in the unique position to help others with a similar struggle.

Health Leadership Award: Cooking up Advocacy for At-Risk Youth

This week, I am grateful to have the opportunity to present the Health Leadership Award to 2011 graduate Alissa Bilfield. She is the co-founder of The Cookbook Project, a non-profit that provides underserved youth with experiential education in food culture, cooking, and sustainability. The organization is growing immensely, and is now gaining international recognition. Alissa even had the opportunity to meet with Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” staff in Washington, DC! Her success is an inspiration to all of us striving to create sustainable change.

Listening to Life’s Whispers

I actually heard about IIN six years before I enrolled, at a Kripalu Center yoga retreat. I can remember reading Joshua’s book - hesitantly at first, and then wholeheartedly - realizing that this was it! Working with various food justice organizations in Boston and Oakland, I saw a real need for teaching at-risk youth about healthy eating, cooking, and lifestyle choices. I also had the experience of traveling abroad and witnessing the disturbing extent to which the industrialized food system was being exported. I wanted to formalize my own studies through IIN so that I could help young people around the world to become empowered to be healthy, support their communities and help to safeguard the environment through their everyday food choices.

Are You Productivity-Obsessed?

The mantra of success these days seems to be "more and faster." As professionals raise productivity to be the highest standard of achievement, we find ourselves wondering if the drive to maximize efficiency is hurting more than helping.

This week, The New York Times explored the idea of productivity as it relates to the economy. Author Tim Jackson argues that we are running, no sprinting, ourselves out of our jobs, and simultaneously depriving ourselves of quality, artisan products. We live by metrics instead meticulousness, by timers instead of talent, and the toll isn't just on the economy and production, but on ourselves.

It's hard to take a step back and relax when we believe that industriousness is the only way to reap rewards, but neglecting rest and leisure time is an ideal recipe for burnout. Work-a-holic behavior can lead to fatigue, insomnia, joylessness, irritability, and can even trigger chronic diseases that will ultimately reduce productivity.

The Road to Wellness: Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway

Sara Seinberg, who recently graduated from the Health Coach Training Program in May, was stuck. She was working a good job, and doing some freelance writing and photography, but her health was a different story. For her 40th birthday she made a big move and signed up for a marathon. Recognizing a powerful inner strength upon completing the race, she made the decision to get her health back on track, and the rest is history.

Sara is one of the most creative and authentic Health Coaches I’ve encountered, and she has a real knack for relating her own story to how she now helps others. She coaches people, out of her San Francisco practice, Seinberg Holistic Health Coaching, around nutrition, but also emotional eating and self-awareness. I got a chance to catch up with her recently, and her method of developing the inner critic into a useful tool, and her ability to attract the right clients are fascinating. This interview highlights her successful journey and what she’s up to now.

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