Our Health Coach Feature series shares the inspiring stories of Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches who are cultivating positive health choices and educating others to live more wholesome lifestyles. Join us twice per month on the IIN Blog to read more about what brought our grads to IIN and what they’re up to now!
Stefanie Kleinburd is a Health Coach specializing in menstrual health and fertility. Through her personal experience and a passion for women’s reproductive health, she created a diet and lifestyle program that helps women have regular, feel-good periods and be their most fertile selves, if and when they’re ready. When she’s not coaching, Stefanie advocates for the importance of periods and shares much-needed information about the menstrual cycle through workshops, live talks, and the new podcast she cohosts, The Flow Down. Learn more at StefanieKleinburd.com and follow along @steffikleinburd.
Q: What were you doing prior to enrolling at Integrative Nutrition?
A: At that time, I was in my early twenties, and I thought I had the “healthy” thing all figured out — I was working at my dream job in the fashion industry in New York City, had a thriving social life, ate a low-fat diet, and ran for miles a day. But by 25 years old, I had stopped menstruating and was told by my doctor that I’d “probably never have a real period again” and “never get pregnant on my own.”
Q: What led you to explore the Health Coach Training Program?
A: I wasn’t ready to give up on my menstrual cycle. And I didn’t feel aligned with the only option I was given: that if I wanted to bleed monthly, I had to go on the Pill. A decade earlier, a few small changes in my diet had made a big difference in the anxiety I was feeling after 9/11. That gave me hope that nutrition could play a role in healing my cycle, but following the mainstream, one-size-fits-all diet advice hadn’t been working. I was drawn to IIN’s emphasis on bio-individuality, and the possibilities felt endless once I enrolled.
Q: How has your life changed since becoming a Health Coach?
A: Not only was I able to heal my cycle and later get pregnant with my daughter, but being a Health Coach has also meant that I get to connect on a deep level with women who are on a similar journey and coach them toward a healthy cycle or pregnancy. This type of intimate connection and the ability to help women take back control of their reproductive health to have the life they want — this is truly my dream job.
Q: Which topics and modules were most beneficial for you?
A: From nutrition to goal setting, I was so hungry for all the information I was learning at IIN. If there was one class that was most beneficial, I’d say it was Annemarie Colbin’s lesson on nutrition for women. That was the first chance I had to learn more specifically how a woman’s nutritional needs differ from a man’s. That point remains an important part of my work and message today.
Q: What does a typical day look like for you now?
A: It’s a particularly busy time right now as I’ve just launched The Flow Down. The Flow Down is a podcast all about periods, which I cohost with my friend Jessica Weiss, a journalist. My days have been looking something like this:
6am Wake up, take some deep breaths and check-in with myself, have some lemon water, and do some weights or yoga, take a walk, or more recently sneak in some work
7am Cook, then sit and chat with my daughter over a good breakfast and cup of tea
9am–12:30pm Meet with clients, meet with Jess, record episodes of The Flow Down
12pm Throw together a big salad that includes some leftover wild fish or organic chicken topped with
some homemade dressing. Eat mindfully, then take a few deep breaths outside
1–4pm Meet with clients, record, or write — I’ve just about finished writing the book that will go along
with the Know Your Cycle masterclass I lead every February.
4–8pm Quality time, then cooking and cuddling with my daughter and husband
8–10pm Clients, writing, wrap up odds and ends for work, and get organized for the next day
10pm If I feel up to it, I’ll take a bath or read. Then, it’s lights out
Q: What makes you and your practice unique?
A: I get real joy out of teaching. I spend time during coaching sessions teaching my clients how the female reproductive system works and what they need to thrive. After that, I work with my clients to see what resonated, what they feel they need in terms of food and self-care, and how they can make it happen in a way that feels good rather than stressful or forced. I think it not only feels better for the client this way but also is more effective. As a result, I love seeing the mind-sets and habits of my clients around food and self-care shift.
Q: How do you help your clients be successful? Is there a recent example that stands out for you?
A: I have an unwavering faith in my clients’ abilities to reach their goals. That type of trust and hope is key. Recently, a woman came to me devastated and hopeless after spending over a year trying to get pregnant only then to be diagnosed with PCOS and have a miscarriage after starting medication. When she didn’t believe in her body’s ability to have a healthy pregnancy, I did. Eventually, she did, too, and she recently delivered her baby girl. You can read her story of hope here.
Q: How have you seen the need for Health Coaches change over the years?
A: I’ve seen more and more people wanting to be proactive when it comes to their health. Questions like “What can I eat?” and “What can I do to feel better, to get off medication, to beat this?” are being asked more often. It’s wonderful to see Health Coaches as a resource, filling the gaps in a model where the time or knowledge to answer those questions may be lacking.
Q: What’s your tip for balancing your family, work, and personal wellness?
A: Be in the moment. If you’re with your loved ones – be with your loved ones. If you’re with yourself – be with yourself. If you’re working – be with your work. I find it hard to mentally let go of the pending to-dos when I close out the workday, so I don’t always nail it. When I do, I feel the difference in myself and my relationships with my family, so I’ll keep on trying.
Q: Tell us your favorite way to wake up each day!
A: Naturally, with my body telling me it’s energized and ready to start the day. On the weekends, though, I try to sleep in, and it’s so sweet when my daughter climbs into our bed, gives me a kiss on the cheek, and says, “Mommy, let’s wake up.”
Does this have you interested in pursing a career you're passionate about? Click here to learn more about becoming an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach today!