May 3, 2019

Health Coach Feature: How Stefanie Jung’s Relationship with Food Led Her to Become a Health Coach

Stefanie Jung is a holistic health and wellness coach focusing on helping women heal their relationship with food and their body. Having struggled with an eating disorder when she was younger, she is deeply passionate about teaching women to embrace and accept themselves unconditionally. Stefanie is also a 200h certified yoga teacher, an advocate of wholesome eating, and an eco-conscious warrior.

Please answer the questions below:

Q: What were you doing prior to enrolling at Integrative Nutrition?
A: I was working as a junior business development manager for a juice cleanse company in Switzerland and running my blog on the side.

Q: What led you to explore the Health Coach Training Program?
A: For much of my late teens, I struggled with an eating disorder. I had tried working with therapists and psychologists, but nothing seemed to resonate with me. Then by chance, I stumbled across the work of a holistic Health Coach who had gone through a severe eating disorder herself. It was the one-on-one coaching with her, someone who had gone through exactly what I had experienced and someone who could offer a safe, nonjudgmental space, that I slowly started healing my own relationship with food and my body. After years of healing work, I came to the realization that I, too, wanted to use my personal experience to coach other women struggling with disordered eating, body dysmorphia, and body hate. And that’s when I found IIN.

Q: How has your life changed after becoming a Health Coach?
A: It changed in two big ways. First, I learned so much more about myself, and IIN truly was the missing piece in my healing journey. Second, it’s allowed me to turn my personal experience into a tool to help other people. That to me is the greatest gift possible. I’m a big believer in your mess being your message, and by coaching women going through what I have gone through, I am empowering not only myself, but also them, to take control of our lives and ownership over our happiness.

Q: Which topics and modules were most beneficial for you?
A: I absolutely loved being exposed to so many different perspectives about nutrition and lifestyle choices. It allowed me to stay open-minded and experiment on my own body in order to discover my personal blueprint and understand what works best with me. I use the same approach with my clients and encourage them to tap into their intuition when it comes to food choices. This is especially important for clients who have a history of restrictive eating, and it is absolutely beautiful to watch them go from fad dieting and calorie counting to intuitive eating.

Q: What does a typical day look like for you now?
A: My schedule varies from day to day as I’m currently doing a master’s degree on the side, but my nonnegotiables include daily movement (I love HIIT and yoga), a small meditation, eight hours of sleep, and getting fresh air. In terms of coaching work, I have to be incredibly flexible with my schedule as I have a lot of international one-on-one clients and do both early-morning and late-night client calls. When I don’t have clients, I focus on creating blog content and writing guest features. I also just released my first free 14-day journal guide to help women heal their relationship with food and their body.

Q: What makes you and your practice unique?
A: What makes my practice unique is that I’ve been down the same path that my clients are on. I offer a safe and nonjudgmental space for them to release their deepest fears and emotions, and I pose thought-provoking questions that allow them to unearth their limiting beliefs, triggers, and self-destructive habits with a sense of curiosity and kindness. Essentially, clients can consider me their personal professional self-love cheerleader who’s there with them throughout their journey, every step of the way.

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I don’t push one specific lifestyle or recovery way but instead empower my clients to find their own path to their happier, healthier self.

Q: How do you help your clients be successful? Is there a recent example that stands out for you?
A: One of the biggest breakthrough moments that I see my clients have early on is when they throw out their scale. For many of them, this is an incredibly scary step, but it is needed to finally surrender to the process and let go of years of restriction and control. Once freed from the obsession around numbers, we are able to start focusing on rebuilding the relationship with their body from the ground up.

Q: What do you love about your work?
A: It is incredibly rewarding to give back to others who are stuck in the same vicious cycle of self-loathing, body hate, and disordered eating where I once found myself. Seeing someone overcome these inner demons is hands down what I love most about this work!

Q: How have you seen the need for Health Coaches change over the years?
A: I think more and more people are waking up to the importance of mental health in their health and wellness journey. Unfortunately, issues with disordered eating and body dysmorphia continue to be on the rise, and the media and beauty industry certainly aren’t helping. As such, Health Coaches have a unique opportunity to help guide people before their mental health reaches a detrimental point. I see the work of a Health Coach as a supplement to, and bridge between, doctors, therapists, psychologists, and other healthcare professionals in a stressful and fast-paced world that makes taking care of ourselves increasingly difficult.

Q: What’s your tip for balancing your family, work, and personal wellness?
A: I’m not sure if there truly is such a thing as balance, but I certainly believe in boundaries. While balance comes and goes in phases throughout our lives, boundaries are nonnegotiable principles that help us stay true to who we are and prioritize the things that are most important to us. Implementing boundaries means saying no to things that don’t serve you and don’t light your soul on fire, and going full-steam ahead with things that are a big fat YES! Boundaries also help us communicate our needs and wants to other people in a way they understand and ultimately make finding balance a more manageable task. For me, boundaries include such things as saying no to going out for drinks when I’d rather have a #SelfCareNight in by myself and not letting social activities get in the way of my training routine.

Q: Tell us your favorite way to wake up each day!
A: In an ideal scenario, I meditate in bed with my partner for 10–15 minutes, journal for a bit, then head for a workout, and have breakfast at home before settling into the workday. I don’t always have time for all three practices in that order, but the most important thing for me is to start my day with intention and purpose, whichever way that looks like.

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