Annika Schimmer is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and the blogger behind 50 Shades of Avocado. She coaches clients one-on-one and recently published her first cookbook, ENJOY. Annika moved from Germany to New York City ten years ago to pursue a career as a professional dancer. After she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and her life was turned upside down, she decided to look for a holistic approach to manage her symptoms. After changing her diet and lifestyle, she became symptom-free for the first time in years. She now shares her experience to help others take charge of their own health. Learn more about Annika on her website and Instagram.
Q: What were you doing prior to enrolling at Integrative Nutrition?
A: I was working as a professional dancer, mainly teaching children and adults how to do ballroom/social dance, and also teaching Pilates. At the same time, I was running my food and lifestyle blog, 50 Shades of Avocado.
Q: What led you to explore the Health Coach Training Program?
A: In 2015, I drastically changed my diet and lifestyle to tackle my health problems of struggling with rheumatoid arthritis and allergies. The experience was so incredibly empowering that I wanted to share what I had learned with the world and encourage others to take charge of their health. I started to blog about my new food choices and living a healthy and happy life. But I knew I needed to get the proper education to be able to help more people.
Q: How has your life changed since becoming a Health Coach?
A: The year studying at IIN was very transformational. Constantly exploring and working on different areas of my life has been life-changing. That whole experience really showed me how powerful health coaching really is. IIN gave me the confidence to write a book, which is something I never thought I would do, and that experience has helped me grow so much.
Q: Which topics and modules were most beneficial for you?
A: Topics on single-pointed focus, primary food, and then of course all the tools on how to actually coach a client. Plus, hearing over and over again that you are good enough and know enough to help others made me feel calm and confident during my first session with a client.
Q: What does a typical day look like for you now?
A: Right now, I am recovering from the aftermath of writing a book, and the last few months have pretty much consisted of grocery shopping, cooking, food photography, and editing the whole day. Before that, I would typically get up around 9am and make a large breakfast. The rest of the day would vary. I don’t like a rigid schedule, so a lot of variety works well for me. I still teach dance classes, I coach, and I spend a lot of time on research, recipe development, and food photography for my blog. The only consistent thing is my sleep. I always sleep 8–9 hours.
Q: What makes you and your practice unique?
A: I manage my autoimmune disease following the autoimmune protocol (AIP). I also took another certification after graduating from IIN and became a certified autoimmune Paleo coach to help people with autoimmune diseases. I naturally attract a lot of people with food restrictions due to my story. When it comes to dietary changes, I am very relatable. I used to think giving up certain foods would take away all happiness in my life, and I know from my own experience how hard it is at first. But I am the living proof that it is possible. Through my own journey and struggles, I learned a lot that I can share with my clients.
Q: How do you help your clients be successful? Is there a recent example that stands out for you?
A: I like to focus on solutions not problems and on mind-set shift. Having a positive attitude in my opinion makes everything in life so much easier. I also like to focus on practical tips, like teaching someone how to cook, grocery shop, etc. One important step that I take with all my clients is to troubleshoot their schedule and figure out ways they can rethink their normal routine to be able to make lifestyle changes possible. I have observed that small tweaks can make a huge difference.
Q: What do you love about your work?
A: I love working with people and being able to share what I am passionate about on a daily basis. Helping others at the same time truly is a blessing.
Q: How have you seen the need for Health Coaches change over the years?
A: I believe that more and more people are worried about their health or seeking to live a healthy life. But it can be quite overwhelming to navigate through all the different opinions and diets, etc. Health coaching really helps bridge the gap and guide people through it all. Another aspect is that a lot of people know the basics of what they should be doing differently to be healthier but somehow cannot do it. Or people get a list of things to do from their doctor but don’t know how to go about it. That is one aspect where a Health Coach comes in and helps a person implement those changes into their life.
Q: What’s your tip for balancing your family, work, and personal wellness?
A: It is honestly something that I constantly have to work on and get better at. When you love what you do so much, it is easy to totally get lost in it. That is what happened to me while writing my first cookbook. I am excited to find my way back to incorporating a daily self-care routine. I think one thing that helped me a lot in the past is to start saying no to more things and making sure to make time for personal wellness. That is usually the first aspect that I neglect.
Q: Tell us your favorite way to wake up each day!
A: I love to start my day with thinking about all the things I am grateful for. It sets the tone for the entire day.
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