The IIN community is comprised of over 100,000 unique individuals from all over the world, but we all share similar stories of what IIN means to us and how it changed our lives. No matter the circumstances that brought us here, we’ve learned the journey toward health isn’t linear but rather filled with ups and downs that challenge us to grow into people who are capable of sparking real change in ourselves and others. In this series, you’ll hear from IIN students and graduates who share their inspiring stories about how IIN transformed their health, from physical to spiritual health and everything in between. These stories have the power to unite us in continuing our mission to spread the ripple effect of health and happiness, one Health Coach at a time.
Audrey is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, yoga teacher, and blogger and prides herself on being vulnerable as a means to encourage others to reach their highest potential spiritually, mentally, and physically. Audrey has seen firsthand the power in unburdening ourselves of the shame and guilt that are often attached to our pasts. She believes we can reframe these stories in order to gain back our power. She offers her clients a safe and supportive space featuring her three- and six-month programs as well as her virtual yoga classes!
Audrey’s coaching approach is fresh and fun; she believes in bio-individuality and works to help her clients find solutions tailored to their unique needs. She knows the process of reaching personal health goals starts with getting to the root of unwanted causes and that it is our birthright to live with ease, freedom, and a sense of worthiness. Audrey claims food is medicine, but radical self-acceptance is the most potent medicine of all. You can find her on Instagram @audreymsteele and at audreymsteele.com.
What was your relationship to health prior to enrolling at IIN?
"I grew up in a family dynamic that did not meet many of my emotional needs and instead encouraged a slew of unhealthy habits. My dysfunctional relationship to food and struggle with mental health started at a young age.
"My father was the pastor of an evangelical church. We grew up heavily immersed in church culture and were strictly disciplined based on those beliefs. We were taken out of sex education and evolution courses in school and were forbidden to go to friends’ houses if they had gay relatives. These are small examples of the oppression we faced. This conditioning and years of trauma caused me to normalize fearing the world outside our bubble.
"Once I was able to leave my parents’ home after high school, I felt a deep need to collect as many experiences as possible to make up for the ones I had missed. I joined an AmeriCorps team of wildland firefighters, traveled around the United States, learned how to snowboard, became a rock climbing instructor, fell in and out of love, and explored the wild idea I could be whoever I wanted to be. This time of exploration, though filled with meaningful lessons, left me feeling like I was free falling. I developed bulimia in an attempt to gain some sense of control and completely dissociated from my body.
"Having had an unhealthy relationship to the church for so many years, I sought refuge elsewhere. I had always been told yoga was “demonic” and “sinful.” It took me months of walking by my local studio in Boston, where I was living at the time, before I summoned the courage to step inside. As I practiced, I felt my body coming back to me, nudging me to surrender. I watched my eating disorder dissipate as I began to connect, for the first time, my mind to my body.
"I received my yoga teacher training at that same studio and was encouraged to be myself, not who I was conditioned to be. The battle was not over, however. I moved out West to a ski town and quickly became immersed in its party culture. At a low, I caught myself falling asleep while working at the front desk of a yoga studio after a night of partying. I caught a glimpse of my sick body in the reflection of the studio mirrors and hardly recognized myself. This was when I realized, though I had made attempts to heal, there was still something missing."
How did you find IIN? Was it that “something” you were looking for?
"I discovered IIN through my aunt, who is an Ambassador for the Health Coach Training Program. This one seemingly small step toward wellness changed my life in a major way – IIN was the kick-start I needed to catapult me into making lasting lifestyle changes that had been missing.
"My aunt had seen into my life from a young age and was not surprised at how things had become messy in my young adult years. She offered this program to me as she knew, with the proper tools, I could empower myself to create a lasting change in my life.
"I enrolled in IIN in the spring of 2018 and have been on an incredible journey since then. The discovery of primary food – the things found off our plates that also nourish us – was like watching a sunrise; this concept illuminated the world around me, slowly and thoroughly until everything was covered in light. I didn’t realize how malnourished I was until I delved into each category and made a promise to invest in the enrichment of each one. I was determined to find balance, flow, and love in my life, and I did just that as I completed each module.
"As I worked through this program, I discovered a unique and steadfast confidence that guided me out of toxic patterns. I allowed myself an abundance of grace as I found and nurtured my inner child. I discovered spirituality on my own terms and found peace, for the first time, in spending time alone in meditation. I was no longer numbing myself, but rather showing up intently for each step of the way."
How did your IIN education transform your understanding of health, especially your emotional and mental health?
"Being force-fed a narrow view instead of accessing my own intuition took years of unlearning to undo. It was empowering to move through this course and finally be able to intuitively integrate its teachings into my life.
"Education is a powerful tool, and this program equipped me with knowledge about my body, nutrition, and key concepts that further allowed me to forge my own path to end the lineage of trauma in my family. I discovered the concept of bio-individuality – the IIN concept that we are all unique and need different foods, lifestyle practices, and environments to thrive – and let go of many views on health I had adopted that were no longer serving me.
"I started to welcome playfulness and creativity into my daily routines. I began to embody the woman I wanted to be in my relationships and took responsibility for my reactions. I put my passions first and stopped dreaming about success. Instead, I took action toward achieving my goals. These examples of primary food were my way of creating a new narrative for myself, one where I was not merely surviving but rather living a boundless and beautiful life."
What would you say was the most transformative aspect of your IIN experience?
"As my life continues to unfold, it does so now in a natural ebb and flow. It is no longer a roller coaster of madness. It is by no means perfect, but I have learned to identify my triggers and fully trust my intuition.
"The discovery that everything I needed was already inside me was truly astonishing. Though the events of my past led to years of self-destruction, I was ultimately able to forgive those who had harmed me, including myself. I found it wild how I wandered what felt like the whole world only to come home, bruised and exhausted, to my own skin. Maya Angelou once said, “When you know better, you do better.” This resonated so deeply with me as I learned of my parent’s abusive childhoods, and their parents’, and so on.
"The IIN community offered me acceptance and support as I navigated through the tough stuff and helped guide me toward healthy solutions for my individual needs. Our coaching calls were full of testimonies, advice, and nonjudgmental listening ears. In completing the program, I felt great pride in not only healing many parts of myself but in vowing to help others like me take the leap into their own self-discovery!
"Namaste and thank you, IIN!"
Health transformation will not look the same from one person to the next, and that’s what IIN is all about – encouraging you to dig deep to figure out who you truly are and what makes you truly happy, fulfilled, and healthy! Our Health Coach Training Program has transformed the lives of over 100,000 people, and YOU could be next! Learn more about what makes our innovative curriculum so life changing by downloading our free Curriculum Guide today.