Voices of IIN is our newest content series, where we’ll talk with IIN students, graduates, and staff members who make up our diverse, vibrant, and passionate community ‒ from all over the world! IIN’s commitment to improving health and happiness is what brings us all together, and we aim to celebrate this commitment by sharing the unique stories and backgrounds of IIN change makers. Through this series, we hope to continue working toward creating a more inclusive wellness community, where all feel welcome to create a healthier life.
Flavia Machioni, who is originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil, and now lives in Toronto, Ontario, shares her personal experience with IIN’s Health Coach Training Program ‒ including why she wanted to become a Health Coach, how she’s using her education, and why she’s so passionate about sharing her knowledge with others (especially those in Brazil). To learn more, check out her website and her Instagram page.
We’d love to learn more about you – why did you decide to come to IIN?
The reason I decided to go to IIN was both personal and professional. In 2012, when I was living in Brazil, I started a blog about lactose intolerance after being diagnosed with it, providing recipes that others could use if they were also lactose intolerant. This blog, along with providing cooking classes, became my online business.
As time went by, even though I was eliminating certain foods and food groups from my diet, my symptoms weren’t getting better ‒ they were actually getting worse. I kept trying to figure out what was going on, and I was getting tired of going to doctors who couldn’t help me figure out why I was experiencing these symptoms in the first place. They were always prescribing medication and giving me hollow recommendations for what to do.
So I started to share my health journey, not only recipes and cooking classes, on the blog. People started reaching out to me to learn about and understand their own health issues, and that’s when I realized I needed some more formal training.
When I first heard about IIN’s Health Coach Training Program, I thought it could be a great way for me to further develop my health business as well as help me improve my own health ‒ and it was! My experience as a student was better than I expected. As I was progressing through the program, I became more focused, organized, and aware of myself and my health.
It was definitely the best decision I could have made!
Perspectives on Nutrition and Health Coaching
How are you using your IIN education?
I’m using it to develop my online programs and to create content for my social media accounts and websites. As I already had my business online, the Health Coach Training Program gave me the tools and concepts I needed to grow my business!
Do you know other Health Coaches practicing in your country? Is the term Health Coach well known?
Yes, many of the Health Coaches I know are also IIN alumni, and they have established great careers.
The term Health Coach is not well known yet in my home country, Brazil, but it has a huge health and wellness industry ‒ and there are so many great opportunities for people in Brazil to take advantage of that. Also, since the term is still new, it opens doors to help develop more of a larger Health Coach presence in the country.
What does being a Health Coach mean to you?
It means that I have the responsibility to help my community, and myself, be part of a health revolution.
What do you answer when someone asks you if a Health Coach is a nutritionist?
I explain that a Health Coach is not a nutritionist because we focus on areas that nutritionists usually don’t. We help our clients to see nutrition as a holistic issue, looking deeper at their health than just the food they are eating. Health Coaches work with clients on establishing routines and healthier habits, developing more self-knowledge, and emphasize bio-individuality, the IIN concept that means we all require different foods and lifestyle practices to be healthy.
I also tell them that Health Coaches can work hand in hand with nutritionists, doctors, and therapists.
How do you apply bio-individuality in your own life?
Bio-Individuality: This unique IIN concept means that we’re all different and must embrace our uniqueness to best take care of our health, from the food we eat to the environments we thrive in and everything in-between.
I listen to my body and respect it for what it needs and wants, even if that might seem “wrong.” For example, if there’s a food or drink that I know is healthy but when I eat or drink it, I don’t feel well, I understand that for me, it doesn’t work.
I do that, not only with food but also with primary food, the IIN concept that emphasizes focusing on all areas of our lives that can affect health. For example, if I have a lot of plans or new ideas for my business but I feel very tired and have difficulty keeping focused, I listen to my body and get some rest before I continue my work.
Nutrition, Healthcare and Equity in the Wellness World
If we traveled to your country, what would we find in terms of food, wellness practices, etc.?
Brazil is such a rich and diverse place. If you visit, you will fall in love!
We have so many natural and tropical ingredients full of flavor and nutrients, such as acai, pitanga, jaboticaba, caju (part of the cashew fruit) ‒ all native fruits rich in antioxidants and full of flavor. You will also find naturally gluten-free ingredients such as tapioca and cassava flour, with which we make pao de queijo (cheese bread) and farofa (toasted cassava flour). Our typical daily food (rice and beans) is very nutritious, and many traditional dishes are made out of real food.
In terms of wellness practices, you will find many yoga and meditation practices and retreats as well as many outdoor activities and sports groups. All of these activities are often surrounded by beautiful landscapes and warm people.
How do you think Health Coaches can help transform healthcare/the healthcare experience to help make “health for all” a reality?
“Health for All”: The concept embodies what is required and what it would mean for all people to achieve health, from equitable access to health resources to finding the foods, movement, environment, career, relationships, and lifestyle that work for the individual ‒ and beyond, to experiencing inclusivity and safety in one’s community and fully embracing one’s authentic self.
I think that Health Coaches are the link between doctors and/or nutritionists and the patient. We have the knowledge and tools to help the theoretical become practical. We help the client to understand themselves better and how they can adapt, organize, and implement health routines so that these become a habit.
All of that is totally personalized to our client’s needs and reality, since we all know that there’s no “one size fits all” practice.
As Health Coaches, we can make health easy, fun, and delicious for everyone!
Personal Goals for Social Impact
What is your “why”?
“Why”: This refers to one’s purpose and the reason(s) behind their chosen work.
I lost my father, after he got very ill, when I was 15 years old. Later, I learned that his disease could have possibly been prevented by changing his habits. When I found myself going his way at only 21 years old, I decided that I was going to do whatever it took to be healthier and happier. Also, I wanted to somehow protect myself and others from the suffering we all felt as a family because of my father’s disease. That’s why I want to help people live longer, happier, and healthier.
If you wanted your audience from your country to know one thing about health coaching, what would it be?
I’d love to tell all Brazilians that being a Health Coach can have a huge impact on ourselves, our families, our communities, and our country’s health.
It’s a career with infinite possibilities that allows you to work from wherever you are, in the areas you are most passionate about. You can help people to be happier, healthier, and freer.
And the best part is that you will do all of that while you become a better, happier, and healthier person.