Published:
November 22, 2021
Last Updated:
November 24, 2021

International Voices of IIN: Kara Williams, on Helping Families Feel Whole and Healthy

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.

Kara Williams is from Newcastle, New South Wales, a short two-hour drive north of Sydney. She lives in the beachside town with her two kids and her husband. Kara earned a bachelor's degree in education and worked for seven years in teaching before deciding to study at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and launch her own health coaching business.

This desire stemmed from having her own health issues, watching her firstborn experience health issues, and struggling to get the support she needed from traditional medical practitioners. A few years later, she’s now running her own successful health coaching business, helping mums with young kids prioritize their time; get organized; create a budget; meal prep; and cook healthy, nutritious, family-friendly meals. To learn more, check out her website and Instagram page.

1. Origin Story

We’d love to learn more about you – why did you decide to come to IIN?

I didn’t grow up in a particularly health-conscious family. In my teens, I was diagnosed with endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). I didn’t take the diagnoses or the rest of my health too seriously. I entered my early 20s not knowing how to cook or how to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle, and I didn’t take the time to learn.

However, as things started to worsen in my early 20s and the desire to start a family came about, I started to make some small changes. But it wasn’t until my daughter was born that things really changed. She went limp in my arms at 9 months old ‒ a terrifying experience for 25-year-old new mum. It was her struggles with asthma that first made me get more serious about our health, but when eczema and digestive issues started a few years later, it kicked our journey into overdrive.

I began sharing our journey on Instagram; people began asking me questions and for advice, and I was more than happy to talk about it! I had flipped our lives and completely changed things and had become really passionate about it. This is when I realized that I really loved doing this and decided I wanted to study something health and wellness related.

At the time of this decision, I had a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old and was still working part-time in a school. A very wise friend of mine encouraged me not to start on another large degree, because life was busy. This is when I came across IIN. I spoke to a few people who had studied at IIN, and they gave it rave reviews. The 12-month program seemed like the perfect fit for my lifestyle while still helping me achieve what I wanted.

2. Perspectives on Nutrition and Health Coaching

How are you using your IIN education?

When I first started studying at IIN, I always had the intention to launch my own business. That was my goal from day one. At the six-month mark of the program, when you can start practicing as a Health Coach, I started making deliberate decisions to set up my business.

I hired a graphic designer to do my branding, website, and photos. So by the time I hit graduation, I was launching my health coaching business. I am still running that business and primarily work with busy mums with young kids, and I couldn’t love it more!

What about your IIN education inspired you the most?

I absolutely loved learning about the Blue Zones and the concept of the moai. It was the part of the program that influenced me the most.

There are very few places in the world that have been labeled a Blue Zone, which is where there are very low rates of chronic illness and the longest life expectancy. The concept of the moai is unique to Blue Zone areas, and it’s a group of lifelong friends that band together to support each other through all aspects of life. It’s essentially finding a group of people to support you in nourishing yourself through primary food, one of IIN’s core concepts!

What does being a Health Coach mean to you?

Being a Health Coach means being a supportive mentor to help you achieve your best life. It isn’t about providing some magic formula; it's about getting to know you individually and personally in order to really know you and your goals, encourage you, help you through the tough times, and provide you with the most accurate and trusted information. As a Health Coach, I really want to see my clients thrive in a way that is long lasting.

How do you apply bio-individuality in your life? Your clients’ lives?

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.

woman sitting outside with mug in front of plant

This is such an important concept for my clients. No single person is the same, nor is any family the same. Whether you have one child or six; whether you work part-time, full time, or not at all; whether your budget is large or small ‒ there are so many variables that influence who we are and who our families are.

I follow the main concepts outlined in the IIN training. I offer all new clients a free initial call, and before this call, they complete an online health history that I have modified to specifically target mums with young kids. This process allows me to really understand who they are and what their goals are and if I’m the right fit for them. If I’m not, I will refer them on; if I am, we will book their sessions. This is really the start of applying bio-individuality.

Once we commence sessions together, everything is personalized to their goals and lifestyle. After each session, my clients get a session summary, which has an overview of what we spoke about and then their personalized resources. This could include anything from a pantry organization resource to a goal-setting resource, a journaling resource, suggested recipes, and so forth. The time I allocate to following up with each client after their session is really key to ensuring bio-individuality with them.

3. 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.?

Australia is really such a large and diverse country. From desert to rainforest to coast to rural farm, we really have it all. It depends on where you are in Australia to determine the trends you will see. I live on the east coast of Australia and spend a lot of time traveling and beach hopping. In these areas, in terms of food, you’ll find a lot of beautiful fresh salads and delicious fruits. Smoothies, juices, and acai bowls are also very popular, and of course, we all love good barbecue.

I would say that as a whole, wellness has become more of a focus for a lot of Aussies. As I said, I didn’t grow up in a particularly health-conscious family, and I think that was very indicative of that generation. I have definitely noticed a shift toward a more conscious and healthy way of living. As part of this, you will now find more “healthy” cafés ‒ and yoga and Pilates have become really popular. And I continue to see the rise in meditation circles.

Your work is focused on coaching new moms and families. Do you come up against certain challenges as it relates to what they “think” they should be doing to stay healthy? How do you break down these misconceptions?

The biggest challenge I come up against is that mums do not want to spend time and money on themselves. They continue to put their family first and feel guilty for investing in themselves. They end up burning themselves out. Often, they have the misconception that as long as they’re looking after their family, that’s the very best they can do.

To break down these misconceptions, I often talk about how wellness practices can impact the family. I talk a lot about eliminating chemicals, preservatives, and sugar and how beneficial it is for your children. I talk about how meal planning can save money and how getting organized means a calmer environment for the whole family.

This approach helps women feel like they’re investing for their families, not just for themselves. The beauty of it is, when I work with mums, we have such breakthroughs in their own health and well-being ‒ which flows out to their whole family.

4. Personal Goals for Social Impact

What is your “why”?

“Why”: This refers to one’s purpose and the reason(s) behind their chosen work.

In my years of battling my own and my children’s health issues, I was so disappointed with numerous traditional medical health practitioners. They didn’t look at our problems holistically, they didn’t try to get to the root problem, or they completely wrote off what I was saying and refused to look further into issues, despite my pleading with them. It was a lonely and difficult time. It took a lot of perseverance, my own research, and really seeking out the right people to help us.

I don’t want other women to have to go through that. I don’t want them to spend the beautiful years with their children just enduring life, struggling. I want to be the person who supports them, who helps them source accurate information, who can link up with other trusted professionals and enable them to really enjoy their life with their kids.

If you wanted your audience from your country to know one thing about health coaching, what would it be?

That it is such a valued service. If we could all spend more time on holistic, preventive health rather than just targeted treatment, we could live much more enriched lives. 

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The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) was founded nearly 30 years ago and has become the world’s largest and most prestigious online health coaching and nutrition school.

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