The Voices of IIN series features 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.
1. Origin Story
We’d love to learn more about you – can you share a bit about your health journey?
When my mother was five months pregnant with me, my father was told he had cancer. Two months after I was born, he passed away. He was 35.
My entire life, I had this fear that I would follow in his footsteps to an early grave and not have the opportunity to watch my kids grow up and to experience the joys of being a father...
So when I was diagnosed with osteoporosis in my early 30s, at a time when I was still struggling to resolve a significant number of health issues, I thought my fate was destined to be the same. I had a young daughter and a son on the way. I was devastated.
When I got home that night, I broke down crying; I cried HARD. Even though I had no idea where to start, I knew I needed to start somewhere.
After a great deal of reading and research, working with different doctors, and consulting with many different people, my mindset started to shift from feelings of fear and overwhelm and defeat to feelings of determination.
My mindset became:
- I’m going to be there for my family and my kids.
- I’m going to take the information I learned and start making progress.
- I’m going to improve my body and my bones.
Fast forward to today…
Not only have I transformed my health and made continued progress in my own journey, but I’ve now dedicated my life to helping people with osteoporosis rise above the sadness and gain the clarity and confidence that improving is possible.
Through my own journey and in working with clients across the globe, I came to realize just how challenging it can be for the average person ‒ mostly the average woman ‒ who’s diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis to figure out what they need to do to address bone loss, build bone strength, prevent fracture, and have an active future.
Why did you decide to come to IIN? What made your IIN experience and education so transformative?
IIN was a key part of my health journey. It gave me a well-rounded education in holistic health. It takes into consideration that the body is not just a collection of disparate parts that should be focused on in isolation but rather a set of interconnected systems that work together to either drive disease or help us heal. IIN gives that foundational knowledge to help you heal in so many areas.
IIN then gives you the principal tools you need to go out there and help others who are on their health journeys live their best, healthiest lives.
2. Perspectives on Nutrition and Health Coaching
How are you using your IIN education?
Because I learned from such a wide array of experts at IIN, it provided me with the key knowledge and tools to then go out and build my own health coaching practice, which is now reaching, helping, and serving people all over the world.
What does being a Health Coach mean to you?
Being a Health Coach is amazing. I love that I can take my passions for health and helping others, bring them together, and share them with the world. It’s great to be able to guide and coach someone from a place of struggle and uncertainty to a place of education and empowerment.
Why do you feel Health Coaches are so needed today?
Most people don’t know how to be their own best health advocate. Unfortunately, what I've found in most cases is that most people develop driver/passenger relationships with their healthcare team. And sometimes the driver hasn’t fully evaluated where the passenger is versus where they want to go, before making a decision about the best route to take.
A Health Coach can help give their client a map and be a key player in their health journey, teaching them how to be their own best advocate and how not to be a passenger in their care.
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.
Bio-individuality is all about embracing all the things that make us unique, leaning into the things that give us strength, and improving the things we know need work. When you can be your genuine, authentic self ‒ when you embrace the things that give you life and energy and crowd out the things that drain you ‒ you create an environment that helps you thrive. I live in that environment every day.
3. Nutrition, Healthcare, and Equity in the Wellness World
How did your diagnosis shape your perspective on the healthcare system? Were there any gaps in care that you experienced and realized that many others were experiencing, too?
My mindset and past experiences with medical care played a major role in my health journey and how I approached healing. Even though I struggled through a significant number of health challenges and an osteoporosis diagnosis at a young age, I really didn’t want to take medication. Not for a week. Not for a year. Not for five to 10 years. Not for a lifetime.
I had gone that route before. For the great majority of my life, I believed that the solution to what ailed me was at the pharmacy; when I had pain in my joints and knees and lower back, I’d reach for painkillers multiple times a day. I took proton pump Inhibitors to ‒ unnecessarily ‒ suppress my stomach acid. I took sleeping pills, antidepressants, antibiotics, and countless other medications to help address signs and symptoms of conditions without ever addressing the underlying cause.
I temporarily received the benefits, along with the side effects, but I never got complete resolution of those issues because I was just covering up the cause. Eventually, that led to a disenchantment with the type of medical care I was accustomed to, and I really wanted to divest myself from thinking that the solution to my health was in a pill.
Most people I work with now feel the same way and are trying to approach their health from a more holistic and natural perspective before ever considering meds as an option.
4. Personal Goals for Social Impact
Tell me about an inspiring “spreading the ripple effect” experience – whether it was with a client, a friend, a family member, or even a stranger.
Because I work mostly with women in their 50s and 70s who have osteopenia and osteoporosis, they're primarily looking for help in getting a stronger-bones plan in place. Yes, they want to stop bone loss. Yes, they want to build stronger bones. Yes, they want to prevent fracture and injury. We help people with all those things, but here’s what I’ve come to find they really want and what people have finally told me they have after getting our help, which is one of the most rewarding feelings:
- They talk about how they don’t just feel stronger, they actually are They talk about going on a hike or a long walk outdoors and actually enjoying the sights and sounds rather than hyperfocusing on the ground in front of them.
- They talk about the trips they’ve taken and the adventures they’ve had in all those bucket-list places they’ve worked so hard to experience. They talk about how happy they are that they know they’ll be there for their kids and grandkids in the future.
- They talk about how they now wake up every single day with a sense of direction and purpose and enjoyment rather than making a mental checklist of every health-related detail they need to figure out on their own.
- They finally feel like they have some control over their bone health and feel like they can take back their identity and their future, which were once in question.
That’s what I love about my work. I get to see and hear about these things every single day.
What is your “why”?
“Why”: This refers to one’s purpose and the reason(s) behind their chosen work.
My “why” is my kids.
My father’s passing at a young age left a void in my heart that still, to this day, has not been filled. No single event has had a greater impact on my life. As a child, I always wondered what having a father would be like...and it hurt to know that the things I saw my friends experience with their fathers, and the things I knew they were being taught, were just out of reach for me.
There are a lot of kids growing up without fathers (or good role models, for that matter), and I'd love to be a mentor for these kids. I’m currently working on a passion project: teaching life lessons; values; and how to be a good, kind, contributing member of society to kids without a parent. Eventually, years from now, I would love to have an internship program under BoneCoach for these kids so that they can get firsthand experience working for a purpose-driven organization that contributes to the betterment of society.
Learn more about Kevin and BoneCoach: