Published:
April 2, 2022

The IIN Community of Well BeIINgs: Ashley Whitt Essman, on Healing from the Inside Out

Name: Ashley Whitt Essman 

Location: Tampa, Florida, United States 

Instagram: @aweinspired.holistichealth

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Q: What inspired you to enroll at IIN?

A: My own health journey! I had cystic acne for many years, and I was constantly frustrated, overwhelmed, and stressed, and I didn’t know where to start to heal my body. I immersed myself in health and wellness; found a functional medicine doctor; and changed my diet, lifestyle, and mindset.  

After years of healing, I felt like I was a new person; I was the person my friends and family turned to for health advice, I was always searching for new health trends to try, I loved talking about health and wellness, and I wished it could be my job ‒ but I was in a totally different industry.  

One day, when I was listening to my mom’s health concerns, she said, “You’re so good at this, you should be a Health Coach!” I’d heard of IIN, so I looked it up, took a leap of faith, and enrolled, and it was the best thing I’ve ever done!

Q: How are you using your Health Coach Training Program education?  

A: I’m a holistic Health Coach in Tampa, Florida, working with clients one-on-one, both virtually and in person.

Q: How did your understanding of food and nutrition expand upon taking the program? 

A: Before I enrolled at IIN, while I was in the process of healing my skin, I was working on healing my leaky gut and my liver, which required me to be restrictive with my diet. At the time, I was so scared that if I ate anything outside my guidelines, my skin would break out.  

IIN helped me realize that the stress over the restrictions was actually worse for me than just eating some cheese or whatever the food may have been. I started to understand that food and nutrition are important but not everything. I became much more focused on things that make me feel good and on accepting myself and loving myself as I am instead of focusing on what I couldn’t eat.  

I have a much healthier relationship with food and nutrition after taking the program, and I’ve also learned a lot about different ways of eating, about how not all food works for everyone, and about the science behind food and how it fuels us – this is all encompassed in IIN’s core concept of bio-individuality. 

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Q: Did IIN help you find a way of eating that works for you? If so, tell us more about that journey. 

A: Yes! Throughout the program, there were many different types of eating that we explored and learned about, and I tried new things. I enjoyed trying food combining, following Ayurvedic food principles, and making meatless meals.  

I was restrictive with my diet while I was healing my painful cystic acne, and IIN helped me to let go of those restrictions and guidelines and not feel guilty. I realized that I prefer to eat gluten- and dairy-free 80% of the time because that’s what makes me feel my best, not just because it would clear up my skin. I learned to give my body what it needs and really tune in to see how I feel after eating. 

Q: How do you nourish yourself beyond your plate, with primary foods? 

A: I’m all about self-care and self-love! I have a solid morning routine that sets up my days for success. I take my Seed probiotic first thing, do my morning skin-care routine, write in my five-minute journal, drink my lemon water, and do a short meditation. I try to move my body every day, whether it’s a stretch or walk, a workout class, or a Melissa Wood Health flow (she’s now a visiting faculty member in the Health Coach Training Program!). I make sure to get eight to nine hours of sleep every night. There are lots of other things I love to incorporate into my routine here and there, but those are my nonnegotiables!

Q: Health is not a destination; it's an evolution and a journey. How does this resonate with you? 

A: I completely agree! When I think back on my evolving health journey over the past five-plus years, I feel a lot of different emotions because it was really hard, but I wouldn’t change a thing because it’s led me to where I am today. I feel so grateful to be working as a Health Coach and providing guidance, support, and accountability to my clients for their health goals. Things are always changing and evolving ‒ there’s always something new and different to focus on, and I love that. My health journey is just getting started!

Q: How are you living a life you love? How did the program help you achieve this? 

A: I’m absolutely living a life that I love because IIN has given me the confidence and the opportunity, through education and training, to do what I love for work! Following all the steps and recommendations throughout the program allowed me to learn and gain experience so that I’m now confident in my abilities as a Health Coach and can offer real value to my clients! 

Q: If you could tell your pre-IIN self one thing, what would it be? 

A: Take the risk, put yourself out there, feel the fear and do it anyway. You are 100% the creator of your life; your life is up to you, no one else. You make decisions that change your life.

Q: What’s one thing you can't run your business without? 

A: I’m going to have to say, my Google Calendar. I live and breathe by it.

Q: We’re calling our IIN graduates and community members Well BeIINgs. How do you embody well-being? 

A: I love to practice what I preach! I’m so passionate about health and wellness, and I’ve figured out what works best for me, and I want to help others do the same!

 

You can start living a life you love, right now. Take our free Sample Class to dive in. 

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

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