Why Holistic Health?
As of today, October 4th, I am starting a certification course to become a Holistic Health Coach through Institute for Integrative Nutrition. In this post, I wanted to explore what that means as many of you may be unfamiliar with the term or the program with whom I’m getting certified through. Before we get into that, though, I want to tell you why I’m choosing to do it.
First off, I have always been super passionate about helping others. That is why I am a teacher, after all. But I’ve found that my passion for teaching children English is slowly waning, and I find that I would much rather teach individuals just how to “live” better. While this is certainly subjective, in today’s world there are many things we should be really concerned with: the rise in obesity, the decline of attention spans, the increase in suicide rates and depression based on how we compare ourselves with others due to social media, the discontent we find creeping up to us in jobs or careers that we are merely settling for instead of finding our true passion. I could go on, but I think you get the point.
Even with all of these trends in society now, I have never felt happier and more at peace in my life. And it is all the honor and all the glory be to God. I love the diet that I am currently on, and I have never been leaner in my life (I am under 10% body fat, and 188 pounds or 86 kg). God has given a great peace of mind, and I no longer get stressed out easily. In fact, He gives me the strength to do everything that I do each and every day, and I am accomplishing more now than I ever have. I’ll touch on this point a little bit more later. Truly, life is great, and for a while now I had been thinking about how to give back to others. By obtaining a Holistic Health Coach certification, I will learn more about areas that I am truly passionate about and it will provide validation to my practice and principles.
Second, my brand for my novels has always been quite inspirational and uplifting. That is why I established the Trials we Face newsletter, which you can read about here and you can join here if you’d like monthly updates about my life, writing career, and to read about struggles other individuals go through and what they learn by overcoming them.
Third, this decision of mine is truly another act of God working His wonders in my life. And in the next section, I’m going to explain what I mean by that.
How Did This Come About?
As I mentioned before, I had been thinking of ways that I could give back and share with people the joy and fulfillment I have been getting in life. At this point, I had been praying to God for a little while and talking to him about potentially being a life coach. In fact, I had almost contacted this Life Coach organization that I know of in Shanghai to talk to them about pricing and certification, but that is when it happened.
As I was doing my usual routine in the morning of walking after breakfast, I was listening to some of the testimonies that are provided online on YouTube by the church that I congregate at, IDMJI. Because the church is still closed in Shanghai, I have been staying up late on Sunday nights to watch the livestream sessions with the worldwide leader Sister Maria Luisa and I have always been devouring the new content when it comes out (for a year and a half now since covid). Not once in that year and a half have I ever seen an advertisement on the channel. And, to be honest, this is rather a good thing because I don’t want to see the church monetizing YouTube as it wouldn’t really sit well with me. But, anyway, as I was listening to a series of testimonies, an advertisement came on at the end and it talked about this program with IIN. It talked about becoming a “Holistic Health Coach.” Intrigued, I continued watching the advertisement and got more information, and I really felt connected to everything that was said because this program is me. What I mean to say is that their ideology about health is the same ideology I hold and this program covers all the things that I really love to talk about in my life.
Burning with a desire in my heart to know more, I researched and found out that it was an accredited program. I sent an email to someone there asking for more information, but none ever came. So then I prayed to God and sent another email saying, “Lord if this is the right path for me, have someone get in touch with me.” That very night, someone did. And what surprised me, even more, is that it wasn’t through email, someone from the New York office called me on my cell phone. (Talk about taking a personal approach in things.)
Through many rounds of talks with this individual, I cemented the desire in my heart that this was something that I wanted to do even more. And that now brings me to today, October 4th, as I start my journey in becoming a Holistic Health Coach.
What Is Holistic Health?
As I said before, the ideology of a holistic health coach really spoke to me because it covered all of my passions in life. So many times we think about nutrition solely based upon the foods that we eat, but those foods we eat are really just secondary foods, says the founder, Joshua Rosenthal. IIN flips this concept on its head, claiming that we are really fed by primary foods. These primary foods span across four separate areas: socially, mentally, physically, and spiritually. If you’d like to watch, below is a video talking about the history of IIN and their approach to Holistic Health.
I want to dive deeper with you, though, concerning this idea of primary foods.
Have you ever thought about the individuals you hang around with and how they may steer you this way and that way through social pressure? Do you ever have “friends” that seem to be more like “acquaintances” who only want to meet up for drinks? I am not saying that these types of individuals are bad by any means, but I am saying that these concepts are what it means to feed our bodies socially through the relationships we build. If your friend only always wants to get hammered with you, it may be a good idea to really focus on yourself and your own priorities instead of obliging his or her whims. Maybe there are people in your life that just cause drama and should probably be x’d out. Maybe you are in an abusive relationship or a toxic relationship that needs to end. Maybe you need to find other individuals who can support you and your goals so that you can get yourself out of this rut you find yourself in. Well, as a health coach, this is where we come into play. We listen to you and your struggles and help you build healthier relationships.
We also feed ourselves mentally by finding fulfillment in the workplace. Have you ever thought to yourself whether what you’re doing is your true calling or not? Are you merely settling for your job for the money, or does it create satisfaction? Do you feel mentally stimulated and invigorated to tackle what you do every single day? If you said yes, then you most likely have found your passion in life. And it’s even greater when we can turn those passions into careers, however difficult that may might be. For example, my passion is writing, but I am not a New York Times Bestselling Author, so I don’t have the financial freedom to just write all day every day. Instead, I teach English here in China and I put in time daily for my writing, knowing that it is the consistent, compounded effect of little efforts that will, one day, get me to where I want to be, a full-time professional author.
Next, how active are you? An easy way to gauge this is looking at your smart watch (if applicable) and seeing how many steps you track each day. I keep myself physically active with over 12,000 steps on the days that I go to the gym, and on off days I’ll increase that to 15,000 steps. Now, I’m not saying that you have to be crazy like that and walk so much, but if your total step count is below 5000 a day, you may be more lethargic than you think, even with going to the gym. I would suggest aiming for at least 7,000 a day along with some exercise at the gym, and on off-days hitting 10,000 steps. Moving around more does so much for us. It helps us to digest food quicker. It helps stimulate our creativity (again, the mental health/food aspect of holistic health). And it gives us a chance to connect with nature, which is shown to have therapeutic effects.
Finally, this program dives into spiritual foods. How do we feed ourselves spiritually? Do we have a set morning practice? Do you have a relationship with God or some other higher power? How do you nurture that relationship? I can tell you that this is the thing that sold me on the program because since I’ve been feeding myself spiritually with my morning routine, I know that my life has just gotten so much better. I start off each and every day by reading the Bible for at least two chapters (around 15-30 minutes in time). I then meditate on what I just read about, practicing this concept of stillness and just being present. After that I go about my day like usual, making breakfast for myself, taking a morning walk and finally heading to school where I teach. Since incorporating this morning routine and putting God first in my life, I am seriously amazed at everything that I can do. I haven’t always been spiritual, though. I actually only became spiritual 2.5 years ago after I had broken up with a woman who put me on a fantastic emotional rollercoaster that all began on October 4th… I have no ill will towards her, though, we just weren’t meant to work out, but she did lead me to God and force me to cry out to him and for that I am truly thankful because I have heard His voice, and I have felt his manifestation in my life since we broke up in the following February.
Overall, I am very excited to start this journey with IIN. I know that it was placed into my life by God and that He does have a plan for me. While I may not see it now, I know that it will work out in the end and that is what having faith is. That is also what having courage is, and we need to have the courage to step outside of our comfort zone and face our problem areas head-on.
With that being said, which of these four primary food groups are you struggling with the most? I’d love to hear your thoughts down below!