An IINspiring Weekend… Back Where It All Began

This weekend was a really meaningful one for me. In 2010, I graduated as a Certified Holistic Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. (IIN)

Although I was working in finance at the time, I went to Columbus Circle two weekends a month and sat in this gorgeous auditorium to learn.


This weekend I went back for a Live Alumni Event for the whole weekend.

Before the weekend, I hadn’t thought much of it. I was excited, and particularly excited to see certain speakers. But it wasn’t until I sat down in those chairs again that everything started to sink in. Of course, I got a little emotional… you know me!

As soon as I sat down I thought, man… 3 years ago, when I was sitting here, I was so lost. I didn’t know what I wanted to do about my career, I loved the idea of making Health Coaching my career but knew that I did not have the courage, I was struggling with my own body and weight, and had a general lack of fulfillment in my life at the time.

3 years later, and things are so different. I actually do have that health coaching career that I only dreamed about the last time I was in those seats. I have figured out my own body and weight issues, and my life is way more fulfilling. I took a few minutes when I first sat down to just think about how much of a difference 3 short years can make.

I know that I still have so much I want to learn, do, experience, and so many areas I want to grow in, but it was a really interesting point of reflection that I wasn’t expecting to feel this weekend.


At IIN, there is a general theme that in our lives, we all have “Primary Food” and “Secondary Food”. Primary Food are the various aspects of our lives that feed our soul. They have nothing to do with food. They are areas such as Relationships, Career, Spirituality, Finances, Social Life, Home Environment and Joy. When these various components are not satisfied, we reach for Secondary Food, which is actual physical food. The food is there to fill some sort of a void that we have in our lives.

As coaches from IIN, we know that Primary Food is so important. I see it time and time again with my clients– it’s really all about the Primary Food. Most of us know what to eat, but we aren’t doing it. Why? Because our Primary Food is unsatisfied in some way.

This weekend, the point was to make sure that we, as coaches, were paying attention to our OWN primary food. It was a weekend that made us look at our own lives and examine various areas of lack and fulfillment. We all have such strong missions to help people, and this was such a good reminder to fill up our own buckets as well.

And it was an opportunity for us to get honest about what was going on in our lives. What we were neglecting, what we were paying too much attention to, where we felt balanced and unbalanced.

I left feeling renewed, inspired and empowered. I felt taken care of, like I have this whole community of people who have my back.


Do you think there are areas of your life that feel unbalanced? Are there any Primary Foods that you aren’t feeling satisfied with? Do you feel that this concept of a lack of Primary Food causing you to overeat or not take care of yourself is something that’s going on in your life?

Share if you’d like or simply just think about one area in your life that you’d like to be more fulfilling– whether it be your relationship to your boyfriend/husband or your job or your home environment– and try to put some extra effort into that area today.

And if you have any questions about IIN after reading this, definitely let me know!

2 thoughts on “An IINspiring Weekend… Back Where It All Began

  1. I’m glad you wrote about this! I was going to ask you how it went.

    I spent the entire weekend focusing on connecting with different forms of movement and doing activities that I would fill every day with if I had the time–spin class, yoga, hiking, meditation. It was amazing, and I can totally see how food took a secondary role these past two days. I definitely looked forward to eating and enjoyed the process, but it wasn’t something I was obsessing over or looking to bring me joy out of a bad state. I was completely fulfilled in my primary foods and life was even better enjoying my secondary food!

    Also, your reflection on the past 3 years reminded me of something I read yesterday about Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech and the value of revisiting old, familiar places to spark the mental connection of how small moments and decisions in your life have gotten you to where you are now.

    I can’t remember where I saw it but here is the passage from his speech: “None of this”, he spoke of the randomness of his college classes, “had even a hope of any practical application in my life.” “Of course, It was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very clear looking backwards ten years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma whatever – because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.”

    • Natalie… sounds like an awesome weekend FILLED with primary food! And I love the Steve Jobbs quote.. it’s so true that it’s hard to connect the dots until you can actually look back and see how you had to go through every single thing you did. It’s crazy how life works… and I especially love the last line about trusting in something that all of the dots DO make sense. Xo.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s