Becoming a health counselor… what I’m learning

I’m not waiting to share what I’m learning in health counselor school (@nutritionschool)  until I’m certified next June. I’m going to share a bit with you here each week…  Here are just a few of the insights that have resonated with me and some background on why I’ve chosen to get my training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN):

  • With supermarkets the size of football fields with more than 45,000 items, we’ve lost our inner “knowing what to eat.”
  • The diet that makes one thrive, might be terrible for another. For real answers, we need to get our inner knowing back.
  • Health and happiness begin with slowing down to enjoy every moment of your life.
  • Healthiness isn’t about self-discipline or willpower. It’s about finding what feeds you, nourishes you and what makes your life extraordinary.
  • Happy relationships, fulfilling career, exercise routine, spiritual practice can be more important to your health than a healthy diet.
  • As people become healthier, they become empowered to pursue the life of their dreams – the life they came here to live.
  • We spend millions on medication and virtually nothing on prevention, education and holistic health.
  • Our society desperately needs people who can help others deeply nourish their health and inner beauty.

There are all kinds of dynamics at play making nutrition incredibly confusing (marketing, politics, supply, demand, etc).  IIN’s 12-month program gathers the best minds in health, medicine, mindset, cooking, food politics and more to help us understand over 100 dietary theories.

With all of this confusion, the need for guidance in figuring out what is right for you, especially someone who is not pushing a specific plan or agenda, is growing.

Doctors aren’t necessarily trained in “holistic health, wellness and happiness” and while psychologists can delve into your past, helping you understand why you do what you do, they might be just as confused about nutrition as you are.

That said, the medical community is encouraging the use of health counselors as a way to navigate the nonsense.  Check out this CNN interview with Dr. Oz where he says a new tier of health care –  health coaches – people who are trained to help us do the right thing, could play a substantial role in reducing our country’s health care costs.

The idea of working with a health coach is starting to spread with well-known bloggers announcing their quest for help from wellness, life, coaches, counselors  (just this week – Pamela Sim from Escape from Cubicle Nation and Kelley Moore from For the Love of Design.)

While there are all kinds of health coaches with various specialties and philosophies, the best one is the one that works for you. The premise of IIN’s program is that there isn’t one diet that’s right for everyone. The only one that knows what diet will work for you, is you… their health counselors can help you listen to your body, find the food and lifestyle that works for you and the time to take better care of yourself.

When you’re able to do that, your relationships, career, energy, (and your diet) fall into place.  That vibrant glow is certainly not going to happen just because you’re eating veggies, not eating meat, or only eating meat, or having no carbs or fat!  It goes deeper than that.

This holistic philosophy is why I chose to get my certification from IIN.  I know this approach works. Over the years, my yoga practice and teachers have taught me how to listen to my body, trust my intuition, and have faith in uncertainty. My diet has come along, mainly because the more sensitive I’ve become to my body, the more discomfort I find in things that aren’t working for me –

Starbucks and M&M’s do not make Denese her best self!

Even though I know that and do yoga, I still struggle with a consistently healthy diet. I don’t need to go on “a diet” though, I need to slow down and take time each week to plan my meals so that I have the foods that feel good to me readily available and easy to prepare. When I do that, I have more energy and I sleep better. And when I sleep better, I rock.

I’m looking forward to sharing tools that can help you become more grounded and confident so you can start living the life you’ve always wanted.

For more about the program  visit my web site at (it’s a work on progress… ). And, if you’d like to help me practice my coaching skills, I’d love to give you a free one-hour consultation where we talk about your health goals and what might be preventing you from being your best self. Just leave a note below with your email or send me one at

Take care and have a great weekend,