If you’re a busy mother balancing your child’s activities with your work schedule, and trying to squeeze dinner somewhere in between, then Stephanie Merchant’s story is all too familiar. Stressed out and frustrated, she was packing on the pounds and losing quality time with her family.
Age 40 was Stephanie’s turning point. A series of small changes brought big results, including a weight loss of 50 pounds. Since graduating from the Health Coach Training Program in February, she has transformed her family’s health, started her own business, and now, as “The Nutrition Mom,” she inspires other moms to follow in her footsteps!
What were you doing prior to enrolling at Integrative Nutrition?
I was over-worked, over-stressed and overweight, a typical busy mom who started the day off running. I would drop the kids off at school, go to work, eat lunch at my desk in front of the computer, then run to pick the kids up and get them to after school activities. Microwaved meals and drive-throughs were the norm. My medication list, weight, and frustration with my life were growing. We were too busy for any real family connection. When I hit 40, I decided that I needed to reevaluate my life. I made one small change after another. I lost 50 pounds, and some limiting beliefs about life. I learned about whole foods, left a career behind that no longer served me, and started to learn about self-care. I had found a new sense of clarity.
What led you to explore the Health Coach Training Program?
I had discovered a new passion for health and wellness, and I wanted to help others break out of the mold. I knew that I would not be returning to my old career. I enjoyed helping other people so much and discovered that was my true calling. I started out by looking for a nutrition school, but with IIN I found so much more. I discovered how we nourish ourselves through food as well as how relationships, career, spirituality, and physical activity all work together to make us whole. I always say that I was my first client; well, my husband was my second client. He also lost 50 pounds. He found his inner athlete, and is now a marathon runner and a tri-athlete. I could not be more proud.
How did your life change after enrolling?
My life changed after enrolling and is still changing today. There is so much self-growth that you experience going through this training. One of the main things that I discovered, and one of the main things that I work with my clients on, is making yourself a priority. Most people, especially moms, tend to put themselves at the bottom of their priority list. That has to change. We cannot give when our cup is empty. When we take care of ourselves, when our cup is full, it runs over to those around us. It's truly a mind shift.
Which topics and teachers had the greatest impact on you?
Because of my love of raw foods, I really enjoyed David Wolfe; but I found Debbie Ford to be the most thought provoking. Her ideas were really unexpected, but I found so much truth in her message. I enjoyed so many others on the topics of nutrition, self-growth, marketing, and business. It's impossible to narrow it down, each week I had a favorite! IIN has put an extraordinary panel of topics and teachers together.
What are you up to now?
As "The Nutrition Mom," I have a very busy health coaching practice, in which I help women all over the world. I offer group programs and one-on-one coaching. Through nutrition, self-awareness and self-care, my clients increase their energy, decrease their weight, and gain more confidence as they learn to love life again! Several of my clients have gone on to enroll at IIN. Nothing makes me happier than knowing that they will go out and help more women. It is truly the ripple effect in motion.
What makes you and your practice unique?
I really meet people where they are and keep things simple. I am a Health Coach and a raw food chef, so I always enjoy teaching busy Moms how to add more fresh fruit and veggies into their diet as we move away from the Standard American Diet. Five minute raw meals are my specialty. I can relate to the busy Mom schedule, and to making slow changes with the family. The goal is slow and steady – lives are changed one little step at a time. It's a beautiful journey and I feel so blessed to share it with my clients.
What do you love about your work?
I love transforming lives. I help busy moms go from surviving to thriving. In that, entire families are being changed. It's very powerful work to empower others. I learn something from each client that I work with. I am blessed to work with women worldwide, and what I have found is that we all have the same struggles. I am so passionate about coaching and I know, without a doubt, that this is what I am supposed to be doing. My struggles are now my strengths.
Is there a need for Health Coaches where you live?
There is not only a need for Health Coaches where I live; there is a need for Health Coaches worldwide. We have a very important message and now, more than ever, people need and want to hear it. For ourselves, for our families, for our children, we are needed.
Connect with Stephanie