292: Transformational Nutrition From the Inside Out With Cynthia Garcia

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Katie: Hello, and welcome to “The Wellness Mama” podcast. I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com. And I’m here today with a dear friend and mentor of mine, Cynthia Garcia, who is a celebrity nutritionist, a transformation expert, we’re gonna talk about why today, a best-selling author, and the founder and CEO of the Institute of Transformational Nutrition, which is where I got my MCHC certification. And they’re a company that makes it easy for health coaches to do the work they love by teaching them a proven coaching process that leaves them confident and credible so they can be a powerful force for good in the world. And we’re gonna talk about that today, and especially how that could be an amazing tool for us moms who wanna be home with our kids more. And Cynthia is also a mom of an amazing little girl. But Cynthia, welcome and thanks for being here.

Cynthia: Oh, my gosh, thank you so much for having me, Katie. It’s such an honor.

Katie: Oh my gosh, I’m so glad to have you here. You’re one of my favorite people to talk to and you are such an inspiration. And to start, I would love if you don’t mind to share your story and how you got into this world, because I think when people will meet you now, like, you’re such the picture of health and success in business, that it might be easy to think that you have always just been that way. And I know you have an incredible story. So, are you willing to share that today?

Cynthia: Yeah, I am. I definitely think that my life story is sort of meant for a message for me and for others. And if there’s anything that, you know, anyone can take away and learn, and maybe make their journey a little bit easier from my story, then I’m happy to share that. And you’re right. You know, I think we all kind of assume things about people when we meet them. And, you know, like, I look at you and you have it all together. And, you know, you’re running this amazing business and you have these amazing little humans that you’ve birthed into the world and that you’re just raising, and just an awe inspiring way, and then you lead this amazing audience, and this great tribe of moms. And it’s just so inspiring, but also knowing your story makes it that much more powerful. So, yeah, I’d love to share mine. Where do you want me to start?

Katie: Oh my gosh. Well, there’s so many cool layers. I guess, we’ll start at the beginning of your health journey first. And then I know that there’s the business side as well, where you have this passion to bring this to the world. But you had your own kind of health story as well, right?

Cynthia: I did. And, you know, part of my story and I guess one of my dirty little secrets is that I never had any interest in health. I just didn’t. I didn’t know a protein from a carb. I’d never heard of gluten. I honestly didn’t really care either because things were kind of okay. I didn’t have a reason to be super concerned about my health until I did. And what was happening in my life at that time was things were really hectic. I lived in Los Angeles and I was working in the entertainment industry. And I mean, much like all of us, women, I was going from morning to night and just really burning the candle at both ends, just really pushing, and striving, and pounding the pavement and, you know, trying to make a living. And that caught up with me really, really quickly. I got super sick and had a lot of different issues.

So, I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. I was exhausted from morning to night no matter how long I slept. I had cystic acne all over my face, my neck, my back. I suffered from short-term memory loss. I mean, you name it, it was happening. I was about 30 pounds overweight, 25, 30 pounds overweight at the time as well, and just trying everything, Katie. And, you know, when it first started and I first started experiencing these symptoms, I thought, you know, “I just maybe need to eat healthier,” not that I even knew what that meant, “and maybe go to the gym more.” And that didn’t work at all. I was too exhausted to hardly get off the couch. So, you know, I started seeing people. I started reading articles. You know, I went to a nutritionist and I went to a doctor, and then I got kind of desperate, and I started going to healers. And I mean, I was hypnotized once. And this went on for, gosh, about nine months, I guess, and I was only ever getting worse.

So, you know, I was popping the pills and drinking the shakes, and nothing was working. And, you know, I didn’t have a lot of money in my bank account. I had, like, a few hundred dollars in it, which was not good. Because I was living in Los Angeles and didn’t really have a lot of friends, to be honest, and no family here. And, you know, it was really scary. I’d moved out to LA on my own and went through this crazy time, I was homeless for a little bit. So, just the thought of, you know, “What am I gonna do? Like, what is happening?” And I can’t make money because unfortunately, I made money based on partially on how I looked. You know, I was in the entertainment world and was a model. So, it was a really scary time. I plunged into this really deep depression. I had been diagnosed with clinical depression really early on in my life and it’s something that I had struggled with for a long time, and I still struggle with today, just to be completely transparent.

But I got to this point, Katie, where I was just I was done, you know. And I remember I woke up one morning in my little tiny studio apartment in Hollywood, California, and I don’t know, that morning, I thought, “You know, I can do this. I’ve been through a lot of stuff in my life,” and I can share that with you. But I thought, “I can do this. Maybe today is the day I turn it all around.” You know, I just was really hoping for that fresh start. And so, I got up and I got in the shower and, you know, I’m showering, I’m my doing thing and I found a lump in one of my breasts, just this little, just node right in the side. And, you know, for women, I think, anytime we have something like that happen, it’s just like you’re frozen, you know. And I just remember reaching for my other breast and found a little node there.

And it was just, like, ice-cold chills ran over me and I just remember sinking to the floor of the shower, just sitting down. And if you remember those old television sets, Katie, the really big boxie ones that required like four men to move it into your living room, when you turn them off, it’s like they faded to this little tiny dot, this thought of light. And that’s what was happening. And I just kind of lost it and I don’t know how long I sat there but I remember putting my arms around myself and just rocking back and forth, and just in this zone, just disbelief, just really hit truly, literally, hit rock bottom. And I remember getting out of the shower when it got…because the water was cold and I was shivering, and I spent the rest of the day just in a fog. And the wee hours of the morning crept up and I’m sitting in the corner in the floor in my little apartment. There was, again, one window in this apartment and the light was coming in. And I was done, Katie, I had decided to take my own life. I decided that was the best way out. I thought, you know, “I’ve given it a good shot. They can’t say I haven’t tried.”

And so, I had a handful of pills and was ready to make that happen. And, you know, I think when you get to that point in your life, if you’ve ever been there, maybe your audience has, you, you start to kind of look at things in your life. And, for me, I started looking back and thinking you know, “Gosh, this has been such a crazy ride.” Because this was not my first time at the, you know, down and out rodeo. I was born into extreme poverty. My parents were having a really rough time. They’d had a son before me who had passed away when he was only two from a drowning accident. And they’d had a really hard go of it themselves. They weren’t really in a place to be parents. And we had no money. I remember there was no running water in my house. We had an outhouse that we had to go outside and use if we needed to go to the bathroom.

You know, there was a spring that was maybe, I don’t know, five or six miles away, and that’s where we would go get our water in old, you know, used milk jugs. And so, it was a really tough upbringing. And, you know, with those situations comes kind of what you would think. You know, my dad was an alcoholic and a drug addict. And my mother was bipolar, and a narcissist, and very verbally and mentally abusive, physically abusive. I was sexually abused for the first time at the age of five. And that continued as I got older and it was just really, really difficult. You know, my family around me that told me I would never amount to anything. It was just a really tough upbringing. And so, having gone through so much in my life, that night on the floor, I just thought, “You know, I’m just so tired of fighting. I’m just so tired of it.” And I started questioning like, “Why me? Why has all this happened to me?”

And then when I sit there questioning with the tears rolling down my eyes, my heart just broken open just feeling, you know, worthless and hopeless. There was this voice inside of me that just said, “Well, it hasn’t happened to you, it’s happened for you.” And it’s funny, Katie, because I hear that everywhere now. But at the time, I’d never heard that. And it kind of got my attention. And I was like, I thought, “Well, if it’s happening for me, then what is it all for?” And again, this voice and whatever it is, divine intervention, God, whatever, this voice said, “Well, you’re meant for something really great.” Now, again, I had grown up with my own family telling me I was nothing, that I was trash, that I’d never amount to anything, that I might as well just give it up.

You know, I remember in high school being teased because I didn’t have a lot of money or a lot of things, and the kids, they’re telling me to go kill myself, that I should just go kill myself. And so, for that night for me to think, “Whoa, I’m meant for something great. Like, no.” But that sat with me. And it reinvigorated me and I thought, “We’re all meant for something great. You’re meant for something great.” Everyone listening is meant for something great. I believe greatness is our birthright. So, essentially, what ended up happening is I said, “Okay. You know, maybe I can do this. “You know, that fighter spirit in me came back and that survivor mentality kicked in. And I thought, “Maybe I can do this.”

So, that night, it sounds kind of crazy when I say it, but I kind of made a pact with the universe, a pact with God. And I said, “Look, if I’ll do this, I’ll give it one more chance. If you’ll open the door, I’ll walk through it.” And that’s what I’ve done ever since that night, Katie. I’ve spent my life since then really trying to help others, trying to help others, you know, get to those deeper hungers, help them recover their health, help them to live the life that I know they’re meant to live, that, you know, stepping into that greatness that is their birthright. And we can get into some of the ways I’ve done that and how I can help here today. But that’s where everything started. And that’s led us up to now.

Katie: It’s such an incredible story. And I just wanna say, I’m so grateful that you are still here with us, and that there were bigger plans for you, because I just value you so much. And I think one of the things that you just said that it bears repeating over and over is that idea that, you’re right, is more common now, but things happening for you, not to you. And I know that was a shift I had as well. I also had sexual trauma in my past, and realizing that, like anything, there’s always a lesson and there’s always something we can learn from that. And not only that, that often, you know, that other quote, that our wounds make us warrior, but, like, those things can actually, like, have a purpose in our lives when we let them, instead of just dwelling on this bad thing that happened to us.

And I know that’s my… You know, my heart goes out to any woman, other woman who’s experienced that. But that’s why I’ve been a little resistant to some of these movements that seem to just dwell in the pain of the trauma versus the transformation of the trauma. And I know, I would love to go a little deeper on that on the emotional side, because I know now that you’ve helped thousands and thousands of people really to, like, delve deep and decode that for themselves. So, to start with, what was it for you? Like, what were those initial steps for you figuring out what you were really hungry for and starting that transformation?

Cynthia: Yeah, that’s a great question. And I just wanna comment on something that you said because, you know, I think as women, we go through a lot, and oftentimes, we hide that because we think we’re alone. We think, “Oh, no one else has gone through this. They won’t know. They’ll judge me. You know, if they really knew me, what would they think? Would they like me?” And we’re all so concerned about what others think. And I get that, right? And at the same time, I know that we women are so powerful and we’re capable of everything, especially moms. I mean, come on, you created a human. That’s pretty amazing. And I also think sometimes when we go through these experiences, they don’t always make us stronger. And we don’t know how to get that strength. And sometimes we do slip into that victim mentality. And I guess, for me, what I wanted to add to what you said is just that we can overcome that. We don’t have to stay in that place. It’s not a judgment on you because someone did something to you that wasn’t right. And so, we can get on the other side of that, and we can be that powerful warrior and that survivor, and we can take our deepest pain and leverage them into our greatest power. I really believe that it’s possible for all of us because it did happen for some reason.

You know, I don’t know what that is in everyone’s life, but it definitely happened for a reason. For me, getting clear on, you know, what I was really hungry for involved me taking a real honest look at my life, Katie. And I started looking at who I had become, which is not who I am. It was not who I was, right? It was just who I… It was a version of me that I had created that I thought other people wanted to see and that other people wanted to be around, the person that other people wanted to be friends with. Because again, I thought, “Gosh, if they knew me, and if they knew my story, and they knew where I came from, like, Oh, well, they wouldn’t want to be friends with me.” You know, that would not be good. So, I spent a very long time trying to please others by compromising who I was and what I believed and what I stood for.

So, I believe that there’s really two things that we have to do in order to remember who we are, because, you know, we start these big conversations around transformation. And we go on Instagram, and we see the before and after photos. But I think we have the wrong idea about transformation and what it really means. Krishnamurti has a great quote, he said, “When you begin to understand what you are, without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation.” So, what he’s saying is that you don’t have to go outside of yourself and become some other person, some other being, which is what I did, to try to please others. What’s important that you do if you really are looking for transformation in your life and you wanna live that life of greatness that’s meant for you and you wanna be healthy mind, body, and spirit, you have to really understand who you are. You have to remember who you are.

And that requires two things. One is the desire to know and two is the courage to take action. And that second one can be tough. But once you’ve decided that, “Yes, I don’t want to live my life this way. I do wanna be healthy in every way. I do wanna understand what I’m really hungry for and step into that life that I know is meant for me,” then one of the easiest ways to take action is to do things that you normally wouldn’t do. So, what I mean by that is read books you wouldn’t normally read, watch movies you wouldn’t normally watch, play a musical instrument, you know, write something, cut out pictures from magazines. Because we are so stuck in these ruts of doing the things that we think we should do that we forget or we lose track of the things that we really want to do. So, again, losing track of who we really are. So, the first step is, being gentle with yourself. That’s really important. And then having that desire to know and the courage to do something about it by exploring the things that maybe you’ve cut out of your life. Another great thing is going back to when you were a kid and looking at some of the things that you really enjoyed doing back then. So, that could have been anything, maybe it was cooking, maybe it was the great outdoors, maybe it was art, who knows. But getting back to that and starting almost from that childlike place where you were so true to who you were and so pure is a great way to start that journey. Does that make sense, Katie?

Katie: Yeah, it does. And yeah, I think that’s such an important point to address that side of things. Because you’re right, there’s so much information out there. And especially now, we all know what the things are that we need to do physically to be healthy. There’s so much information about that. But I know firsthand how easy it is to ignore that so important emotional piece, which is why what really drew me to you and to the Institute for Transformational Nutrition was that I feel like, especially for anyone, any human, but especially for women, that part is so, so important.

Cynthia: Yeah, it’s critical. I mean, the reason why… You know, I do a lot of interviews with media and TV, and, you know, work on some different shows. And one of the things I get asked a lot is, “Why don’t diets work? You know, there’s all these diet books, why don’t they work?” And the truth is, I don’t know that it’s the diets that aren’t working, I think maybe we’re not working the diets, because we’re trying to transform the wrong thing, right? We’re looking at it and we’re saying, “Oh, I’ve gotta be this size. I’ve gotta eat this food. I have to be this thing or that thing,” but it’s not really who we are. And if we’re all being honest, it’s probably not even who we really want to be. So, I think that getting really clear on that is really important. And, you know, starting this journey from almost from the beginning over.

Katie: Yeah, that makes perfect sense. So, I’d love to go a little deeper on now, what the Institute for Transformational Nutrition is, kind of the story of how it began and then, like, how you both teach people in the institute and then how they work with people in the world.

Cynthia: Yeah, I’d love to. So, you know, I started this journey that night on the floor. After I’d made this pact, this agreement with God, I thought, “You know, I should probably learn more about the body, and about nutrition, and how this whole thing works.” Because, again, I was relying on the experts, like, “experts,” right? And so, I thought, “Okay. I need to go back to school. I need to study. I need to learn.” And I got on my computer that night and thank goodness for Google. And I started just looking for nutrition programs and certification programs. And I found one. I called the next morning. I used three different credit cards to sign up because I didn’t have any money. I’d spent all the money I had on, you know, going outside trying to find someone to make me better. But that was okay, Katie, because I knew that I was really investing in the only thing I had left to invest in, and that was me. You know, again, we’re all so much stronger than we think we are, right? And especially, as women and moms, I think we can do everything. I think we are only limited by our imagination.

So, anyways, I took that leap and I started studying. And I started, you know, getting an education and I started working with clients. And I realized really quickly that they were seeing some things that were just really wrong about the way we were approaching nutrition, and coaching, and health coaching. And there’s one woman that triggered it for me, and I’ll share the story with you because man, she changed my whole life. She was a client and she was coming to me because she had a really hard time with sweets. Now, I know you and I don’t know anything about that. We don’t like sweets, especially that yummy dark chocolate. I kid, of course. But she really had a hard time getting away from candy bars. And so, she came in and I started coaching her, very nutritional, very physical nutrition-oriented.

And we’d make meal plans together and she’d go away every week with this meal plan ready to just take action. And she’d come back the following week having eaten candy bars every single day. And this went on for maybe four weeks. And she came in one day and had caught me in just the right mood. Ladies, we all get in just the right mood sometimes. And she came in and, again, the candy bars, and I said to her, “Look, you know, Janet,” which is not her name, I said, “Look, Janet, you know, every week you come in, every week we make this plan, every week you go off, and then you come back and there’s candy bars. Like, help me understand because, at this point, I feel like you’re wasting my time and your money.”

And she did something, Katie, that thankfully, no one has done to me before or since. She stood up and she started yelling at me. And she told me this story and it changed the course of my work forever. She said, “You know, when I was a little girl, my parents got divorced. And my mom was really unhappy, my mom was really insecure, and she started dating this man who she was really into, but turns out he wasn’t into me.” Turns out he wasn’t into kids at all. So, her mother with this need to really get her self-esteem back and feel good about herself would take Janet when she was a little girl out to Blockbuster Video, if we remember those old days, and she would get her all these movies, buy her candy bars, and bring her home, and put her in a room so she could watch movies and eat the candy bars while the mom, the boyfriend were downstairs. And then afterwards, the daughter could come out again. So, this woman said to me that day in my office while she’s yelling, she said, “You are trying to take away the only friends and the only love I have, and I just won’t let you.” And it stunned me. I thought, “Whoa, wait, what?” And she sat down and I think she’d even shocked herself.

Like, we were both just in this state of shock, just staring at each other. And I realized in that moment, there was such a bigger reason as to why you know diets don’t work, or why we can’t just transform into the person that we want, or lose the weight, or get the health back. Why do we know what to do but still won’t do it? And I realized those reasons are so deeply rooted in things like past trauma, and past pain and, you know, abuse, like we talked about. And there’s so many bigger concepts. So, I started building in mental wellness to my coaching and really looking at, you know, the anxiety that my clients were going through, the past events that had really damaged them in some way, hurt them in some way, that they thought they were, you know, irreparable.

And that worked for a while. I was able to really drill down. We were able to get them to take better action, really care for themselves, and they started seeing better results. But I realized there was still another piece missing. It’s like we were getting so close, but not quite there. And that was, even after we broke through the trauma, even after we said, “Here are the reasons you know what to do and you’re still not doing it,” I realized that women were still hungry. You know, we live in a country where we eat more than any other nation in the world and yet we’re starving to death. Not just for nutrients, but for more, for pleasure, for meaning, for purpose, for self-worth, if we’re being really honest here. And I realized so many women didn’t have that. So, at the end of the day, when it came to even, you know, knowing the right foods to eat and then knowing how to overcome the past trauma and their trigger and do the “right” thing. Well, some women, at the end of the day, most of us, in fact, didn’t really feel like we’re worth it. Like, we didn’t deserve to take the time, or to do the things, or to get the right foods, or to meditate, or to reconnect with ourselves. So, I started looking at spiritual nutrition and realizing that we’re fed by so much more than just what’s on our plate.

So, where does that meaning and purpose and self-worth, and, you know, today would call it self-love, where does that all come from? Because I believe that you have to feed yourself all of those things, right? You have to get to know who you are intimately and feed who you are if you’re really looking to transform into who you’ve always been. And so, I put together this system, this method because I thought that this is really great. So, we looked at not just physical nutrition but mental nutrition and spiritual nutrition. And I put together this system, and the women and the results were just amazing. I mean, they started not just getting healthy and losing weight and balancing hormones and healing gut health, but they got out of relationships that weren’t serving them, and found that partner of their dreams. They left careers where they had no meaning and purpose, and they felt like they weren’t contributing. And they started their own businesses. And, you know, they did the work that they loved. And I thought, “I wanna take this to a bigger scale.” And that’s when I started the Institute of Transformational Nutrition, and transformational nutrition is what I called this method, this practice of bringing together these three pillars, you know, physical nutrition, mental nutrition, and spiritual nutrition into one practice. And so, today, we train and certify health coaches in this method so that their clients get amazing breakthroughs, amazing results, and finally, transform back into the person they were always meant to be.

Katie: I love that and I know firsthand just how incredible that program is. And I wanna go a little bit deeper. But first, I wanna go back to something you said about that client and her outburst, and how, like, there were such a deeper connection to that particular food, that obviously wasn’t just about the sugar or the craving at all. And it made me really think, you know, both of us are moms and certainly, like, I wanna go deeper on how we all have these things inside of us and how to work through them. But, I also really think about our kids and how much our culture really does tie food into emotional experiences, especially, like I look back into, like, birthdays, where every good experience in my childhood was tied to sugary foods or tied to junk food in some way. And so, I mean, other than the obvious of, like, making healthy food choices, do you have any ways that you are doing that, like, fostering a healthy relationship with food and emotion with your daughter and your family or suggestions that you would give to other families? Like, how do we help, hopefully, our kids avoid some of these pitfalls?

Cynthia: Yeah, gosh, it’s such a great question. And that’s really what it’s about, right? As moms, we want our kids, we want them happy. We want them healthy. And we just want them to have a better life. We want them to avoid the pains that we went through when we were young. And so, yeah, I mean, I have really open honest conversations with my daughter around food and I have since she was born. But we never use food as a reward. It’s just never something that we do. You don’t get a sweet for being a good girl, or for cleaning your room, or just doing the things that you should be doing as a little human. We also don’t use food as a punishment, you know, like,” Oh, you don’t get dessert tonight,” or send you to bed without dinner, or some of those other what I feel are very outdated ideas, because we start this relationship then at a very young age with children and their food. And as we all know, that can be very detrimental when they’re older.

And so, little things, you know, like, “Oh, you were so great. Let’s take you out for ice cream,” those have a long-lasting impact on children as they get older. And I’ve seen this in literally thousands of clients over the years. Even myself, you know, I can look back, I remember my 8th birthday, no one remembered. My parents didn’t remember my birthday. And, you know, as an 8-year-old, that was really tough. I was expecting a little cake. And again, we didn’t really have money, so I wasn’t expecting any presents, but maybe just someone to acknowledge that it was my birthday would have been great. But that didn’t happen. And as a result, I had issues with that. I mean, I still struggle with it. Every year, my birthday rolls around, I’m like, “Where’s that cake? Give me that cake.” Because it’s just an emotional trigger inside of me. And I know, you know, how to choose and so on now. But that was something that, for me, was really tough. So, I think just the little things. Another thing I never do is, I never make my daughter eat her vegetables. I just don’t do that. She doesn’t see them any different than any other food on her plate because I’ve never made it a big deal.

This is gonna sound really, really crazy, but I don’t limit her sugar. She does. I think that children are so much smarter than we give them credit for. You know, just because they’re in smaller bodies than we are, sometimes we think maybe they’re not as wise, and I don’t think that’s true. I really believe that they know so much. And if we can create this intuitive eating pattern and this awareness in them when they’re young, letting them make their own decisions, educating them on why maybe this food will help you grow and be healthy and this food maybe not so much. That doesn’t mean the food is bad. It just means that you’re not gonna have the same benefits from eating that food as you would this one. It’s just that education process is really critical.

And so, I’ve educated her from the very beginning and now if she wants a little sweet, she has it, but she never overdoes it. Same thing, some night she’ll a ton of vegetables, some not so much. And that’s okay, sometimes that’s what I do, you know. But she has this really positive relationship. One other thing that I would recommend that I just saw work wonders with my daughter, Rain, as she started to get older, is letting her choose the foods and even if… We don’t have a garden, I wish we did. But having her, you know, pick fresh herbs that we grow or going out to where you, you know, you pick your own fruits and veggies, and letting her be involved in picking the berries off the vine, and bringing it home, and then cooking. That’s been really, really important. You know, if kids help you grow and harvest food, they’ll eat that food. You know, even if that food is kale, they’ll eat that food. And if they have a hand in cooking and preparing it, they take pride in that, they’ll eat that food, even if it’s a salad, you know. So, letting them just be actively involved, educating them from the very beginning, and then not passing on the reward and punishment paradox that were so wrapped up in maybe when we were younger or maybe got from our parents, those are some things that have been, you know, the most powerful in our family.

Katie: I think those are all such great tips. And that’s something that’s been an evolution for me as well, in my parenting. You know, early on when I was sick and I had Hashimoto’s, and was trying to figure out kind of how to get back to health myself, I had to be really strict with myself on avoiding certain foods. And the kids definitely, like, obviously at home, they saw that and they picked up on it a little bit. And now, I think it surprises a lot of people to know, I don’t actively limit their food choices either, especially when they’re somewhere else. Like, I do view it as my responsibility, like, when you’re in my house, I’m gonna make nutritious food because that’s my responsibility as a mom and that’s what we like. But I don’t give them hard and fast rules or guidelines when they’re somewhere else and I let them make those decisions because I don’t want food to ever seem like, like you said, like a reward or something forbidden. I want them to have the tools to be able to make those decisions and also to notice things, like, they don’t feel good when they eat too much sugar, rather than it being this, like, forbidden carrot that they want to go find. So, I think that’s really, really why is the approach you take with her. And I know she’s an exceptional young lady, so it seems to be working really well.

Cynthia: Well, thank you, I’m honestly just trying to keep up with you, if we’re being totally honest here. I just think that you’re such an amazing inspiration. And I’m always learning from you, how you parent your children, and how you show up for them. And one of the things that I love that you do is, you’re so empowering for them. And first of all, by being a really powerful example and showing up in the world the way that you do and being such a leader and an inspiration to so many others, but also the fact that you allow them to really stand in their own power, I think it’s one of the best things that I’ve seen mothers do and just seeing you as an example in that, and you being a guide for me, has been really, truly a blessing.

Katie: Oh, thank you for that. That means so much coming from you.

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Katie: And I wanna make sure we also talk more about health coaching, because that was very much part of my journey. I originally had gone to school for journalism and I was thinking of, like, a political science career. And then when I realized that family was gonna be much more important to me and that I wanted to be a mom, but then also, went through my own health struggles, I really got into the nutrition side. And that was so much a part of my journey. And I know that it has been for quite a few of my really good friends as well. And I think it’s such an empowering option, like you just mentioned, for women, because it’s something that we can do in a flexible way and often from home. So, I wanna talk more about the practical side of Institute for Transformational Nutrition and how people can get involved with that. Because I think it is a way just like you and just like me, that people can start to make that positive ripple in the world and do something that’s empowering and fulfilling.

Cynthia: Yeah. I’d love to talk about that because, one, because there’s a huge demand for health coaches rght now, we’re seeing it everywhere. I mean, it has exploded and is expected to continue to do so. I mean, we’re looking at it being a $6 billion industry, which is amazing. I mean, right now, it is the number one. It’s number one in the fastest five growing highest paying jobs. It grew last year by 21%. And it’s predicted to grow by another 21% by 2022. And it’s interesting because that’s faster than any other industry is growing on average across the globe. So, it’s an exciting time and as you said, especially, for women. I was really glad when I had my health struggle that I landed on nutrition and coaching because it actually enabled me to be at home with my daughter then when she was born because I had become a coach, and I could have the flexibility and the freedom, and I could work with, you know, on my schedule, and sometimes on the weekends when my husband could be with our daughter. And it turns out, that’s when most people want coaching anyway because they’re working during the week.

So, evenings and weekends, I started just, you know, working and getting clients. But it’s a great option for moms because of that flexibility and because of the wisdom that you gain by becoming a coach that you can then use with your family. And for me, that has just been huge, you know, having this education, being able to get my family well. My husband had a whole thing about maybe a year or two ago with leaky gut and started having these severe allergic reactions to foods, like, going into anaphylactic shock and we’d have to rush him to the hospital. But the great thing about that is because I had the education and the background, I was able to put together a really strong protocol. We were able to heal his leaky gut using transformational nutrition and he hasn’t had any symptoms since.

So, the value that you also bring into your own family is tremendous. And we’re seeing so many people right now at the Institute of Transformational Nutrition, including, you know, moms, some new moms, some moms that their kids are in school now. And they wanna really contribute in a big way. They wanna have the health for their families. We’re also seeing a lot of women who are looking to change careers because, you know, they wanna set that great example for their children. They wanna show up in the world and do things that matter. They wanna contribute to that next generation, which is really important to us. As a matter of fact, we have a whole community called the transformation generation because we are coming together as coaches, determined to make the world better for our children. So, yeah, It’s such a great opportunity for moms right now if they’re interested in being a health coach.

Katie: Yeah, absolutely. Like, I think we’re at the perfect time for it with so much of this being, you know, in the mainstream right now and people starting to really understand why all of these things are so important and why the personalization aspect is so important. Also, talk a little bit more about the accreditation, because I know like you mentioned it, but that’s something that really does separate you guys from a lot of the other options.

Cynthia: Yeah, I’d love to. So, one of the things that we knew from the very beginning was that, you know, we have this really great method called transformational nutrition. And, you know, a lot of people talk about mind, body, spirit, but transformational nutrition is currently the only scientific study of health and wellness on multiple levels that includes, you know, the physical nutrition, the mental nutrition, which is so critical these days, and spiritual nutrition, which, you know, has nothing to do with religion necessarily, but it’s all about connection, you know, connection to others, connection to yourself, relationships, your bigger purpose, and your bigger mission. And so, we knew that this was something really special.

So, when we started our school, we looked around and we would hear stories from students coming to us saying, “Oh, you know, I went to this school and I was halfway through and they just shut down,” or, “I went to this school and found out they actually weren’t a school and I kind of have to start over.” And that was so tough to hear, Katie, because, you know, these people had put their faith and this trust in these certification programs, and they put their money, and they invested their time. And so, we decided to take it to that next level. So, we are actually a fully state-licensed school, fully licensed and accredited through the state of Washington. So, we are a post-secondary educational institute, just like any other school, any other university out there. And for us, that’s important, but it’s even more important for our students to have that credibility and to, you know, actually come from… I mean, we’re kind of known in the industry as the next level, sort of like this Ivy League. We’re full of forward thinkers and, you know, credible coaches, and it’s why our coaches get paid more, it’s why they have longer and more fulfilling careers, is because we take our education very seriously, as it should be.

Katie: Absolutely. And I know a lot of people listen to this podcast while driving or exercising, so, for any of you guys who are interested, well, actually, multiple links will be in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm. But also, if you are by a computer right now, the direct link is transformationalnutrition.com/wellnessmama. so you guys can start to learn more about what Cynthia is talking about. And like I said at the beginning, this is where I received my certification, and it was amazing and transformational, to use that word, for me. So, I highly recommend it for any of you who have asked me what I recommend when it comes to becoming a health coach or getting involved in this world. And Cynthia, like I said at the beginning too, I could talk to you all day and I feel like our time always just flies by because you’re so fun to talk to, but a couple of questions I love to ask toward the end. First being, if there’s a book or a number of books that have really changed your life and if so, what they are and why?

Cynthia: Oh, gosh. So, I’m a voracious reader. It’s true. I’d rather read than eat, Katie, I swear. Just reading feeds me, you know, getting back to those deepest hungers. But there was a book that I found that really did radically change my life. When I first started my healing journey, I’d enrolled in this program that I shared. I just decided I didn’t know anything about healing my life. And strangely enough, I went to the bookstore and found the book called “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay, and I know you’re familiar with it. And it’s sort of like a good starter book, I say, for people who are interested in looking at what feeds you more than food, and looking at how your past trauma, and past pain, or maybe a troubled relationship with parents can be overcome, how you can really find your worth, and find your purpose, and your mission. And, you know, Louise Hay, who wrote the book, had her own struggle, her own health struggle. She was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier in her life and her career and was able to essentially heal her life. But I love it because it talks about, you know, our physical ailments and how they’re really tied to our deeper emotional trauma and triggers and what’s going on in our lives. So, that was huge for me, getting started and, again, just that great, you know, like, lowest level book to start with, but also one that’s so powerful, so don’t underestimate it. That was huge for me. Also, anything by Ram Dass, he’s definitely my greatest spiritual teacher. He’s amazing. You know, starting with “A Journey to Awakening,” it’s a great book to begin with. If you’re looking for a more spiritual and emotional journey, that’s always a great place to start. But yeah, those are some of my two, two of the ones I’d recommend to start.

Katie: I love those and those will be in the show notes as well for any of you listening. Lastly, Cynthia, is there any parting advice you wanna leave with our audience today, if related to our topic today or not, just any parting advice you wanna leave?

Cynthia: So, you know, I get asked this question a lot too. I don’t really give people advice, Katie, and I’ll tell you why. The truth is, I find that when I do they seldom take it anyway. And besides, I really believe that people already know what they wanna do in their lives. I think people know what advice they would give themselves. I think they know the right next step. I think that deep down they know. We all know. Like, I could give advice all day, but really what I want people to do is stop going outside of themselves and looking to the gurus, and the experts, and the authors, and the whatever the titles are, thought leaders, influencers, and really reconnect with yourself because I believe you have all the answers you need inside of you. And you might say, “Oh, but I don’t.” But I believe you do. I believe when we get quiet and we put the phones down, and we step away from all the distractions that numb us out from our daily life, I believe that we can hear, I believe we can hear what our body needs. I believe we can hear what our heart needs. I believe we can hear what our soul needs.

So, I’d rather give people the tools to really drill down and discover those wants and, you know, figure out what they’re really hungry for so they can then go feed themselves. Sometimes I think advice is disempowering, right? I’d rather you find those answers inside yourself so that you take back that power and use that to leverage and move you forward. Does that make sense? I’m not trying to avoid answering the question, I’m just rather inviting everyone to ask themselves that question. What advice would they give themselves? What is the next step? What do they need to do in their lives to really live the one that they want to be living? I’d rather we all take that on that personal mission for ourselves. It’s a much, much sweeter journey.

Katie: I agree. And I think that’s a perfect place to wrap up. And like I said, I highly, highly recommend the Institute for Transformational Nutrition, and all those links will be in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm. I definitely hope you guys will check it out. And Cynthia, I know how busy you are and how many people you help on a daily basis, so I’m honored you took the time to be here today.

Cynthia: Yeah. Thank you, Katie. It really is all my pleasure. Again, you’re such a light in my life. And just, yeah, thank you for all the support you offer, especially around, you know, ITN. You’ve done so much great things, so many great things with your education, and you’re such an inspiration. So, thank you, again, for just letting me be a part of your world.

Katie: Oh, thank you, Cynthia. And thanks to all of you for listening and sharing your most valuable asset, your time, with both of us today. We’re so glad that you did, and I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of “The Wellness Mama” podcast.

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

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