It is with great excitement that I celebrate my graduation from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition on December 2nd. It’s a virtual graduation, because it is a virtual course, so I don’t actually get a cap and gown like in the past.  What I have received is my certification from the AADP as a Health Coach, and this is the basis for my new business The Family Plate.

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Marie graduates HS, 1999

These are iPhone pictures of my graduation pictures that hang in my mother’s house.  I lovingly call this one, “The Giant Marie Head”.  It’s the largest picture of myself I’ve ever seen and since I am the oldest in my family, it hung alone on the wall for 3 years before being accompanied by the “giant Vincent head”. Graduations stick with us because they are natural milestones in one’s life.  After graduating college I didn’t think there would be more cap and gown photos in my future.  But in this past year of my self imposed “sabbatical” I’ve been given a great opportunity to go back to school and take a new direction in life.

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Marie graduates College, 2003

This time last year, I knew I wanted to do something health related, but had no idea what.  I thought about becoming a yoga teacher but couldn’t find the right fit. Luckily, the universe sent an old friend to me with a wonderful idea – become a Certified Health Coach.  I began school in January of 2013 and have spent this year learning over 100 dietary theories.  It’s been exciting to be back in school and placing a focus on learning and expanding one’s mind. I’ve have a few weeks off since our lectures ended and I actually miss them!  (I always was a teacher’s pet!)
With my certification under my belt, I can now shift my focus entirely to serving my clients and working towards the optimal health of myself and those around me.  In fact today I made my mother vegan chocolate pudding, just to show her how it’s done.  We’re not vegan, but it’s fun to learn new recipes and try new methods for preparing food.  For me it’s all about moving forward and gathering up new bits and pieces of information as we go along.  What’s great about being a health coach is that I get to interact with my clients and learn from them as well.  
Many thanks to my husband Ran and my family for being so supportive.  Without their love and encouragement I’m not sure I would have been able to take this leap!
So here’s to 2014, a new year, a new career and many new people to meet!  

 

 

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Marie's New Office

Marie’s New Office

I never would have dreamed over 4 years ago when I started this blog that someday I would have such an exciting announcement to make.  But here it is – my first office in New York City for personalized health coaching.

Since January, I have been a student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition – the world’s largest nutrition school.  I have been working towards my Health Coach certification and it’s been a trans-formative year.  I’ve learned over 100 dietary theories and how to successfully coach people to unlock their inner potential to achieve health and much more.

Health coaching was not something I was even aware of when I left my job in the corporate world last year.  I knew that I wanted to do something in a health related field, but I assumed that I would become a yoga teacher.  I was practicing yoga 3x a week and found it to be a good fit for me, because I’d spent so much time in corporate education.  I thought, “well, I’ll just go educate people about yoga instead of cosmetics.”  The one hurdle was that I really loved Bikram Yoga but the training to become a teacher is 9 weeks long and held in Los Angeles.  I had a 15 month baby at home and a husband, I couldn’t very well leave for LA for 2 months.  I started to look around for other types of yoga that I might enjoy so that I could potentially become certified in a different type of yoga, but nothing really spoke to me.  Just when I thought yoga teaching might work out for me a dear friend told me about a certification course she was taking.  She mentioned, off-hand, “Marie this might be a good idea for you.”  I said to her, “You’re nuts! Me? Telling people how to get healthy? No way.”  I just couldn’t see myself as a “health professional”.  I still saw myself as someone who was in the trenches fighting everyday to regain health.  I was looking for health professionals to help me, not the other way around.  But then she reminded me, “But what about your blog?”

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The picture that inspired a cheese-loving blog.

Oh yeah.  What about my blog?  My whole reason for starting the blog was to give other people a first hand account of what it’s like for a “real person” to lose weight.  I was so sick of the shows on TV like “Biggest Loser” that were only targeting the morbidly obese.  Where were all the women who had 30lbs to lose?  The average women?  The women who looked like me?

They weren’t on TV.  It was either super skinny actresses or people with hundreds of pounds to lose.  That’s why I started writing.  I got so many encouraging responses about the blog that I kept writing.  There were lean times when I had zero inspiration and there were times when blogging came very easy – just like weight loss.  I kept writing and hoping someone was out there listening feeling comforted knowing someone else (Me) was going through things with them.

The Family Plate Logo by Paul Ingrisano

When I decided to take a leap of faith and enroll in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I didn’t know what would come of it.  I figured, I’ll do the course and see if it works out.  In the meantime I was just going to learn as much as I could even if it would end up being for my own knowledge.

Just 2 months after starting The Family Plate, I am already working with 10 people on reclaiming their health!  Meeting these women and men (yep! one dude) has enriched my life immeasurably.  Hearing their stories and their struggles gives me a greater insight into not just my own life, but the world.  Guiding them to try new whole grains, vegetables and self-care activities is so rewarding for me.  Hearing them say, “Before I ate that extra serving, I thought ‘What would Marie Do?'” was unbelievable to me!  Here I am – ready to help! Ready to inspire you and hold you accountable.  Wow – what a year it has been!

Through another stroke of good luck and timing, I was given the opportunity to open an office as part of the Soho Professional Health Center in Soho, NYC.  I am writing this post to you from my new office with some “Stress Away” essential oil diffusing into the air.  It’s lovely.

The beauty of health coaching is that it can be done in person or by phone, so for those of you not able to make it to Soho – fear not!  I can still become your personal cheerleader and health coach.

While writing this blog entry, I was reminding of Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Barbara Walters from 2010.  This was her farewell tour as she was ending her show and starting OWN.  I won’t even attempt to paraphrase or explain it – but her words inspired me.  I didn’t know then how I was going to let God “use me up” but I think I do now.

If you are interested in having a conversation with me about health coaching and how it could change your life email me at marie@thefamilyplate.com.  Visit my website http://www.thefamilyplate.com for more information or stop by my Soho office!

Primary Food

June 14, 2013

Taken from Institute for Integrative Nutrition

“All that we consider today as nutrition is really just a secondary source of energy.

Think back to a time when you were passionately in love. Everything was exciting. Colors were vivid. You were floating on air, gazing into your lover’s eyes. Your lover’s touch and your shared feelings of exhilaration were enough to sustain you. You forgot about food and were high on life.
Remember a time when you were deeply involved in an exciting project. You believed in what you were doing and felt confident and stimulated. Time seemed to stop. The outside world faded away. You didn’t feel the need to eat. Someone had to come by and remind you.
Imagine children playing outside with friends. At dinnertime the mother reminds the children, “Time to come in and eat.” “No mommy, I’m not hungry yet,” they respond. At the dinner table, the mother feels that her role is to enforce the rules of good nutrition and instructs the children to eat their food. Eventually, the children force down a minimally acceptable amount of food and rush out again to play. At the end of the day, the kids return, exhausted, and go to sleep without thinking about food at all.
As children, we all lived on primary food. The same as when deeply in love, or working passionately on a project. The fun, excitement and love of daily life have the power to feed us so that food becomes secondary.

Now think of a time when you were depressed, or your self-esteem was low; you were starving for primary food. No amount of secondary food would do. You ate as much as you wanted, but you never felt satisfied. Even in good times when we come home at night, we often look into the refrigerator for something to eat, when all we really want is a hug or someone to talk to.
Primary foods feed us, but they don’t come on a plate. Elements such as a meaningful spiritual practice, an inspiring career, regular and enjoyable physical activity and honest and open relationships that feed your soul and your hunger for living all constitute primary food.
The more primary food we receive, the less we depend upon secondary foods. The opposite is also true. The more we fill ourselves with secondary foods, the less we are able to receive the primary foods of life. 

Every spiritual tradition encourages people to fast during the year so that individuals have time to reduce secondary foods, thus allowing for a greater awareness of primary food.”

 

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