Nikki Virag is a graduate of your Nutrition & Health Coaching Diploma. She is now the Lead Health Coach at BeyondBMI, a digitally-delivered obesity clinic. We caught up with Nikki to discuss her interest in nutrition, her nutrition philosophies and her role in BeyondBMI.
When did you first become interested in nutrition and health?
I first became interested in nutrition and health while I was on a mission to find a missing piece in my own well-being. After a lifelong battle with depression and witnessing the impact of various diseases in my family, including cancer, I realised there had to be a connection between our lifestyle choices and our overall well-being. This sparked my curiosity and set me on a path to explore the role of nutrition in improving mental and physical health. Once I started getting involved in it, I quickly realised that there is an overwhelming amount of studies pointing to the crucial role of nutrition in our disease pathways – there was no stopping from there! Studying nutrition and health coaching has been life-changing for me. My journey is always ongoing, however, I’m extremely passionate about helping others transform their lives with nutrition and lifestyle choices that are sustainable, manageable and make them feel empowered and fulfilled. I firmly believe that balance is key, and creating sustainable, small changes go the longest way.
So what made you decide to study with IINH?
I spent considerable time researching the right nutrition and health coaching courses, and it was crucial for me to learn from a credible institute that provided comprehensive and evidence-based education. When I came across IINH, I was impressed by its reputation, experienced faculty, and the practical approach they offered. When I was still hesitant about enrolling, I had the opportunity to speak with the founder Richard Burton, who was incredibly personable and reassuring, making me confident in my decision.
The program provided a well-rounded curriculum that covered a wide range of topics, from the science of nutrition to coaching techniques, ensuring that I gained the knowledge and skills needed to support others effectively. My experience studying with IINH was transformative, as it not only deepened my understanding of nutrition but also equipped me with the tools to individuals on their own health journeys.
You are working as a health coach with BeyondBMI. Tell us a bit about that.
As the Lead Health Coach at BeyondBMI, a digitally-delivered obesity clinic, I work alongside a multidisciplinary team of doctors, dietitians, and clinical nurse specialists. Our mission is to deliver non-judgemental medical expertise and the latest therapies to transform the lives of people living with the disease of obesity. My role involves conducting 1-to-1 coaching sessions with clients, providing them with continuous support, accountability, and guidance throughout their health journey. By collaborating with other healthcare professionals experts in this field, we ensure that our clients receive comprehensive care and access to the latest therapies.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding aspect of being a health coach is witnessing the positive impact we can have on someone’s life. Seeing individuals make progress, overcome challenges, and experience positive transformations is incredibly fulfilling. Whether it’s helping people develop healthier eating habits, nurturing a positive relationship with food, or empowering them to make long-term behaviour changes, being a part of someone’s health journey towards improved physical and mental well-being is truly gratifying.
In addition, integrating health coaching into multidisciplinary healthcare teams is a rapidly evolving field that is gaining recognition and support. With increasing evidence showing improved health outcomes, the role of health coaching is becoming more prominent in healthcare settings. Being part of BeyondBMI, I have the opportunity to contribute to the development of this field and witness firsthand the positive impact it has on our clients. It’s truly rewarding to be at the forefront of this progress and to be able to make a meaningful contribution to the healthcare industry.
What is your personal nutrition philosophy?
My personal nutrition philosophy revolves around a balanced and holistic approach that considers individual needs and preferences. We live in a world filled with information overload, which can be overwhelming for someone seeking guidance.
In such cases, I believe it’s essential to zoom out and identify the common ground that most nutrition approaches agree upon. That is: embracing whole foods and minimising processed foods. It’s about getting back to the basics and focusing on real, nutrient-dense ingredients that provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants by incorporating a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats into our diets.
However, nutrition is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Each person is unique, with different needs, preferences, health and cultural backgrounds. Starting with these simple, foundation principles can set us on the right path – beyond that It’s about finding what works for each person, considering their unique needs and preferences, and making sustainable changes that promote long-term well-being.
If we are looking for sustainable changes to enhance our health is wellbeing, I also find it important to assess our eating habits and our relationship with food. This is an often overlooked step that can hinder our goals and can make a difference in our progress.
Ultimately, my goal as a nutrition and health coach is to guide individuals in navigating the overwhelming sea of information, providing evidence-based guidance so they can make informed choices that align with their own health goals and values.
And what advice would you give to someone who is considering studying Nutrition and Health Coaching?
I would encourage anyone considering studying Nutrition and Health Coaching to pursue it wholeheartedly. The field offers valuable skills that not only enable you to help others but also help you to improve your own well-being. When choosing an institute or program, look for one that offers globally-recognised accreditation, a comprehensive curriculum and a practical approach, combining scientific knowledge with coaching skills. Most importantly – always remain open-minded and curious. Nutrition and health coaching is an ever-developing field with new research coming out constantly. It’s important to embrace continuous learning and never stop exploring.
If you’d like to learn more about Nikki Virag, you can visit her website Eat Better Live More or connect with her on the below social media channels.
If you’ve been inspired by Nikki’s story and would like to start a new career, learn more about our Nutrition & Health Coaching course.