The Global Search for Education: Well Being

06/07/2016 07:35 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

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"I struggled with body image and the feeling of self-control. My erratic eating and tendency to isolate myself were harmful behaviors that did not bring me happiness, no matter how much I thought they would."  --  Izzy Baum 

Isadora Baum is passionate about Holistic Health. As a coach, entrepreneur and the founder of Live For You, she's dedicated to helping people achieve their personal wellness goals and feel their absolute best selves. The story of how she came to understand the importance of living well during her high school and college years is one that many young millennials living in the all-or-nothing society of binges and fasts will relate to. It's also an honest, intelligent and welcome voice in health education. Isadora joins us in The Global Search for Education to talk about holistic wellness and how it helps her tackle the challenges of being an up and coming health entrepreneur in today's world.

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"The obesity epidemic is scary--there is too much sugar, grease and processed additives in the foods that kids are growing up on, and by educating them at an early age, we can promote their wellbeing in health, academics and self-image."
-- Izzy Baum

What brought about your interest in Health and Wellness and why is it so important to you?

While sometimes it is hard to admit, throughout high school and freshman year of college, I struggled with body image and the feeling of self-control. My erratic eating and tendency to isolate myself were harmful behaviors that did not bring me happiness, no matter how much I thought they would. What peaked my interest was my desire to heal myself: to learn how to better my body with whole foods and exercise, and enjoy treats in moderation. There's only one life to live and one body to love and nurture, and I wanted to live mine in a healthful and fulfilling way that I could be proud of. 

How did you get from a major in Psychology to building your own coaching business? How did your education help, or not?

Psychology and the health industry are interlinked, and my background in psychology at Northwestern University enhanced my understanding of the way the mind and body work to influence one's motivation, mood, appetite and habits. I studied the psychology of personality, eating disorders and communication. In order to help others discover who they are, who they want to be, and what steps are required to get there, it's critical to understand what truly makes them tick. I also studied the art of communication and active listening, tools that allow me to connect with my clients and define their needs and goals. My studies, as well as an editorial role for the food magazine, Spoon University, compelled me to pursue a career in health and wellness, and so I enrolled in The Institute For Integrative Nutrition, whereby I received a certification as a Holistic Health Coach.

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"With the ups and downs and demanding schedule that come with being an entrepreneur, it can be challenging to not let stress influence my eating and exercise habits or emotions; however, I know that if I feel unbalanced, I will not be able to help my clients. I owe it to my business and self to prioritize personal health."
--  Izzy Baum

What do you believe is unique about your approach to health?

My personal experiences and communication skills allow me to relate to clients and provide the patience, attention and compassion they deserve. Nowadays, it often feels as though doctor and dietician appointments are rushed--it's hard to deliver personal attention when there are so many people in need. We are able to create an intimate experience and warm environment for clients to express themselves, receive unconditional support and adapt to a healthier, sustainable lifestyle that will complement primary physician instruction, as well.

My approach is holistic. Instead of generating a meal plan, I help clients crowd out unhealthy foods and habits for healthier ones, such as swapping potato chips for pistachios when a salty craving hits or reading the morning news on a cardio machine, rather than at the kitchen table. Creating simple substitutions and adding in healthy elements, rather than subtracting unhealthy (and often enjoyable!) ones, shapes a positive perspective. Holistic wellness allows health practitioners to leverage off of one another and provide the best, whole-rounded care to each patient.

You coach individuals as well as children - what have you learned about healthy habits and the impact on children's lives?

Healthy habits can be hard to develop and maintain, but if they are learned at a young age, those changes are more likely to stick. Children are very impressionable; they often view their parents as role models and take after their behaviors. It's important to educate both parents and children on how to be healthy and balanced, avoiding any extremes that could backfire. The obesity epidemic is scary--there is too much sugar, grease and processed additives in the foods that kids are growing up on, and by educating them at an early age, we can promote their wellbeing in health, academics and self-image.

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"I would like to increase the number of group programs within my practice, as I find that these programs boost results and provide additional social support, where participants can share in one another's recipes, motivation and success."
--  Izzy Baum

What are the most challenging things about being an entrepreneur and building a business in the health and fitness space? How do you stay motivated and manage your own health and wellbeing in the process?

Building a business is tough--there are fluctuations between slow and busy periods, and the entrepreneurial route forces you to wear many hats. I feel that health coaching is on the rise, but it has not yet fully blossomed into common knowledge and utility. Holistic health is now a craze. Many companies have even started to integrate health coaching services into corporate benefit plans, medical and healthcare practices, and even hotel spas and fitness centers. Unfortunately, amongst the general public at large, the concept that a health coach can act as a guide and really benefit you on this journey has not hit quite yet. Such ambivalence has created obstacles for me. However, this makes for an opportunity to step outside of the comfort zone and take a chance on a growing field that has a lot to offer.

While I find myself discouraged at times, I focus on staying positive and showing (not telling) potential clients how health coaching would benefit them. For instance, I'll ask them to share a health goal they have, rank it on a priority scale, and list factors that have hindered them, or I might give them a few tips on how best to pair foods to keep calories, fat and sugar in check. By offering a taste, I'm able to show there's real potential for results ahead.

With the ups and downs and demanding schedule that come with being an entrepreneur, it can be challenging to not let stress influence my eating and exercise habits or emotions; however, I know that if I feel unbalanced, I will not be able to help my clients. I owe it to my business and self to prioritize personal health.

What is your "dream dare do" for the next 5 years?

In the next five years, I would love to expand my health coaching business and take it to new heights. I would like to increase the number of group programs within my practice, as I find that these programs boost results and provide additional social support, where participants can share in one another's recipes, motivation and success. I also hope to build a team of Live For You Now health coaches, providing services to people over a larger platform, and organize a health retreat, bringing people from around the globe together in feeling healthier, happier and alive.

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C. M. Rubin and Izzy Baum

(All pictures are courtesy of CMRubinWorld)

Join me and globally renowned thought leaders including Sir Michael Barber (UK), Dr. Michael Block (U.S.), Dr. Leon Botstein (U.S.), Professor Clay Christensen (U.S.), Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond (U.S.), Dr. MadhavChavan (India), Professor Michael Fullan (Canada), Professor Howard Gardner (U.S.), Professor Andy Hargreaves (U.S.), Professor Yvonne Hellman (The Netherlands), Professor Kristin Helstad (Norway), Jean Hendrickson (U.S.), Professor Rose Hipkins (New Zealand), Professor Cornelia Hoogland (Canada), Honourable Jeff Johnson (Canada), Mme. Chantal Kaufmann (Belgium), Dr. EijaKauppinen (Finland), State Secretary TapioKosunen (Finland), Professor Dominique Lafontaine (Belgium), Professor Hugh Lauder (UK), Lord Ken Macdonald (UK), Professor Geoff Masters (Australia), Professor Barry McGaw (Australia), Shiv Nadar (India), Professor R. Natarajan (India), Dr. Pak Tee Ng (Singapore), Dr. Denise Pope (US), Sridhar Rajagopalan (India), Dr. Diane Ravitch (U.S.), Richard Wilson Riley (U.S.), Sir Ken Robinson (UK), Professor Pasi Sahlberg (Finland), Professor Manabu Sato (Japan), Andreas Schleicher (PISA, OECD), Dr. Anthony Seldon (UK), Dr. David Shaffer (U.S.), Dr. Kirsten Sivesind (Norway), Chancellor Stephen Spahn (U.S.), Yves Theze (LyceeFrancais U.S.), Professor Charles Ungerleider (Canada), Professor Tony Wagner (U.S.), Sir David Watson (UK), Professor Dylan Wiliam (UK), Dr. Mark Wormald (UK), Professor Theo Wubbels (The Netherlands), Professor Michael Young (UK), and Professor Minxuan Zhang (China) as they explore the big picture education questions that all nations face today.
The Global Search for Education Community Page

C. M. Rubin is the author of two widely read online series for which she received a 2011 Upton Sinclair award, "The Global Search for Education" and "How Will We Read?" She is also the author of three bestselling books, including The Real Alice in Wonderland, is the publisher of CMRubinWorld, and is a Disruptor Foundation Fellow.