Alumni Highlight: ACHS Grad Finds Success As A Health Coach | achs.edu

    Written by: Gillian Turner /
    Oct 30, 2020 11:30:00 AM

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    Kiana Murphy-Toney graduated from ACHS in 2018 with a Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition and now works as a health coach focusing on weight loss and lifestyle changes.

    Discovering Holistic Health

    While getting her undergraduate degree in Psychology, Kiana initially wanted to be a marriage and family therapist. After graduating, she realized that it didn't fit as a career choice and did some soul searching. "I knew I was passionate about something, I just didn't know what," she says.

    Kiana says that she was drawn to holistic health because she is a spiritual person and during her soul searching, she realized that she wanted it to be incorporated into her career. "I did more research and discovered that’s kind of what holistic health is. Encompassing mind, body, and soul, and making sure they are all balanced and you are achieving optimal wellness," she says.

    Choosing Holistic Nutrition

    After deciding to pursue a career in holistic health, Kiana needed to narrow down her area of interest. "I found that I was really interested in food and how people are addicted to food and how they can end up gaining so much weight from their eating habits," she says. It was at that point that she decided to pursue a graduate degree in nutrition.

    While searching for nutrition programs online, she came across ACHS. "I loved it when I saw that they had a Master’s degree in Holistic Nutrition," Kiana says. "In that moment I knew this is going to be the school I’m going to."

    Kiana says that she was prepared to get another undergraduate degree at ACHS if her Psychology degree didn't qualify her for the Master's program, but was pleasantly surprised that she didn't need to.

    Becoming a Health Coach

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    "The biggest thing that ACHS helped me with was to broaden my horizons and open me up to opportunities that I didn’t really even know existed. ACHS really showed there’s so many things in the holistic realm that you can do," Kiana says. Once she graduated, she began looking for a job online as a health coach. "I just kind of had to be patient and searched on all job sites I could possibly think of and that's how I got the job," she says.

    For holistic health graduates searching for jobs, Kiana's number one tip is to be patient. She also says that you should have an idea ahead of time of what you're looking for in a company so you can ask the right questions at the interview and know if it's a good fit for you.

    In the day to day of Kiana's job as an online health coach, she helps people lose weight through behavior changes. "We use motivational interviewing to get people to change the behaviors that they’re ready to change at this time and kind of meeting the client where they’re at," she says. "My day to day is talking to clients all day and helping and guiding them to their weight loss goals. Sometimes it’s not to lose weight, but to just change their behavior and improve their overall health."

    Kiana says that her favorite part of her job is seeing people not only reach their health goals, but also along the way discover that they have improved in other areas of their lives as a result. "They’re able to manage their stress better, or they have decreased anxiety, or they feel more confident in their skin," Kiana says. "Seeing them go through this overall health and wellness change that they didn’t realize was going to happen, I think seeing them share those stories is probably my favorite part."

    Kiana also hopes to start a lifestyle blog focused on holistic health. "My vision for it is to kind of encompass holistic health and bring my passion full circle. I want it to be a place to share my story and for other women to share their stories, and I want it to be a safe space," she says. "Working as a health coach, I see a lot of women who feel like they’re kind of alone in this journey and feel like they don’t have any extra support. I'm hoping that it really can be a place to come together and support one another through any challenges we may face."

    Time Management and Goal Setting Tips

    Kiana shares some of her favorite time management and goal setting tips that have helped her succeed.

    Use a Planner

    "Being able to plan your week and knowing what is ahead helps with not feeling so overwhelmed throughout the day," Kiana says. She uses a physical planner, but says that a print calendar or virtual calendar, such as Google Calendar, could also work.

    dreamstime goal setting photo-2Be Flexible

    Allowing for some flexibility is key to good time management. "I typically look at my planner at the beginning of the day in the morning, just to get a birds-eye view of what I have to do today," Kiana says. "If there are some items without a deadline, I might push them to a different day so my day isn't too full. Every day is different and you never know what will happen, so just be okay with shifting things around if need be," she says.

    Set Short Term and Long Term Goals

    "Your short term goals can feed into whatever your long term goal is," Kiana says. The short term goals can act as a roadmap to your long term goal and can act as milestones. When you achieve a short term goal, you'll know that you are one step closer to your long term goal! Without this "roadmap" it can be easy to get discouraged while trying to achieve a big goal, because you never know if you are getting any closer to it.

    Celebrate Milestones

    When you complete a short term goal, celebrate it! "You know that you did a good job and you deserve to treat yourself. I think it helps you to keep going and just know that every day is a work in progress," Kiana says.

    What are some of your favorite time management and goal setting tips? Share them in the comments below, we would love to hear!

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    Disclosure of Material Connection: I am the social media coordinator for the American College of Healthcare Sciences, the Institution that publishes this blog. However, all opinions are my own. This blog may contain affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

    This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine. 

    About American College of Healthcare Sciences

    ACHS Founding President Dorene Petersen with three studentsAmerican College founded in 1978, is a fully online accredited institute of higher education specializing in holistic health. Based in Portland, OR; our goal is to make research-driven and science-based holistic health education taught by industry-leading experts accessible to anyone anywhere while still giving students a hands-on experiential learning experience like a traditional college and a strong sense of community, school pride and student bond.

    This commitment to our students and graduates reflects in our current survey results that reflect 98% of our students would recommend ACHS to a friend or family member.

    We believe education is the most powerful tool for changing an individual and the world around us. 

    When a person enrolls as ACHS, it is vitally important that they graduate with tools they need to forge their own holistic and sustainable missions, build up their communities confidently and changing the face of healthcare with knowledge.

    Authored by Gillian Turner

    Gillian joined ACHS after graduating from Linfield College with a BA in Mass Communication and a minor in visual studies. She grew up off the grid in rural southern Oregon and spent time exploring the forest surrounding her house and teaching gardening classes to other children in her garden. While at Linfield, Gillian gained valuable experience in public relations, social media management, and digital art. She was awarded a strategic communication scholarship and inducted into Kappa Tau Alpha, a national college honor society “that recognizes academic excellence and promotes scholarship in journalism and mass communication.” When not at work, Gillian can most often be found making art, enjoying nature or drinking coffee with her husband, Preston. Her interests include sustainability, mental wellness, and trying to stay connected to nature while living in the city. She studied abroad at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and has traveled to over ten different countries. Her favorite place that she has visited is the Scottish Highlands, and she hopes to visit many more countries in the future.

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