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Career 180: Inspiring others to be healthy

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HANDOUT Credit: MARISSA VICARIO

For Marissa Vicario, working in public relations didn’t satisfy her interest in nutrition and her desire to inspire others to be healthy. So, even after getting a master’s degree in a related field, she left her PR job at a Fortune 500 company to start a career as a holistic health coach. Vicario, 35, went back to school to study nutrition and holistic health, and founded Marissa’s Well-Being and Health in October 2009, and then launched MWAHonline.com and WhereINeedtoBe.com. She works with individuals and employees at companies to help people learn how to make their lives more fulfilling and healthy. She lives in TriBeCa with her boyfriend.

Why did you switch careers?

I always knew that I was meant to be doing more meaningful work in the world than what I was doing in my corporate job. I always had a personal interest in health and fitness and when I discovered that I could actually make a career out of inspiring people to change their diet and lifestyle and become happier and healthier, I knew that I had found the right path for me. So I went back to school to study nutrition and holistic health coaching.

What is holistic health?

For me, it really means looking at every area of your life and how it fits together to make a complete healthy and happy and well-balanced person. It's what you eat, it’s how you're exercising it’s the relationships that you have in your life, how you feel about your job, what your financial standing is, your spiritual growth; all of those things kind of fit together to make a complete, healthy person.

What is a major obstacle people face in getting healthy?

I think a lot of people get in their own way they think they don’t have time, or they think that their schedule is really crazy, but really none of those things have to be barriers. You can really work around anything in your life if you really make healthy living a priority. I think the second thing that slows people down is there's so much information out there and people don't really know how to make sense of it. So if you don't really understand what you're eating or the choices that you're making in your life, and how they might be affecting you, then it makes it all the more difficult and frustrating.

What is your regimen?

Waking up and starting my day, I like to drink a cup of hot water with fresh lemon juice and apple cider vinegar and I do some exercise in the morning, and then I make healthy choices throughout my day. I eat lots and lots of vegetables every single day, drinking a lot of water throughout the day. Keeping my stress levels low also, whether that's with yoga or making sure I have supportive friends in my life.

What are some pros and cons of your new job?

The pros, they're endless. I love that I've been able to create a life on my own terms and a career on my terms. That brings a lot of fulfillment and flexibility and I get to be creative in a way that in my corporate job I was not able to be. A con is just, owning your own business brings with it a lot of other stresses, in terms of, you don't have a steady paycheck and you don't have the health insurance and the 40lK. However I will say that my happiness and being fulfilled in my job were a lot more important to me.

Looking back, do you wish you had gone into this originally?

I think everything happens in its own time so I do think that every experience that I've had along the way has prepared me for what I'm doing now. And had I not had my experience in corporate America, first of all I would never be able to relate to the clients that I have now and my public relations and marketing background, that helps me in various areas of owning my own business.

Do you have any advice for readers who are considering a career 180?

Just go for it. I think we tend to focus on a lot of why we shouldn't, and why it won't work. Focus on [taking] small actions every single day to get there. 

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