Grad Spotlight

AFPA Graduate Spotlight: Amy Lydia Zehren McNally, Holistic Nutritionist

During the last 25 years, we’ve certified over 110,000 professionals. To celebrate our 25th year in business, we’re selecting 25 grads to showcase this year. Meet our next featured grad, Amy Lydia Zehren McNally, a certified holistic nutritionist.

Tell us a little bit about your story. How did your interest and passion for this field begin?

My passion for wellness increased after being diagnosed with 2 autoimmune diseases: Sjogrens and Autoimmune Neuropathy. Before my diagnoses, I was living in New York City enjoying a thriving life and marketing career. I spent years working in management doing national branding and marketing partnerships for brands such as Equinox Gyms and Ralph Lauren. That all came to a halt. It took years for me to get better and figure out this whole wellness thing.

The many challenges of my health journey opened my eyes to a health epidemic that’s just not going away. Millions of people are struggling like I was. Many people want to get healthier and have nowhere to turn. Most doctors don’t have the time to walk people through the healing process and the necessary lifestyle changes required to improve health. 

I saw that void and went back to school. I’d had my “aha” moment and wanted to give others theirs too. I completed my Master’s Degree and became Certified by AFPA in Holistic Nutrition and in Wellness Coaching from the Mayo Clinic. I’m super passionate about helping others find their best version of wellness and guiding them towards a new light of health.

Why did you decide to pursue a certification in the health and nutrition field?

Holistic Nutrition and a healthy lifestyle helped me improve my own health conditions. If this lifestyle could help me, certainly others could benefit too. I’d had my “aha” moment! Now I wanted to give others theirs too. In particular, I wanted to help people learn how to eat healthier in a balanced natural way. Nutrition is often the missing element in the healing process. I saw the void that people wanted to improve their health but there were not enough people to help. I found my purpose to help others with nutrition and wellness and the AFPA Holistic Nutrition certification was the perfect fit! 

What made you particularly interested in the certification that you chose?

I chose the Holistic Nutrition certification because I believe in a holistic approach to healing. Health is not merely the absence of disease. With my clients, I dive deep into how all parts of their lifestyle affect well-being (physical, emotional, spiritual, work, social, and intellectual). My coaching seeks to create harmony by balancing each of these lifestyle areas to help individuals achieve optimum health and less stress. I was very interested in holistic nutrition because it focuses on a natural and balanced approach to a healthy diet. As a Holistic Nutritionist, I look at the whole picture to identify and help correct the nutritional causes of major health complaints, design personalized diet and wellness programs, and counsel on holistic nutrition, healthy wholesome eating habits, and nutrition monitoring to improve quality of life. 

Why did you choose AFPA as your certifying organization?

I chose AFPA because of its credibility. The program was organized, professional, and full of nutrition content that I found useful for myself and clients. I loved the holistic program and its components. There are not many accredited programs that offer a Holistic Nutrition program. I truly believe following a natural, whole foods diet and a holistic way of eating and living can be life changing and transformative.  AFPA teaches these mantras. 

What do you do now?

Currently, I own my own nutrition and wellness company! I also am a Nutritionist and Wellness Coach at the YMCA. It is so rewarding to help others reach their health and nutrition goals. 

Today, my life is different than before; it’s brighter than ever and filled with purpose. My background in national marketing and branding provides a cultural context of wellness that is complemented with a holistic nutrition and wellness certification from AFPA and the Mayo Clinic- this vision has proved valuable in connecting with clients of every age and background. 


Have you found that having a specific accreditation has enabled you to be more credible?  Has it impacted your career?

Yes! My certification from the AFPA has positively impacted my career. Having the credentials to back up my knowledge helped me start my own business.  The Holistic Nutrition Certification is especially powerful as there are not many others like it. Having the credentials from AFPA has helped me make my dream a reality. 

What do you like best about working in this industry?

I love being able to make a positive impact on people’s health every day.  Millions of people are struggling with their health just like I was and have nowhere to turn. There is also a missing link between implementing the doctor’s advice and the patient implementing the doctor’s recommendations. I love filling in this link of education, understanding and implementation for clients! With my help, clients can get not only results but also compassion, counsel, and a dedicated guide. I love being able to share the knowledge I’ve learned with others. It’s super gratifying!  

How did you this certification program impact your overall life?

My life is much different now then it was before certification. I don’t just have a job-I have a vocation and purpose to help others. My life is much brighter and happier with the opportunities I’ve received through certification. I look forward to continuing to share my story, experiences and knowledge with others so that others can find their best version of healthy and feel less alone in their wellness journey. 

Do you have any advice for other people who are considering a certification and trying to decide which organization to get certified through?

I’d definitely recommend the AFPA. After comparing, you will see that the AFPA is a great choice and first step in your own wellness journey.

To stay up to date with Amy’s fitness and wellness journey, or if you would like to start your own journey with her help, take a look at her social media pages:




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