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You are here: Home Faculty/Staff News 20 Minutes with Brooke Banet, wellness coach

20 Minutes with Brooke Banet, wellness coach

by UofL Today last modified Jan 20, 2010 03:00 PM

The holidays are upon us, and that means lots of food and opportunities to overeat.

No matter whether we gain weight or not, it is true that at this time of year it is tempting to eat more than we should – sure I'll have another piece of pie!

UofL Today decided to find out from Get Healthy Now how to get through the holidays without wreaking havoc on our diets and our health. We talked to Brooke Banet, a GHN wellness coach, about the on-campus wellness coaching program and about the advice she'd give someone in the program. Banet is certified through Wellcoaches Corp., endorsed by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Before we begin, tell me briefly about the Wellness Coaching program through Get Healthy Now.

Wellness coaching is a program that allows an individual to work one-on-one with a coach, in complete confidentiality to achieve their ideal self in terms of wellness. What this means is, you have an opportunity to focus just on YOU, figuring out how to make those hopes and dreams of the things you want to do or the person you want to be become a reality by building on your individual strengths. Any UofL employee, spouse, or qualifying adult may participate in wellness coaching through Get Healthy Now.

What is your role as a wellness coach?

In wellness coaching, my role is to help you reach your wellness goals. By asking open-ended questions, I allow you to discover what it really is you want to achieve. Together, we may brainstorm ideas on how to achieve your goals, or I may assist you with resources and or give you options that might help you. Not only will I serve as your personal resource person, I will also be your accountability partner and support throughout the process of achieving your wellness vision.

How does this differ from the telephonic and e-mail coaching Get Healthy Now offers through Health Fitness Corp.?

The biggest difference is that it takes place in person and it may be more in-depth. I come to your office or a location that is convenient for you. You also can choose a meeting time that works best for your schedule. In the first session, typically we will go over what you have been doing to deal with your stress, and discuss your physical activity and eating patterns. After finding out what you are doing currently, we will use your strengths and move into the focus of coaching: your wellness vision. How do you see yourself three months, six months, one year from now? We will discuss motivators, barriers and strategies to make you successful. Each time we meet we will set goals that will move you closer to your wellness vision.

I'm sure you'll be helping people through the holiday season. It's easy to overeat and gain weight because of the sheer amount of food that will be available from Thanksgiving through the New Year.

What's the best way to approach this season of feasting?

Go into the season realizing that it is all about the choices we make.

So we probably shouldn't just think we'll eat whatever we want and ignore any negative consequences?

Thinking that definitely sets us up for possible weight gain. If we don't want to fall victim to weight gain, we have to work to fight it off. This doesn't mean that we can't enjoy all the fun and festivities; it just means that when it comes to eating we should practice the 80/20 rule.  80 percent of the time, eat the good stuff - fruits, veggies, lean proteins and complex carbs; 20 percent of the time allow yourself to have that cookie or other favorite food.

It is so easy to overeat especially when there are so many good things to choose from that we might not always get an opportunity to have any other time of the year. I encourage you to plan ahead. Think about all the choices that you might have when it comes to food.

The choices that you have on a regular basis - for example mashed potatoes - maybe skip those and go for a small portion of something that is typically only served during the holidays, like turkey dressing. Having a plan ahead of time of what you are going to eat may help, but a very important thing that we could do is listen to our bodies.

Be mindful of what you are eating, slow down and savor the flavors of each dish. When our stomach begins to fill up and we notice that we are getting full, that is the time that we need to stop and be finished with our meal. If we do eat past our hunger threshold, just remember not to feel guilty, but rather to learn from this and start fresh at the next meal.

A lot of people may have to go to two or three places on Thanksgiving. How can they manage this without either overeating or offending their hosts?

I just happen to be one of those people so I do understand. A few things that I think could be helpful would be to let your hosts know ahead of time whether or not you will be eating with them, taking the pressure off yourself to eat everywhere you go. Also you could take food home allowing yourself to indulge in some specialty foods all weekend long. If your host just insists that you eat something, again plan ahead and think about having just a little at each place or separating the meal out - lunch at one place, dessert at another and a light dinner at your final location.

What you're saying, really, is to think ahead and be mindful of what we're doing.

Absolutely. As the holidays are approaching it is important for us to remember that we do have control over the choices that we make. By trying some of the eating strategies above, it is my hope that you will be successful this holiday season.

In addition to planning how we eat, we also can combat the calories by adding in activity. This doesn't have to be your traditional exercise program, and it doesn't mean that you have to be at the gym. Think about all the little things that you can do to add more movement into your day. Park further away when shopping. Make a few extra laps at the mall before you start shopping. Start a new family tradition that involves being active, like going on a scavenger hunt or collecting leaves or nuts, or just going on a walk outdoors.

Try thinking differently about the holiday: focus on the importance it brings, instead of just focusing on the good food that we get to eat.

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