For a long time Keanne Bean wanted to start her own health coaching business, but was unsure how to go about it.
Then she heard about the business incubator programme at the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation.
Last year, she approached them with her mission.
“Health statistics in Bermuda are bleak,” she said. “Most of us have a parent or grandparent with diabetes. I want to reduce Bermuda’s high prevalence of lifestyle-related diseases, by showing people small ways to make a big impact.”
She soon found herself part of the BEDC incubator’s fourth cohort.
The programme gave her the support to get started.
“If it wasn’t for the BEDC I wouldn’t have felt I had the knowledge to put it together in a professional manner,” she said.
With their guidance, she launched Graceful Bodi last August.
She is a firm believer in “slow and steady wins the race”. She encourages her clients to take one small step at a time to change their health and fitness levels.
She starts with a client evaluation, asking questions like, what is your favourite meal, and suggesting ways to add nutrients and remove “filler calories”. For example, the client could use butternut squash instead of pasta, or sweet potato instead of bread.
Ms Bean advises some of her clients to get out more and maybe to take a five-minute walk after lunch. Once they get into the habit of doing that, she gets them to increase their walk, little by little.
“Some trainers might suggest you go to the gym three or four times a week, but that might deter some people because people are always busy,” she said. “We start by saying we will just get to the baseline and go from there. We look at how we can help people get their foot in the door.”
Her own health journey started when she moved to Canada at 19 to go to college. For the first time there was no older person telling her what to eat. And, revelling in her new-found freedom, often she chose her favourite food: cake.
“At 19 I went through a cake season,” she said.
The pounds piled on.
“I was not comfortable in my body,” she said.
At her heaviest she weighed 197lb.
She knew she had to pull herself together, but growing up in the 1990s, she thought that meant eating low-fat foods with no taste. She bought oat groats to eat, the trendy health food at that time, but could not get beyond the first three bites.
“I had to throw it away,” she said. “It was nasty.”
Her perspective changed when she heard someone say they ate with their brain and not their body. She signed up for cooking classes and started making her own healthy meals. The weight began to melt away.
Later, she became certified as a yoga instructor and a holistic health coach.
“Graceful Bodi is about health mentorship, and helping other people to make the journey a little easier and more enjoyable,” she said.
Sometimes she sees people depriving themselves to get to a weight-loss goal, but all the while they are saying, “I can’t wait to reach my goal so I can eat this unhealthy food”.
“That makes no sense,” she said. “Once you reach your goal you will eat that unhealthy food and not stop. There are times I eat a decadent dessert, but I am not dreaming about them at the times I am not eating them.”
She is “40ish”.
“Twenty years from now I don’t want to be the only one of my friends who has still got their health,” she said.
On a business level, one of her challenges is consistency.
“I have a day job,” she said. “I also have a seven-year-old daughter. I want to grow the business, but I need the time to put in with each client.”
At the moment she has four clients. In the future she may go full time with the business. In the meantime she is looking at doing group wellness programmes for companies. That would allow her to increase the number of people she works with, within her limited available free time.
For more information go to www.gracefulbodi.com, e-mail [email protected]
or call 735 1237. Also see her on Instagram @graceful_bodi and @gracefulbodi on Facebook.
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