Women in Business: Jeanette Bronée,Self Nourishment Counselor

Jeanette Bronée, CHHC, AADP is a Self-Nourishment Counselor and the founder of Path for Life and the online Self-Nourishment Program. For over a decade she has been working with clients one-on-one in her private practice not only to improve their physical and emotional wellbeing, but also to help them change their habits, which is the foundation for a sustained healthy lifestyle. Bronée's nine-step method integrates the three key essentials, which she has found drive real change in people's lives: food knowledge, mindfulness and habit shifting. Bronée's approach to health and weight loss is self-nourishment. Bronée also believes that healthy food has to nourish all of our senses.

Eat to Feel Full (and Nourish Yourself for Good) by Self-Nourishment Counselor and Integrative Nutrition health coach, Jeanette Bronée, is a beginner's guide to self-nourishment, offering a combination of food knowledge, insights into the habits that block our efforts to transform, and practical techniques for developing a mindful, healthy relationship with food.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
My life has been filled with ups and downs both personally and professionally. Some of these events stopped me completely in my tracks and forced me to revisit my personal choices and my career. As much as it was difficult, it also taught me to look forward instead of at the past. It helped me become a problem solver and regard my failures as my lessons. I learned to look at my mistakes with curious investigation rather than judgment. I have learned to forgive myself for my mistakes and look at them as information that add up to experience and wisdom that I can integrate into my choices today.

How has your previous employment experience aided your position as a businesswoman and founder of Path for Life?
I have always been lucky to work at companies with strong entrepreneurial leadership and my father was a very progressive thinker too. I always pursued the companies I wanted to work for because they spoke to something in me that I believed in. It was never just a job; it was always a relationship that I wanted to engage in to grow myself. When I started Path for Life I had a strong conceptual idea of how I wanted to help people and even though it was completely different from the career path I had until then, all my previous employment experiences all of a sudden made sense and it felt as if I was coming full circle.

What have the highlights and challenges been as founder of Path for Life?
The greatest challenge was that the business is "me" and how I can help is the product. There is a fine balance between branding myself and branding how I help people. I chose to brand it as Path for Life because I have developed a process of learning about Self, which each client goes through. It is based on the idea of the labyrinth where you go inward to self-reflect and then come back out with a new perspective.

The highlights are that I get to witness the transformations that people go through and it is just so wonderful to be able to be part of that for someone.

Patience is a challenge for me because I want more people to learn how to take better care of themselves, but since I am a sole-proprietor the business has been growing in an organic way and it has also created a step-by-step focused approach to building the business. However, I also miss having a team of support around me.

Tell us about the Path for Life & your new book.
When I started Path for Life a little over 10 years ago it was because both my parents died from cancer just one year apart. I got angry that there was no support to empower patients to participate in taking care of their health. Starting Path for Life was a way of saying; let's take back our power over our health. I left the fashion business and went back to school to get a certification in nutrition. I had studied healing, nutrition and energy medicine on my own prior to that. I knew early that I was at high-risk for breast cancer, so learning about myself has always been part of my journey.

Path for Life is a process of learning how our choices affect us. We have too much information and not enough knowledge about how to take care of ourselves. So many are confused about something that should be so simple; how to eat, but also what and why. Our emotions affect the choices we make and the other way around, so mindfulness is an essential part of Path for Life. That is why I call it nourishment and not nutrition. I started working with emotional eating 10 years ago when it was not yet something anyone spoke much about though many people struggled with it.

Path for Life is a life-style approach to overall health and wellness but especially for people wanting to lose weight and not wanting to be on one diet after the other to do so. The program, both the online subscription program and when working with me personally, is an integrated model that gives people a food education but they also learn how to change their relationship with food through mindfulness and the program integrates the tools to change their habits. I have found over the years that people don't do what they know is best for them, even when it hurts to keep the old habits. That is how Path for Life helps people... it changes lives, not just food and weight.

The new book is called "EAT TO FEEL FULL, and nourish yourself for good". It is a handbook that you can bring along like a friend to help guide you in making healthy choices of whole and real foods. It also addresses how and why we need to feel full and nourished from our food to keep on a healthy path. So many clients come to me for weight loss believing it is about eating less and starving themselves, and they go from one diet to the other, only to keep get stuck and feeling like they failed. Eat to Feel Full is taking a sustainable approach to weight-loss and healthy eating habits so we can leave the diet-mind behind.

The dieting mentality tends to be about what to avoid and this book is about what to choose. When we choose foods that nourish us it becomes a sustainable lifestyle way of eating and we can end the roller-coaster way of erratic eating that leads to overeating.

The book is an excerpt of the bigger purpose of Path for Life. Learning how to truly nourish ourselves is what makes us happy and healthy, and the side-effect of all of that is to lose weight or rather find the weight that is right for us.

What advice can you offer women who are seeking to start their own business?
The most important advice is to follow your passion. Believe in what you do, in who you are and in your skills. We always need to challenge the inner critic because it will give us too many distractions and it is important to stay focused on what we want to keep moving thru the forest of challenges. My dad taught me that career planning is learning when to say no. We have to say no a lot so we can say yes to what really matters to us.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
That is always hard when you are dedicated to something and for me it becomes even more of a fine balance because you can argue that a good meal is time off, but it is also what I do for a living. Yoga and meditation is part of my own self-nourishment and since that is also my work, how do you differentiate? For most it is something they don't take time for, even though you can argue that it is essential to be able to do your work.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
Many of my clients are women in high-level positions and they work hard. They try to be all things and I am not sure their male counterpart would take on the same responsibilities. What I find is important for women to succeed is to learn healthy boundaries. Our tendency is to step up every time we are called on.

The other important thing is for women to believe they don't need to act like men to lead and gain respect. As women we need to be respected for the skills and abilities we have especially because we are women. Rather than rejecting the female sensitivity we can see it as the strength that it is. Good leaders know how to listen.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
I have had several different mentors and teachers in my life but I actually see all our relationships as an opportunity to learn something. The art of being curious when meeting new people is something my dad taught me. Having different mentors at different stages in my life has been important for me, it helps me grow and see different sides of myself that I can work on and it helps inspire me to keep myself "new".

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
Many of my clients are female leaders and I love working with them because they are not scared to search within themselves to grow. I admire many of them for their courage to step up and go for what they want without staying in the box of what is expected from them from a social perspective. I admire women who stand up and talk about how they pursued career only to find they did not have to push so hard, like for example the journey that Adriana Huffington made to find her way of thriving. A dear friend of mine, Esther Lee is the Global CMO for MetLife and I admire how she leads with a determined yet gentle hand all at once. She is the wonderful example that we as women leaders can embrace our feminine, yet we can still have authority.

What do you want to personally and professionally accomplish in the next year?
This year for me personally is about having more time for retreats. I used to go on retreats on a regular basis because they are a wonderful way to learn more about our Self. Taking time for inward enquiry is not as easy in a busy life where we might not get to pause as much.

I am so excited that my book is out now and I am looking forward to write more this year. My next book is in the works already; The Nourished Self. It is my integrated approach to healing our relationship with food but also with our Self. It goes deeper into the integration of our emotional well-being and our habits, which is what the online Path for Life program is also about. I love to write so for me that is both a personal and professional focus. I have so many plans with Path for Life, but the focus for this year is to create workshops with the new book and the online 9-step program and get public speaking engagements to give more people the opportunity to find their way to health.

Even though Path for Life is more than 10 years old now, I still feel like an entrepreneur because I keep looking for what is next. My hope is to continue to help more people get educated about how they can take charge of their own health through food education, mindful choices and good eating habits. Entrepreneurship is not only starting up something new, it is a way of thinking and leading and continuously grow.