Diet is a four letter word for most people. Jeanette Bronée agrees. She has more than ten years of experience helping her clients overcome their struggles with eating while avoiding the restrictive nature of dieting. Her core belief is that when we focus on feeling healthy, vibrant, and nourished, weight loss is just a welcomed side effect. That’s the focus of her new pocket sized handbook, Eat to Feel Full (and Nourish Yourself for Good).
Jeanette founded Path for Life, in 2004 to raise awareness of the healing power of understanding how our choices affect each of us. Her nine-step approach to wellness is based on her integrative, mind-body approach.
When Jeanette is not working one-on-one with her clients or teaching workshops, she is a writer, recipe developer and motivational speaker. For more information, visit jeanettebronee.com and pathforlife.com. Click to purchase her book on Amazon.
Can you point to one event that triggered your interest in your career?
When my parents passed away from cancer, just one year apart, I felt I needed to take a step back and review how I lived my life. As I was at high-risk for breast-cancer meant I had already studied nutrition, emotional healing and spirituality over the years.
The decision to close my design-studio and leave the fashion business came from the urge to help people who are living with, or have been diagnosed with, cancer, lead healthier lives, and simultaneously create change for those who are at high risk of diagnoses.
I was 26 when I moved to the United States from Denmark, and that kick started the process of learning about myself through meditation and self-awareness practices, so that when my parents passed, I had these skills to lean on during this challenging time.
What about this career choice did you find most appealing?
I founded Path for Life in 2004 to create an integrative health center for people living with cancer. At the time, an integrative approach was not as well recognized as it is today, so I didn’t receive much support outside of the community. I went back to school, got a degree and became a counselor and it was then that I began working with people on a one-to-one basis. This was such a privilege as it allowed me to deeply learn about our relationship with food and our bodies, and became the foundation for my self/nourishment program.
Understanding the root causes of emotional eating was incredible powerful. I found that so many were struggling in silence. 10 years ago no one talked about the topic, and even today we need to still talk about it more openly because many consider it shameful, and it shouldn’t be seen this way. It isn’t a lack of willpower; everyone has some form of self-soothing technique and it isn’t always the healthiest choice of coping tools!
What steps did you take to begin your education or training?
When I turned 40 years old, I went back to school to get a degree in nutrition and counseling. To start a completely new career at that point in my life was a huge decision.
I chose the Institute of Integrative Nutrition as it allowed me to continue design projects along side my studies, so there was a period of time where I was seriously multi-tasking and incredibly busy. At the Institute, I also got to work with inspiring integrative health and nutrition leaders, who have since become valued mentors of mine.
Over the past 10 years I continued my training and education by adding modalities and practices that allow me to help my clients using different approaches. I don’t have all the letters behind my name that are often sought after, but I have the experience, training and the knowledge that allows me to help people in a really powerful way.
The different certifications I’ve obtained over the past decade allowed me to grow me as a counselor, but also develop the ways in which I can help people adapt and heal their relationship with their bodies and their food.
I developed my online program, Path for Life, to provide people with a way of studying their health and transformation on their own terms, but with the advantage of having my knowledge, training and decade long experience on hand to mine for their personal goals of becoming healthy in a sustainable way.
Along the way, were people encouraging or discouraging?
I have had a lot of pushback along the way from peers who felt I did not follow the traditional path of education, but I am stubborn when it comes to my ethics and that’s because I don’t want to add to the madness and confusion. I want to help people find their way through it. I left the madness because I saw how my parents suffered from not knowing themselves enough to heal, so I want to empower as many people out there as I possibly can so that they don’t need someone like me to tell them what to do for the rest of their lives. I want people to find their own way and I hope to help them do so, but that is it.
What encourages me everyday is seeing how my clients transform and that gives me the support to continue believing in how I can help.
Did you ever doubt your decision and attempt a career change?
I have been scared and afraid, but not doubtful. Changing career at 40 and still being in the process of building a company in my 50’s is scary because of not having the perceived safety net we have when we belong to something. However I have always been an entrepreneur and so was my dad, so the courage to change is in my blood.
Doubt is a killer for progress so I try to acknowledge my fears and then fight my way through doubt. As long as I feel that I’m doing something that feels authentic and helpful out there in the world, then I will keep doing it.
When did your career reach a tipping point?
I am not sure it has yet actually; although I also feel I have reached several tipping points along the way. There is not one point that I can mark because change and growth happens continually.
However, launching my online program was a moment where I could reflect on what I was able to achieve over the past 10 years. My book, Eat to Feel Full (And Nourish Yourself for Good) was another moment… and I have more tipping points planned too!
Can you describe a challenge you had to overcome
Juggling between working in my business and working on my business. I want to do both and it can be challenging to have time and mental energy for both. Financing growth is another since being in the people business is not currently considered a big financial enterprise but I believe it will be one of the biggest ones in the future.
What single skill has proven to be most useful?
I am an optimist by heart and I always look for how to move forward, both for myself and for my clients. I always try to seek out solutions, as when it comes to health and emotions, we have to acknowledge what is going on underneath before we can move forward
The skill I use everyday is being mindful. Being mindful is a very powerful way to have a direct relationship with what is going on in the Body. It allows me to be emotionally and mentally available, to others and to myself, in a simple, strong, and honest way.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am proud that I keep growing and looking for ways to do so even though I am in my 50’s. I feel accomplished as I have helped someone experience a better version of themselves, and I am grateful for being able to do that kind of work. I am also proud of having been able to create a business from what was one of my greatest disasters in my life. Losing my parents was not my only loss in those couple of years and I feel proud that I could turn the grief into something that I can look back at everyday as my strength for doing what I am doing. It is my raison d’être so to speak.
Any advice for others entering your profession?
Do it because you want to help people. That is how it has meaning every day to go to work.
I always say to new practitioners when then come and ask for guidance; this is not about you, this is about how you can help, how you can resonate with people and why they should trust you is about you. So be authentic.
Photos by Torkil Stavdal