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Healthy choices

Mount Wellness will focus this year on promoting good nutrition and healthier choices.

October 23, 2017

The Mount Wellness movement focuses on good nutrition this fall

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Creating a healthier lifestyle sometimes means taking one step at a time: using the stairs instead of the elevator, choosing an apple over potato chips, walking 30 minutes a day before training for a 5K. To help students, faculty and staff take these first steps, the University’s wellness movement will focus this year on promoting good nutrition and encouraging the community to make healthier choices.

“This year we are really excited to build on the momentum of the Mount Wellness initiative and debut a number of signature programs,” says the Mount’s Chief Wellness Officer Bryant Adibe, MD. “With healthy nutrition as our core theme for the year, we will be hosting on-campus farmers markets, making enhancements to our cafe, and having healthy cooking classes and sample giveaways.”

MENU ENHANCEMENTS. The University will work with “The Wellness Kitchen” author and nutrition expert Paulette Lambert to enhance the menus and food options available in the campus cafeterias. One plan is to offer a daily “wellness meal,” a balanced, nutritious and flavorful breakfast, lunch or dinner that will be branded as the healthier choice. Basic nutrition info, such as calories per serving, will be posted next to regular menu items. The cafeterias will also begin strategic product placement, putting healthier food items at eye level or within easy reach.

FARMERS MARKET. When the Mount Wellness needs assessment survey was conducted on campus, the top nutrition-based request was a farmers market on campus. Starting this fall, the University will host several events offering farm-fresh produce to students, faculty and staff.

FOOD WEEK. Other “eat green” activities planned for the year include themed food weeks, which will showcase easy recipes, cooking lessons and free food samples revolving around a particular motif. The University will celebrate Food Day on Oct. 24, in conjunction with the National Food Day movement. As part of the festivities, Wellness Manager Alison Halpern, a registered dietitian, will conduct a workshop on “A Beginner’s Guide to Healthy Eating.”

Get moving

Even small steps can make a huge impact in creating a healthy lifestyle. That’s the thinking behind some of this year’s Mount Wellness strategies to get people eating a balanced meal and moving more.

OUTDOOR GEAR RENTAL. Need a bodyboard, umbrella and chairs, and a volleyball for the beach? How about a tent and sleeping bag for camping? The fitness centers have you covered. Starting this fall, students can check out outdoor gear for use at the beach or on camping trips.

A WEEKEND UNDER THE SEQUOIAS. Camping and hiking trips will be offered every year to students, with the first destination being Sequoia National Park. During midsemester break in October, a group will travel to California’s southern Sierra Nevada mountains for a weekend of exploring trails among groves of giant sequoia trees.

WALK THE WALK. The Chalon Campus will launch a “Take the Stairs” campaign, with signs posted near elevators encouraging folks to use the stairs instead. On the Doheny Campus, a one-mile walking path will be established to motivate the community to step away from their desks and get moving.

LEARN TO EXERCISE. The fitness centers will hold orientation sessions that will introduce students to the fitness equipment. At those sessions, students will learn how to use the equipment properly and safely. How-to-exercise classes offered throughout the year will teach physical activities such as self-defense and weight lifting.

Wellness Peer Advocates

Peer wellness

One of the signature components of the Mount Wellness movement is peer wellness coaching, with trained student advocates guiding and encouraging Mount students toward a healthier lifestyle.

This fall, the first cohort of peer wellness advocates begin training for their roles as mentors and coaches to help other students in their wellness journeys. As part of their training, the advocates will learn how to listen effectively, help set goals, motivate and empower, and implement stress management techniques.

The semester-long training will cover topics such as nutrition basics, body image and self-esteem, foundations of physical activity, fitness assessments, individualized exercise programs, stress management and resilience.

The advocates will start meeting one-on-one with students in the spring semester. “We want peer wellness advocates and the students they work with to have an ongoing partnership,” says Halpern. “The advocates will hold their peers accountable. And the students will know that they can go to their advocates for motivation and help.”

WELLNESS SCHOLAR IN RESIDENCE.  The University has partnered with Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen, a New York Times bestselling author and health pioneer, who will serve as the Mount’s wellness scholar in residence. Through a series of in-person visits and virtual lectures, Andersen will talk to the peer wellness advocates about facilitating personal growth in others and the importance of living a healthier and more balanced life.

Dr. Wayne Andersen

Andersen is the co-founder and chief architect of Optavia, a thriving community of individuals who are on a lifelong health and well-being transformation. He is the author of “Discover Your Optimal Health,” “Dr. A’s Habits of Health” and “Living a Longer, Healthier Life.” He has been featured on “Good Morning, America” and in the Los Angeles Times.