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Volunteer Spotlight: Danielle Gilbert

Certified Health Coach Danielle Gilbert first became involved with Gilda’s Club Middle Tennessee in the late 2000s, when her good friend Dr. Gail Addlestone called to say she wanted to run a half-marathon to benefit Gilda’s Club – and she wanted Danielle to get involved, too. Danielle (thankfully and wonderfully) said “yes” – and she has been a part of our volunteer force ever since.

Today, Danielle is best known as one of Gilda’s Club’s nutrition gurus and as a health coach. For the last three years, she has led the twice-yearly What Feeds You series. Offered each spring and fall, What Feeds You brings Gilda’s Club members together every other week for about three months to learn about topics ranging from nutrient-dense foods and healing your gut to building your immune system and diets vs. heathy habits.

“The intent of the series is for members to be able to take what they learn in class and apply it in their daily lives,” Danielle says. “To help this happen, we’re not just taking notes and taking in information; we’re exploring and sharing specific ways to make what we learn a part of the fabric of our lives. We learn a lot from each other, and we support and lift one another up continually.”

We asked Danielle for some tips on keeping health and wellness front and center, especially as the holiday season gets into full swing. She offers these five tips:

1. Always allow yourself joy, even if it means deviating from your regular routine. You can always “get back to normal” tomorrow.

2. Enjoy the wonderful food that’s inevitably a part of holiday celebrations, but remember that overdoing it again and again will take a toll on your health. So, find a way to limit (not eliminate) temptation…perhaps don’t keep extra sweets in the house, but enjoy them when you’re out, or eat some veggies before digging into a dessert.

3. Get your zzzzzs. Sleep is at the top of the totem pole when it comes to health. When you don’t get enough of it, your immune system isn’t as strong; you’re not as emotionally capable of handling difficult situations; chemically, your body will crave more carbs and sugar; and your body doesn’t have the time it needs to regenerate.

4. Find healthy ways to manage stress. This may mean taking a walk, slipping in an early-morning yoga class, tucking away for some alone time, or taking a nap. Whichever path you choose, you’ll be better positioned to be positive and present for everyone in your life.

5. Don’t forget to move. When it comes to exercise, find something you like, whether it’s calming or challenging or both. Your effort doesn’t have to be huge (especially if you’re just starting out), but find a way to move – and then keep it up.

For help in making health and wellness a bigger part of your daily life, download our December program calendar and get to Gilda’s Club!