Simple Steps to Starting A Wellness Committee

Why You Need a Wellness Committee  

A successful wellness team is the foundation to developing, promoting, and executing  preferred wellness-related activities throughout your company. Your wellness team gives your program credibility and energy, as well as provides stability, longevity,  and lightens the work load, and allows for fun!  Your team should bring together people with different talents and backgrounds. A dedicated team can more effectively implement wellness programs than just one person. 


What a Wellness Committee Does 

The primary functions of a wellness committee include:  Evaluating the current programs, services, and policies available at your workplace.   Assessing employee needs and preferences.  Developing and periodically updating a wellness program operating plan, including a vision statement, goals, and objectives. Most importantly, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating wellness program activities.


Your Health Coach will chair the committee temporarily or as long as you need to assist in:

❏ Allocating budget and resources for the wellness program.

❏ Advocate for the wellness program to upper management.

❏ Implement or change policies and procedures to create a healthier work environment.

❏ Participate in wellness programs. 

❏ Schedule and facilitate regular monthly meetings.

❏ Develop and distribute agendas for meetings.

❏ Identify a new committee chairperson. 


Other helpful roles to consider assigning are: 

VICE CHAIR ​-  Assists chair in all her/his duties. 

SECRETARY​ - Takes minutes at meetings.Types up and distributes minutes within a week after each meeting.

TREASURER​ - Manages the wellness budget.

DATA MASTER​ - Keeps statistics for wellness programs, such as participation numbers, satisfaction, changes in behavior, and outcomes.



Lay the Wellness Committee Groundwork:

 While it will be very tempting to start scheduling wellness activities right away, it is very important to build a strong foundation first. Your first wellness committee meeting covers some basic groundwork so everyone understands their role. 

❏ Make sure everyone knows each other! Do a fun ice breaker. 

❏ Create a directory of committee members and distribute it to all members. 

❏ Select a note taker (if not already assigned). 

❏ Review roles and expectations of committee members.

❏ Establish a regular meeting schedule and frequency. Monthly is recommended. 

❏ The chair or your Health Coach should send meeting invitations for the whole year. 

❏ Develop a mission and vision statement for your wellness program.

❏ Optional: Come up with a name and/or tagline for your wellness program. 



Review your current data:

Potential data sources include: 

❏ CDC Worksite Health Scorecard. 

❏ Health Risk Assessment.

❏ Biometric screening results.

❏ Employee interest survey.

❏ Health insurance claims data.

❏ Demographics of workforce (age, sex, education).

❏ Absenteeism (sick days, worker’s compensation, short and long term disability).


Create a wellness operating plan for your wellness program. 

The operating plan serves as your road map for your wellness program. This document describes what your wellness program will accomplish and includes what, why, where, when, and who.  This will take some time. 


The operating plan should include these elements: 

❏ 1. The vision and mission statement for your wellness program. 

❏ 2. Specific goals with measurable objectives. Goals and objectives ensure you are moving in the right direction. Make sure they are SMART goals. 

What is a SMART goal? 

Specific​ - Each goal should clearly define what, why, where, when, who. 

Measurable​ - Each goal should have clear criteria for measuring progress towards completion.

Attainable & Agreed  Upon​ - The stakeholders agree on the content and definition of each goal. 

Realistic​ - Each goal is within the resources, knowledge and time available.  Time-based​ - Each goal has a timeframe for completion.


❏ 3. Develop timelines for implementation. Establishing a calendar of events and timeline for completion helps keep your program on track and holds people accountable. 

❏ 4. Assign roles and responsibilities for each objective. Take advantage of people’s individual strengths and talents when assigning roles. 

❏ 5. Create an itemized budget. This ensures you have the resources needed to carry out the plan. Having a budget is optimal, however if resources are limited, there are ways to be creative. Look for free resources and services in your community. 

❏ 6. Use marketing strategies to promote your plan. Use multiple methods of communication, including printed, oral, and electronic. Effectively communicating is the determining factor between a successful program and an ineffective program. 

❏ 7. Develop measures for your goals and objectives. Measures should include participation, participant satisfaction, changes in knowledge, attitudes and behavior, and ultimately changes in environment and culture. Before you start your program, develop an evaluation plan that aligns with your objectives and goals, and identifies the outcomes you will measure. 


Once your wellness operating plan is finalized, refer to it regularly to keep your program on track. 

❏ Share it with senior leaders and wellness committee members.

❏ Re-evaluate and update the operating plan yearly.Once you have built the foundation for your wellness program, use ongoing meetings to continue planning and evaluating your programs and activities. Collect new data every year to track your program’s effectiveness. Use multiple communication methods to keep promoting your program. Keep it fresh. What worked in the first year of your program may not work as well in the third year.   Have fun!

❏ As new members come on board, share the operating plan with them.

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Encouraging a Healthy Workplace

"The first wealth is health." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

In today’s busy world, health is truly one of the greatest signs of wealth. And yet, obesity rates continues to rise in the United States. As does the amount of junk food that is constantly surrounding us. Additionally, research keeps stating that the standard American lifestyle is way too sedentary. According to a recent AHA (American Heart Association), the “average American sits for six to eight hours per day. Studies have linked long periods of sitting with an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. Sedentary days have also been shown to increase anxiety.”

So clearly there is a problem. And yet, with 150 million Americans going to work every day - and mostly sitting - ensuring a healthy workplace is now more important than ever. Healthy employees work better, more efficiently, and are more engaged with their work. Additionally, healthy employees will save your company a significant amount of money:

On average, a high-risk employee incurs an extra $3,321 in annual medical costs. At high-risk employees are also 12.2% less productive than low-risk employees. Smokers also cost $4,430 per year in lost productivity wages due to missed days and time off from work. So what can be done?

Besides working with a corporate wellness program that offers personalized health coaching (the most effective way to increase employee wellness), there are a few ways that HR Managers and other managers can encourage a greater culture of wellness:

  1. Offer incentives for employees that walk or bike to work. See if a local health food company will offer discounts or a gift basket for employee that drives to work the least amount.

  2. Host a walking meeting. Instead of gathering colleagues in a conference room, suggest a walk around the block. Or try a standing meeting.

  3. Suggest that your employees set an alarm every hour to remind them to stretch and walk around.

  4. Suggest that  your employees park a little further away from their building. A little walk in the morning does wonders for morale and energy level.

  5. Invest in standing desks. These desks are becoming very common in cutting-edge workplaces.

  6. Allow employees flex-time to visit a gym or yoga studio during lunch. They will come back much more focused and alert.

  7. Get rid of junk food vending machines and extra sugar in the kitchen. Try offering fruit or nuts instead of addictive and dangerous junk food. Suggest that employees make their own trail mix for snacks too. Junk food will just make employees tired and lethargic.

  8. Remind your colleagues to drink water. Staying hydrated is so important. Studies have shown that those who maintain good hydration have improved alertness, better concentration, and overall enhanced cognitive performances. Be sure that you have good, filtered water at work. And get rid of all sodas.

  9. Host a step-tracking competition. Fitbits and Jawbone Ups encourage folks to move more and a little friendly competition might just be the tool that helps employees get moving.

  10. Suggest that employees sit on a balance ball to increase posture and core stability. Bad posture at a computer is very dangerous. 

  11. One last idea is to let employees take a dance break. Turn up a dance radio & let them dance it out! Dancing is a great way to burn calories and increase morale.

It’s  a brand new year, one filled with possibility and so many opportunities for empowerment. Ensure that your workplace is positioned to help your employees feel their best.


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Meet Kristi!

At the heart of Does IT Fit, our health coaches are our bread-and-butter. They are the ones that go out in the "field" (workplaces!) and truly make a difference in the lives of others. Today, meet Does IT Fit Health Coach Extraordinaire Kristi:

Q) Why did you decide to become a Health Coach?  

Kristi: For over 15 years I’ve been interested in and read a ton about nutrition, gardening and cooking good, wholesome food. I could never get enough, especially as nutrition facts and scientific information is constantly changing. Over time, I also began to notice that chronic diseases were the rise. I realized I could help others make simple changes towards better health so I decided to take my knowledge to the next level by becoming an Institute of Integrative Nutrition health coach. 

Health and wellness and being a health coach is all about awareness, education and helping others experiment with what’s best for their body and helping others find that sweet spot through a balance of good food, exercise and making mindful choices throughout the day.

Q) How long have you been a Does IT Fit Health Coach?

Kristi: I’ve been working with DIF since this past summer (2016). When I found DIF, I knew it would be a good fit, especially since they had just started reaching out to local companies with corporate wellness plans and strategies. I’m excited to work alongside corporate wellness professionals to reach a broader audience and to help employees reach their health goals.

Q) What do you most enjoy about being a Health Coach?  

Kristi: I enjoy helping others find simple strategies towards better health such as suggesting they drink more water, eat more vegetables and move their bodies. It’s incredibly rewarding to watch clients make simple changes that allows them to enjoy their lives more.

Q) What is one of the biggest health lesson you’ve learned from helping Does IT Fit Clients?  

Kristi: I have learned that being consistent with a lifestyle changes is a slow process. It’s not about making changes for 2-3 months. It’s about making changes that are sustainable for a lifetime.

Q) You're also a mom of two active boys. What healthy treat do you serve your kids?  

Celery and all-natural peanut butter. It's super quick, simple and nutritious.

Q) What do you typically eat for breakfast?

Kristi: When I have the time, one of my favorite breakfasts is 2 scrambled eggs with baked sweet potato cubes with a little olive oil and sea salt.

Q) What's your favorite Winter activity?

Kristi: Ice skating and playing hockey on our pond. Soaking up some vitamin D on sunny, winter day is the best.

Q) Do you mind sharing a fun fact about yourself that folks might not know?

Kristi: Sure! Before joining DIF I taught at The Learning Kitchen classes at Mercy Connections in Burlington. Mercy Connections is an educational non-profit organization with an enduring concern for women. I really enjoyed working with this population and helping them create a greater awareness around healthy, nutritious food.

If you’re ready to make a change in your health, Kristi is here to help!


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Meet Michelle!

Whether you’ve worked with a Does IT Fit Health Coach before or are just beginning to get to know Does IT Fit,  we wanted to share a little about our health coaches. Does IT Fit Health Coaches are certified, trained in health, nutrition, wellness, and are experts at supporting behavior change. To help you get to know our coaches a little better, we will be interviewing each of them over the next few weeks. To begin, meet Does IT Fit Health Coach, Michelle!

Michelle Tomasi of Milton, VT is a busy working mom. She has two kids, ages 9 & 7, and spends her days helping Does IT Fit clients feel healthier & happier.

Q) Why did you become a Health Coach?
Michelle: “I’ve always had a passion for  health & wellness and was seeking ways I could work in this field while helping others. I left a job I was at for 9 years because I wasn’t happy and knew I needed to make a change. This life change became my opportunity to explore my passion for wellness and help others.”

Q) What do you most enjoy about being a Does IT Fit Health Coach?
Michelle: “Seeing the positive changes in a client once they realize they have a choice to make a change.  Once they realize that, it is so rewarding to be their coach.  That’s when healthy changes start taking place and I get to see these changes first hand and most importantly see how proud they are of themselves and how great they’re feeling.”

Q) What have you learned from working as a Does IT Fit Health Coach?
Michelle: “I’ve learned how to meet clients where they are and how to help them make gradual changes to reach their goals. A healthy lifestyle is not a sprint. It takes time to create lasting change. I have noticed that the biggest health challenges my clients faced (before working with Does IT Fit) is trying to make a change or lose weight without support and accountability  Having a support network is huge and so important! As a health coach, I offer support and accountability but also advise my clients to discuss their health goals with their loved ones so they can receive support and accountability at home.”

Q) All busy parents want to know a good healthy treat that kids will eat! What do your kids like for a snack?
Michelle: “My kids love protein balls! They’re super easy to make: Mix peanut butter, honey, oats, vanilla, & flax seeds in a bowl, make into round balls, then put them in the fridge for a yummy snack that gives kids (and adults) energy without a ton of sugar. I make them on Sunday and pack them in my kids’ lunches during the week.”

Q) Do you mind sharing something about yourself that your clients might not know?
Michelle: “Sure! I volunteer as a Girls on the Run coach for 3rd-5th graders. The Girls on the Run program is amazing and inspires girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident and utilizes a fun experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running.”

Q) How do you keep your family active & healthy?
Michelle: “Staying active & eating healthy meals is a must in our house! We enjoy many outdoor activities together including, hiking, biking, swimming, running, and many sports. I believe a balance for both work and family life is extremely important.”

If you’re ready to make a change in your health, Michelle is here to help!

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Natural Remedies for Immunity

Achoo! Seems like winter allergies & colds are really going around. Most of us reach for over-the-counter medications to try to alleviate cold & flu symptoms.  Unfortunately, over-the-counter medications can sometimes do more harm than good. New Zealand researchers recently discovered that over-the-counter cold remedies that combine acetaminophen with the decongestant phenylephrine (found in Theraflu Daytime Severe Cold & Cough) can cause serious side effects including an irregular heartbeat, dangerously high blood pressure and even tremors.  

Luckily, Mother Nature and Does IT Fit Health Coaches have some natural remedies for building up your immune system all Winter long. By staying healthy, you’ll fight cold & flu viruses quicker. Here are the Does IT Fit Natural Cold Remedies Recommendations:

  1. Hydrate! It’s so important to drink a lot of water. Our bodies requires water to function optimally & when sick, it’s even more important to hydrate. When we don’t drink enough water when we’re sick, the dehydration can lead to worsening nausea & vomiting. Warm teas are also great and relieve nasal congestion and soothe the inflamed membranes that line your nose & throat. Here’s an immune boosting tea recipe recommended by Does IT Fit Health Coach Michelle: http://www.chatelaine.com/health/wellness/flu-fighting-tea/

  1. Get plenty of rest. This may seem like a no-brainer, but for busy parents and working professionals, sometimes this is easier said than done. If you begin to feel any symptoms, it’s important to make sleep a priority. When you’re sick, you need to sleep more because your body is fighting harder to get better & getting rest will help your body heal naturally.

  1. Harness the power of garlic. A powerhouse natural antibiotic, antifungal, and antibacterial, garlic can tackle almost any illness and is a serious immune booster. Does IT Fit Health Coach Liz swears by this garlic pasta recipe:

Chop 2 heads of garlic, chopped roughlySaute garlic in 2 tablespoons of butterPrepare brown rice pasta for four people.Add 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil or olive oil to garlic-butter sauce.Pour garlic sauce over pasta in individual bowls.Serve with side salad
  1. Sooth with soup! Speaking of soups, our health coaches really recommend enjoying a lot of nourishing soups this Winter. Homemade soups are best because they are high in vegetables and fiber. Does IT Fit Health Coach Kristi & her family love this one: http://eatdrinkpaleo.com.au/cleansing-spinach-leek-soup-recipe/

  1. Get some Vitamin-D. There’s a lot of research stating that optimizing Vitamin D can prevent illness and shorten the duration of colds and flus. Vitamin D is often referred to as the sunshine vitamin & while Vermont isn’t known for sun in the Winter, there are lots of ways to increase your Vitamin D intake.

  1. Eat foods that fight inflammation. Think green leafy veggies, fruits, fatty fish, & olive oil. It's a good time to reduce red meat & processed carbohydrates. As this study says, “the best ways to quell inflammation lies not in the medicine cabinet, but in the refrigerator.”

We hope that you stay healthy and well this Winter! And as always, the best way to stay healthy all year round is to listen to your body and find support. We’re here to help. Getting started with a health coach means investing in your most important resource: yourself

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