Your Wellness Connection: Donovan Ingraham
Our Bahamas members will recognize Donovan as our local Zest Wellness Coordinator, but may not know he holds a Nutrition degree, and is an avid tennis fan! We interviewed Donovan about his ambitions for the position when he first started several years ago, and have caught up with him again here. Look out for Donovan in a Zest Fitness Class, or at the next health fair!
What is your favorite part of your position as Wellness Coordinator?
My favorite part of being a wellness coordinator is the amount of people I am exposed to, and the opportunity to share the importance of personal well-being. Although a busy task, it is always thrilling to speak to our current and interested members about our wellness program, and being able to help them on a personal level. I have a strong passion for educating people and empowering them to become their best self. I know that during my wellness journey, I have had my own share of difficulties and challenges. Had I had more persons to guide or educate me, I may be further along in my wellness journey. That being said, everyone can use a little motivation, advice and/or suggestions, and I am more than happy to be in the position to help our member base at large.
What led you to pursue a degree in nutrition?
I was led to pursue my Masters of Science Degree in Applied Human Nutrition after winning several fitness competitions. I learned then that the easiest way to transform the body was in the way we eat, and less on what we do as physical activity. However, it was during my studies that I realized the issue of under-nutrition and over-nutrition worldwide, and it was then I decided I wanted to use my studies to make a difference in this world, as it relates chronic disease management and prevention.
How do you use the Zest Wellness app for your personal wellness needs?
I use the Zest Wellness app in a few different ways to help with my personal wellness goals. The most helpful is the step count tracking that helps me keep a record of my targeted 12,000 steps I aim for daily. I also really like that the step challenges add motivation for me with colleagues and friends. Most days I would not be incentivized to get additional steps, but when my name is on the leader board against clients and my fellow wellness colleagues, I definitely want to win! Therefore, the challenges really do help with daily motivation. Most people that know me well know that I am a big fan of playing and watching tennis so the step count tells me if I have worked hard enough when on a tennis court. I am also fond of the healthy habits feature that allows me to track my exercises but most importantly my water intake. The push notifications sent to my mobile phone in combination to the silent alarms, set at specific hours, reminds me when it is time for water so that I maintain great hydration.
There are always new trends and fads in the wellness industry. What are the tried and true techniques that you share with members?
The biggest fads and trends most people are interested in are usually schemes to catalyze weight loss. My best recommendation to individuals reading this article is to stay consistent. If you have already embarked on a lifestyle or wellness journey, the more consistent you are the greater your reward will be. Additionally, I want to dismiss the myth that missing meals helps with weight loss, because it does NOT!! My best advice is to aim for a healthy, balanced diet on a daily basis, ensuring that you eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and adequate water (daily requirements based on weight; the bigger the individual, the larger the requirement for water), as this offsets the metabolism for natural weight loss without exercise.