06 Sep Zestember!

Getting Zesty with Scarlet Thinker Rachel McGuinness



rachel mcguinessMy latest Scarlet Thinker is Rachel McGuiness, creator of the annual #Zestember campaign, where she encourages participants to take simple steps to increase their well-being. I caught up with Rachel and asked her about the campaign.

Rachel, tell us what you’re trying to do with Zestember

Zestember is a free annual 30 day health challenge for the month of September, inspiring people to invest a little bit of time every day to get healthy or healthier.  For each week of Zestember (or September!), we’re going to focus on different areas of health each with 7 top tips to give people loads more energy and zestiness!  We’re focusing on sleeping well, moving more, eating smart and chilling out.  People are very confused as to what to do when it comes to getting healthy, I’m just passing on simple tips that most people of any age can do that will make a difference to their wellbeing – they are things that I do.


How did you come up with the name?

I saw one of the founder members of Movember speak at a conference and I sat there thinking, “wouldn’t it be cool to have my own month dedicated to health? But what would I call it? I wanted something catchy like Movember!”, A few days later I had my ‘duh’ moment, my company name is Zest Lifestyle, so why not call it Zestember!

From a marketing point of view, it’s a great way to collect email addresses but there’s more to than this isn’t there…

Zestember is completely separate to my business Zest Lifestyle.  I wanted to create a health awareness campaign that I just put ‘out there’ for the greater good or as I call it ‘spreading the zest’!  Like Movember without the moustaches!  But something that focuses on overall health and wellbeing.  Back in 2013 I was writing a report on health and as I started to research statistics, I was really alarmed by the impact on healthcare systems of preventable illnesses and diseases caused by unhealthy living.  With budget cuts and increasing shortages of doctors and nurses there has never ever been a better time to start looking after our health.  I describe Zestember as being a ‘team effort’, as there are loads of us all making improvements to our health at the same time.  Being healthy means different things to different people, for some it’s a few tweaks and for others it’s a massive lifestyle change, so Zestember can help in all sorts of different ways.

What has Zestember meant for you personally and professionally?

Personally, it means I get to think about the areas of my health and wellbeing that need that extra care and attention so I’ve set my own goals of what I want to achieve!  Professionally, it’s become a part of what I do every September or Zestember!  It’s great to be a catalyst to get people thinking about their health, taking action and doing something that makes a positive difference to them.  It allows me to reach a wider audience and to encourage people to look after their health, as to me it is the most important asset we have.

Can you share any success stories from participants..

Even though it’s called a ‘health challenge’, it’s up to the individual to make it as challenging as they want to.  The 28 tips that people can download are so simple to implement into everyday life and most of them they know already, and are a reminder or a nudge to start doing it again and make it part of their lifestyle..  I had a message from a lady last year who is sleeping so much better as a result of following the ‘sleep well’ tips.  Some people lost weight, some got back into their exercise.


What keeps you going with Zestember? What makes you feel that you are making a difference?

It’s a fun thing to do, which creates lots of opportunities to get my healthy message out there.  I’ve been booked for 2 talks, 6 radio slots and 3 pod casts so far, which I am really pleased about.  I also have Zestember Ambassadors out there spreading the zest too.  When I’m out and about talking to people and they tell the changes they’ve made, it’s a great feeling to have helped them make a difference.

If someone was going to set up something of their own like this, what would your advice to them be?

Keep it simple and get help. Use social media – video, posts, images; do talks, get on the radio, get in the press, write articles, do pod casts, get sponsors – be creative as to what you can do to get your message out there.

What are your hopes for the future for Zestember?

I would love it to go global and have the same impact as Movember, and that it is something people automatically do every September to be more health aware – a bit like New Year’s resolutions, but are more achievable and have more structure to them!

You can find out more at http://www.zestember.org.uk/ and www.zestlifestyle.com


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