Self Magazine Photo Shoot

I was profiled in the February issue of SELF Magazine in an article on healthy weight and self-acceptance. It was a wonderful experience and I was able to do it with my mother, sister and niece. Definitely something I will never forget. With regards to the world of photo shoots and stylists, this experience really opened my eyes. So much goes into a simple photo shoot and it really is important to experiment with different designers and styles. My look consisted of a JCrew sweater, Eileen Fisher tank top and Eileen Fisher jeans. I loved it all!

But what was most important about this article was that it was about self-acceptance and having a healthy body image. I love clothes and makeup and jewelry, like most women, but I also believe, truly believe, that beauty comes from within. A healthy lifestyle is key. I exercise every single day, in any way I can. I walk, swim and run. I get outside and MOVE! Being active keeps me sane. It keeps my stress level in check. It gives me confidence and allows me to enjoy my life (and delicious summer cookouts). I don’t obsess over what I eat, I just keep moving.

Job Stress Leads to Weight Gain

A recent study found that chronic job stress contributes to lack of exercise, unhealthy eating habits and a general sedentary lifestyle, oftentimes leading to obesity. The study suggests that the only way to combat these negative effects of stress on your health and life is with exercise.

This study further proves the argument that businesses and companies need to devote some of their time, energy and resources into wellness programs for employees. During the current economic downturn, employees who survive layoffs don’t escape from the stress surrounding these changes in staff. Employers need to incorporate wellness programs, including good nutrition options and opportunities for employees to take part in physical activities during the day.

Everyone is feeling the added pressure these days and this stress can take its toll on your mind and body. Finding simple, effective ways to control this stress and prevent it from leaving a lasting, negative impact on your life is crucial.

I find that when I am sitting at my desk all day, consumed with a stressful task or job, the last thing I am thinking about is exercising or eating a nutritious, well-balanced meal. Typically, what I am thinking is, I hope I make it out of here at a reasonable hour and what can I buy/eat that will be quick and easy. Unfortunately, quick and easy foods tend to be the worst ones for you. I have recently been readingĀ Michael Pollan‘s writing on food and nutrition and one piece of advice he distills in Food Rules is, “It’s not food if it arrives through the window of your car.” But there are many things that you can put into your daily diet that are quick and nutritious. For example, have vegetables cut and waiting in a ziploc baggy in your refrigerator. Pair carrots, celery, mushrooms and cucumbers with dips and it easily replaces a bag of chips. Another simple dish that I find works extremely well if I am pressed for time or getting home at later hours is pasta with fresh parmesan cheese, oil and pepper. It only takes about 8 minutes to boil water and that is all this dish requires. Plus, the added benefit of the serotonin boosting power of carbohydrates might just help ease your end-of-day stress.

Health Coaching

An article in today’s Boston Globe brought light to an area of the health industry that I find particularly intriguing.

At Duke, specially trained health coaches are helping patients implement a personalized care plan that complements treatment prescribed by their regular physicians. However, centers must straddle the line between adopting non-mainstream therapies that may improve a patient’s quality of life while avoiding unproven alternative therapies. “We’re extremely wasteful in healthcare in America, because we don’t respect what the patient can bring to the table, the healing properties of the body itself, the use of lower-technology routes to healing,” says Dr. Donald Berwick, a Harvard health-quality specialist who heads the non-profit institute for Healthcare Improvement.

But as always evidence matters. That’s why Medicare funded a Duke study of 154 middle-age people at high risk of heart disease. In 10 months, people who received health coaching were exercising nearly 4 days a week, two days more than when they started, and had an average 10-point drop in cholesterol, while the people who only got standard checkups barely budged.