Make Your Health a Priority

by Together Counts Partner | May 10, 2016 at 10:45 am | comments

heart dish

“National Women’s Health Week is an observance led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. The goal is to empower women to make their health a priority.” Everything from regular doctor visits, eating healthy, staying active, getting enough sleep, and managing stress are important steps to take to ensure wellness, all things that are encouraged by the Together Counts™ program for healthy, active living.

National Women’s Health Week coincides with Mother’s Day and as women – mothers, daughters, wives, and friends – there is no better time for us to tune into what keeps us healthy! I went to some of the women and mothers in my life who seem to have their act together; everyone agrees on one thing: it takes work, but it is worth it.

Healthy Choices: For Chef Carla Hall, former Top Chef Finalist, current TV Co-Host of ABC’s The Chew, and National Women’s Health Week Ambassador, it is all about choices. Of her role on The Chew she says, “I am always surrounded by tons of delicious food and I have to focus on a healthy balance: I have a bite of whatever it is and make sure to fill my diet with lots of healthy greens, grains, and fruits for the remainder of the time.” She also achieves balance by making the choice to drink tons of water, practice yoga regularly, and have a sweet treat when she feels like it.

It is easy to put the needs of others first, but when I prioritize my own health I am better equipped to take care of others. Choosing to get up early to squeeze a yoga class in, making time for a walk, cooking dinner instead of picking up take-out on a busy night are some of the things that I know keep me charged and make me a balanced mom, wife, friend, and colleague.

Positive Role Modeling: Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, author of Eating in Color, nationally recognized health expert, and frequent national TV guest says, “When moms set a good example with the way they eat and take care of their bodies, it will positively impact their kids…parents really are the biggest influence over what kids eat, so eat your fruits and veggies!”

I like to think that every time that my kids see my husband and I head to the gym or help me make dinner, they see that we prioritize our health. Children are inundated with so much messaging and media around food choices that it is crucial we set a positive example at home.

Food is fuel: My husband and I live by this rule and work hard communicating it to our kids. We cook 5-6 nights a week; I cook very simply and try to incorporate tons of vegetables. I batch cook on the weekends to make home cooked meals during a busy week a reality. Family dinner is a given and our kids participate by choosing some of their favorites to help create our weekly menus.

Planning: I have yet to talk to anyone who is successful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle who does not utilize planning and scheduling. Ingrid Hoffmann, Chef, Author, TV Host, and American Diabetes Association spokesperson relies on scheduling. “I schedule my work outs and meal plan, just like I would a work appointment or the dentist. I put it in my calendar and this eliminates the excuse of not having time. It is important to make time for wellness, meditation, menu planning, shopping and cooking.” Exercise, meals, time with family and friends; plan for it so that life does not get in the way.

Don’t forget to take some time off to recharge. I asked these lovely ladies what they would do with a full day off from responsibilities and loved the answers. I wasn’t surprised to see that most everyone agreed on a few things: being with the people we love, enjoying nourishing food, finding fun ways to stay active, and relaxing.

Balance happens when I am present; when I am having fun while still striving, and when I am able to marry my priorities with my passions.

This blog post was written by Linda Novick O’Keefe, the Founding Chief Executive Officer of Common Threads. Common Threads, with programs in more than 500 schools and community partner site nationwide, was created to address the childhood obesity epidemic by educating children on the importance of nutrition and physical wellbeing, and empowering them to be agents of change for healthier families, schools, and communities. By providing children with a toolkit of knowledge and skills, Common Threads’ curriculum helps prevent childhood obesity and reverse the trend of generations of non-cookers, getting America’s kids cooking for life.

For more healthy, active ideas take a look at these other articles from Together Counts!