InMenlo Article from 10/14

InMenlo: “More than a work out, Stella Bergan offers clients a wellness boutique” 


More than a work out, Stella Bergen offers clients a wellness boutique

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 12:02 PM PDT

As she looks back on her life, Stella Bergan says she’s has always been “people focused.”

“When I was an undergrad, I would be the person people would come to help them solve their problems,” she recalls.

So it’s not surprising that her first career choice was family therapy. The focus turned corporate during her years as an executive coach at Ernst and Young. For the past five years, the Ladera resident been owner of Perfectly Fit, where she serves over 50 clients both in small group training and one-on-one.


“My passion is really helping people live their best life,” she says. “I’m a personal trainer but also offer nutrition consulting, parenting help, and stress reduction. Ii think of my services as a wellness boutique.”

One discipline she offers her clients is running, which she’s been doing since she was a freshman in high school. “Running has been a huge part of my life,” she says. “I still run for fun and really enjoy doing group runs with clients.

“When people are new to running, their brain is saying ‘I don’t want to do this.’ But if you can get through the first month, then most get that good feeling when they’re done. I call it ‘the feel good carrot.’ That’s why most of us exercise.”

Stella’s male and female clients come mainly from Menlo Park, Atherton and Portola Valley and cover a wide age range. She also blogs about a variety of health-related subjects.

The idea of wellness boutique evolved as she realized her services were more than a typical boot camp workout. “If you want a good work out and that’s what you came for, you’ll get it,” she says. “But if you have other needs, I can probably help with those too. My goal is to make sure my clients got what they came for today.”

Photos by Rebecca Flanagan

Learning to Embrace Failures in order to Succeed


I love this quote by Michael Jordan, he really sums up the notion that the key to success is being able to embrace failure.  Now I don’t mean embrace in the sense that you have to try and fail so you can be super happy that you have achieved failure, I mean embrace as in asking yourself, “OK, I did not achieve what I wanted today, what could I have done to make today go differently?”  If we cannot own our failures, losses. bad parenting moments, ineffective corporate talks, bad runs, missed basketball, soccer, lacrosse shots, bad pitches, short tempers, bad attitudes, etc, then how do we move beyond them and get better?  In fact, I think the key to being successful lies in personal ownership of our own losses and failures.  I hear kids all the time come off the court or field telling their parents that their team lost due to bad refereeing, bad umpire calls, cheating from the other team, etc., and most of the time I hear parents agreeing with them. OK, I know many times the refereeing is really bad, and most of the baseball umpires are kids and are still learning too, and yes, sometimes the other team plays dirty and gets away with it, but the only thing we can control is how we play the game, not what is happening elsewhere on the court or field.
One of the best tools I learned during my Executive Coaching career at Ernst and Young was asking my clients, “what could you have done differently to elicit a different outcome?”  Once I quit E&Y to stay home with my kids, I would apply that tool to my parenting skills. I remember vividly being in the pediatrician’s office one afternoon with my two oldest who were probably 3 and 18 months at the time, I had been running late so instead of getting my stroller out and strapping my active 18 month old boy in, I carried him. We got to the waiting room and what was generally a 5 minute wait turned into a 20 minute wait while my son jumped and climbed all over the waiting room. I started to stress over his active behavior, all the germs he was picking up, his not listening, etc.  As I was getting more stressed, my parenting become more desperate and ineffective.  Once the appointment was over, I sat for a moment in my car and acknowledged just how ineffective that approach had been with 2 kids less than 2 years apart.  I immediately started thinking of ways that I could have better prepared, how I could have better handled the situation, etc.  I can honestly say we never had another visit like that one!
I now ask myself that same question, “what could you have done differently to elicit the outcome you wish you had gotten?” to my classes, still with my parenting (and believe me when I say the stakes are much greater when your kids are teens), my consulting work, my personal training clients, my interactions with others, etc.  We have to embrace and own our failures in order to reorganize for success.
The amazing Todd Durkin sent out a blog a couple of weeks ago outlining an exercise he does every Sunday (apparently 1 of 18 things he does on Sunday to get his mind right for the upcoming week)  which I have been trying to adapt to my own Sunday routine.  He calls the exercise his W.L.A.G.’s.  WLAGs stands for:
Wins” of the past week. 
Losses” of the past week. 
Aha” moments from the past week. 
Goals” of the upcoming week.

Wins and losses from the past week allow him to pause and reflect for a few minutes on what he accomplished or didn’t accomplish. It puts him in a more reflective and present state of mind versus always just thinking “what’s next?”

Ahas” simply allow him to go a step deeper and think about any/all moments from the previous week that made him stop in his tracks or made him catch his breath.
And finally, he writes out his GOALS for the upcoming week. “Goals” are simply what he WILL accomplish in the next 7 days. While he typically puts down 15-20 things on that “To Do” list for the week, he narrows it to a BIG 5 for the week. These are the 5 things that MUST get done this week come hell or high water.
I hope you can take something from this blog that you might be able to apply to your own weekly routine the will help bring about greater successes in your week. Try asking yourself, “what could I have done differently?” or maybe sit down this afternoon and write down your WLAGs – even share them with a friend or loved one. And of course, if you want to make the most of your workout time, don’t forget to let your teacher or trainer know what you are looking to get out of that hour.  Also, if you feel something is ineffective, don’t hesitate to let your teacher or trainer know that what they were doing did not work for you. I always welcome your feedback and I am pretty sure other teachers and trainers do, too.

What I Have Learned


I get asked many questions over the course of each week, some I can answer and some I cannot.  Some people want information on how to get quick results, and some people just want to know how to feel better.  I get questions on sugar, fats, running vs. cycling, how to motivate kids, how much is too much and what is too little, and the list goes on and on.  So after 5 years, a lot of outside education, and day in and day out of implementing exercises, giving advice, and watching you respond, here is what I have learned.

1.  If you want to enjoy sustainable results, have a goal and be consistent!  The people who get the best results (and I have clients who have completely changed their shape) have S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound), revise them every 6 months or so, and are consistent over time.  This does not mean that you cannot slack off here and there, but the people who get the best results that are sustained over time know how to jump right back into their routine after a break.
2.  Diet matters!  If you really want to lost weight and you are not a male under the age of 30, then yes, DIET MATTERS!!!  Weight loss is all about your eating habits if you want to sustain the loss over time.  And if you want to improve your health no matter what age or weight you are, DIET MATTERS!  Improving the quality of your diet and addressing your eating habits can make a world of difference in how you look and feel no matter what your size. All calories are not created equal, focus on eating nutrient dense foods in a way that is right for your body type and energy expenditure.
3.  Sleep is essential!  Getting adequate sleep is essential to your health.  It is also a contributing factor in a weight loss program.  Deprive yourself of sleep and you are depriving your body of the time it needs to heal itself, you are setting yourself up for sugar and carb cravings, you are aging your skin, contributing to depression and forgetfulness.  Just get your butt to bed and make sure you sleep at least 6-8 hours every night (preferably 7-8).
4.  Fit people do not always love to exercise.  I have to admit that most of my clients do not really like to exercise.  Some do, but many do not. Find things that that fit with your schedule, hire a trainer/coach to help you organize your exercise routine and hold you accountable, sign up to do a race with friends, meet friends to hike, make exercise part of your daily routine.
5.  You don’t have to go all out to be fit.  If you want to get any type of measurable results that involve strength, speed, endurance, or weight loss, sure you need to build in days in your week where you have to really reach outside your comfort zone.  But if you are just looking to be healthy, you just need to engage in moderate activity often.  This can be done though out your day, so make sure your activity fits with your goals.
6.  Looking and feeling better is as much about your mental attitude as it is about your physical appearance.  When we feel good on the inside, we look better to ourselves and others.  Make sure you keep your self talk positive and encouraging!!!
7.  Sometimes it is best to stick to the basics.  Exercise does not need to be complicated to get results.

The Toxicity of Sugar


I had the pleasure of attending a Blue Stocking Salon speaker event at Stanford on Thursday featuring Dr. Robert Lustig.  Dr. Lustig is the UCSF pediatric endocrinologist who has done extensive research on the effects of sugar on our health, delivered the viral You Tube lecture, “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” and is now passionately fighting the FDA and the food industry to make the addition of added sugars mandatory on all nutrition labels.  His talk was titled, “The 3 Hidden Myths of the Food Industry” and I thought I would highlight my notes for you since I only saw one of you at the event.  🙂

Most of you know that this is also a topic that I am passionate about as we are literally killing our kids and ourselves with all the sugar drinks and processed food.  I still cannot understand why anyone brings processed food and gatorade/sodas/fruit juice for post game or practice snacks, PLEASE stop bringing these items, this food is really toxic.  And if I was passionate before, I am overly passionate now.  I do not want to come across as judgmental or preachy, EVER, but I do want you to know that I care about your health and the health of your children, so at least think about the information in this blog and how you can make a few changes that might have a lasting impact on the health of your family.
Myth #1 – It’s about obesity
We have a WORLD HEALTH CRISIS and it IS NOT OBESITY!  The health crisis is about metabolic dysfunction for which obesity is a result not a cause.  Chronic metabolic diseases account for 75% of all healthcare dollars – and this is preventable!  Normal weight and obese people are almost equally at risk for metabolic dysfunction, with obese people at a slightly higher risk.  There are plenty of very healthy overweight people and plenty of very unhealthy thin people.  The food industry wants you to believe that the problem is about obesity because then it becomes about “personal responsibility” – which ironically was a term introduced by the tobacco industry.  If it is about “personal responsibility”, then it lets them off the hook.  The food industry grosses 1 trillion dollars a year yet we are losing 1.4 trillion to food related diseases, that means that we are all paying the price both with our health as well as financially (drives our insurance costs WAY up).
Did you know that before 1980 there were ZERO cases of type 2 diabetes in children?  Type 2 diabetes in children is on the rise and has increased by 30% in the last 5 years.
Myth #2 – A calorie is a calorie
Every diet works for 2 months, but most people regain the lost weight within the first 6 months after losing it.  Why?  Diets don’t work unless you change your lifestyle.  Different calories are metabolized differently depending on the fiber content.  A cup of carrots has approximately 50 calories, but you only digest about 3/4 of those calories due to the insoluble fiber.  Processed food is FIBERLESS food.  We have a limited ability for our livers to metabolize fructose (sugar) – we are only designed to metabolize 6 teaspoons a day.  YES, that is what I said, SIX TEASPOONS A DAY!!!
Exercise if one of the best things you can do for you health, but if you want to lose weight, you have to address your diet and lifestyle.
Myth #3 It’s about personal responsibility
As I mentioned earlier, it is not about personal responsibility, it is about the government sleeping with the food industry and caring more about their profits than your health – PERIOD.  They spend BILLIONS on advertising to brainwash you into thinking differently, so please, do not let them!
So, what can you do?
1.  Invest in your health, you and your family are worth it!  Buy and eat real food, preferably organic fruits and vegetables, grass fed meats, and wild caught fish.  Farm raised fish (which are corn fed) and corn feed cattle are unhealthy.  Did you know that it takes 18 months for a grass fed calf to mature and fatten up enough to be slaughtered, but takes a corn fed calf SIX WEEKS.  That is disgusting!
2,  Educate yourself and your kids.  Watch the movie Fed Up for movie night, pop some organic popcorn at home cooked on the stove in coconut oil and have a great time.  The more our kids understand the issue, the better informed they are to make healthy choices for themselves.   Other resources are the PBS special “Sweet Revenge” and a new website which is launching in November –
3.  Try to discourage parents from bringing snacks to practices.  Let each child bring their own snack if they need one.  If you serve meals at the end of sports games, encourage parents to make them healthy meals with limited sugar offerings.
4.  Be mindful of what you are eating, read the food labels, look to see if the food has added sugar or unwanted chemicals.  You can make small changes over time that will have a lasting impact on your health.
5.  When you eat dessert, make it worth it!
If you would like to read more, Dr. Lustig has written several books including Fat Chance:  Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease.  There are many interviews and published articles featuring Dr. Lustig including this one,, and there is always the You Tube lecture.
If you would like help in improving your family’s diet/lifestyle, please let me know.
We are now in week six of our Back to Basics Shape Up Challenge.  Please continue with weeks 1-5, but this week, try to make either one day a vegan day or you can make 3 meals a week vegan meals.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Mind Full or Mindful?



Sometimes my blogs are inspired by others (power of suggestion), by local events, by articles I have read, or by things I see in the community and sometimes they are a reminder to myself that hopefully, others will benefit from as well.  Today’s blog falls in the latter category but was also inspired by this image posted on the amazingly mindful Peter Twist’s (Canadian uber trainer) Facebook page.
One thing I was struck by in the first few years I moved here (gasp, almost 20 years ago), after living in both New York and Washington, DC, was the 24/7 lifestyle of the Bay Area.  Not just that people trained for their sport or sports 365 days a year without a marked period of recovery (like winter on the East Coast), but that people worked 24/7, they vacationed often, they needed to be engaged in something all the time. Who would have thought that as quickly as we transplants adapt to the weather (yes, we ALL become weather wimps), we seem to just as easily get sucked into the 24/7 lifestyle vortex.  Now, don’t accuse me of complaining, I love the Bay Area as much as they rest of you, and really, what is not to love?  But, no place is perfect and one of the things that seems to be making us increasingly less healthy is technology, which is the foundation of the Silicon Valley.  How ironic!
As Apple unveiled their Apple Watch a couple of weeks ago, it occurred to me that it would just be one more thing telling us what to do – telling us when we need to workout, when we are “ready” to work hard, how “hard” we should work, when we should sleep, how we should eat, when we have a meeting, when we need to be at hot lunch, heck, it probably tells us when we need to take a poop!  😉  How much more do we need someone or something telling us when we need to be somewhere or when we need to take care of ourselves, isn’t that why we were given 5 senses?  But according to the experts in my field, this is where the industry is headed.  Yikes, what does the use of all this technology do to our nervous system and how does that effect our neuroplasticity?
Technology has increased our sensory input to an unhealthy level – it started with “you’ve got mail” and now we have a barrage of messages from not just email, but Facebook, texting, Instagram, Twitter, and many many more.  It’s not just the rapid firing of messages that can get overwhelming, it’s the pressure to keep up, not only personally, but also professionally and socially.  We have calendars that are so over scheduled, we all could use a full time assistant to manage our kid’s activities and parental volunteer responsibilities alone and this seems to be the case whether you have 1 child or 10!
OK, maybe I am exaggerating just a little, but it brings me back to our 5 senses. When I feel overwhelmed by what is on my plate, it really helps if I take a step back and inhale deeply through my nose (belly breath as I call it) and exhale sharply though my mouth and start the mindful process of focusing first on my breathing and then identifying what I see, feel, smell, hear and can touch at that moment.  Just quieting the mind and getting in touch with your senses can take you from “Mind Full” to “Mindful” in seconds and life is so much more peaceful and enjoyable in the Mindful place.  One of the best gifts you can ever give yourself is the gift of really listening to your body, really paying attention to the cues that you are tired, hungry, over trained, overwhelmed, feeling happy, sad, or even depressed.  This is different than listening to what your head is telling you.  Your body is almost always able to handle more than your head is telling you.  So, quiet your brain and listen to your body. Once you start paying more attention to your own body and really listening, you will be able to take care of yourself in a way that technology will NEVER be able to do.  So start paying more attention today, spend a few minutes quieting the mind, paying attention to your breath and really listening to what your body is telling you.  I think you will be surprised by what it has to say.  You might even become more “mindful” of those around you, the people you really love and care about the most.
This is a great article about the effects of negative emotions on our health if you would like to expand on this topic:
We are now in week five of our Back to Basics Shape Up Challenge.  How are you doing?  Please continue drinking alcohol in moderation (1-2 drinks) only on the weekends, refraining from white flour and sugar, keep your extra workout, and make sure you are drinking a glass of water in the morning upon rising.  Have you been able to cut your snacking to two snacks only per day – one in the morning and one in the afternoon and try to keep them around 200 calories?  This is a great rule for snacking as snacking can easily turn into a 4th, 5th, or 6th meal of the day.  Remember, it is best to make your snack contain protein, fat, and fiber.  I am not adding anything for this week, as I think it is best to focus on the challenges that you have already been given and try to get them incorporated into your lifestyle first.  As always, let me know if you have any questions.
Here is the schedule for the week, please let me know if you are coming to class – and don’t forget to bring a buddy as the buddy’s first class is free until the end of the month.


Awesome Life Tip


I love this “awesome life tip”!  Yes, ask for what you want, write down your goals and dreams, keep rewriting them as your change your course, just take the plunge toward creating the life you want and always believe you are worthy!!!
We have a lot going on this month at Perfectly Fit.  We have a group of teens training for the Theta Breakers 5K (please let me know if your child is interested in joining), we have a group training for the Big Sur Half Marathon, we have our Back to Basics Shape Up Challenge, and it is Buddy Month (bring a buddy to class and the buddy’s first class is free)!!
We are now in week four of our Back to Basics Shape Up Challenge.  Please continue drinking alcohol in moderation (1-2 drinks) only on the weekends, refraining from white flour and sugar, keep your extra workout, and make sure you are drinking a glass of water in the morning upon rising.  Your new goal is to cut your snacking to two snacks only per day – one in the morning and one in the afternoon and try to keep them around 200 calories.  It is best to make your snack contain protein, fat, and fiber.  Some good choices are apples with your favorite nut butter, hummus and vegetables, and organic greek yogurt with fresh fruit and nuts.  As always, let me know if you have any questions.
If you want more tips, here are some great “healthy eating” tips from Precision Nutrition:
  1. Healthy eating isn’t perfection. It’s doing your best with what you have.
  2. Healthy eating isn’t calorie expertise. It’s paying attention to your body’s natural hunger and fullness cues.
  3. Healthy eating isn’t science overload. It’s keeping things simple, following basic principles, and using common sense.
  4. Healthy eating isn’t an escape from boredom. It’s just what our body needs to stay healthy — no more and no less.
  5. Healthy eating isn’t always delici-gasmic. It tastes good, but not too good.
  6. Healthy eating isn’t a new identity portal. We need to change from the inside out and live authentically as a happy, health-pursuing person.
  7. Healthy eating isn’t easy. But, if you organize your life and daily routine to enable living healthily, you’ll find it gets easier and easier.
  8. Healthy eating isn’t endless food preparation. With a few tricks and tips, you can whip together something tasty and healthy. If you enjoy lots of food prep, then do it. If you don’t, don’t.
  9. Healthy eating isn’t restriction. It’s about integrating your values so seamlessly into your life that you can easily make smart, healthy choices without feeling “deprived”.

Lifestyle Choice


On Friday I took my 13 year old to his yearly checkup and his pediatrician asked him if he enjoyed coming to the doctor to which he responded with a serious head shake no.  She then asked him if he wanted to know how to avoid having to go to the doctor’s office to which he silently nodded.  She offered him these words of wisdom, “eat a diet with lots of fruits and vegetables and little processed foods, exercise often, and make sure and get plenty of sleep.”  This happens to be the same advice I offer my kids, but I have not been clever enough to offer it up after asking if they enjoy going to the doctor’s office! Obviously, you can follow this advice and still get ill, but I loved that my new pediatrician seems to have a mission to help kids understand that their health habits (eating, exercising, sleeping) have a direct relationship to the amount of time they spend in the doctor’s office.
On the topic of eating, we are now in week three of our Back to Basics Shape Up Challenge.  I hope you are all enjoying your glass or two of wine (or other cocktail choice) this weekend and are continuing to get through your days without white flour and sugar (this should have eliminated most if not all processed foods).  How did you do with your extra workout?  Please let me know if you have any feedback or questions! This week, you need to continue with the no alcohol during the week (Sun-Thurs), no white flour and sugar, one extra workout, and now you are going to add drinking one glass of water upon rising in the morning.  This can be a glass of warm water with lemon or a glass of cold water, just add one glass of water before drinking your coffee or tea in the mornings!
I hope you are all managing to get in your workouts!  We have a fabulous group training for the Big Sur Half Marathon in November.  We officially start our training this week!!  I also have a group of teens who are going to train for the Theta Breakers Run at Stanford on October 26th.  If your child is interested in joining this group, please let me know.  We will officially start our training next Sunday, the 14th.  I will be sending final instructions to everyone who is interested this week, so make sure and email me soon!
There is a great article from Tuesday’s WSJ that explains why we all have “off days” in our training programs.  My favorite quote from the article is, “you should train to recover, not recover to train.”  Recovery is when your tissues repair themselves, it is the time when the magic happens!  So make sure you not only get plenty of sleep for your health and recovery, you need to listen to your body and mix in some lighter days during your training week.
It’s going to be a fabulous week of Perfectly Fit workouts!!!  Please let me know what days you will be coming to class.


Link Between Food and Disease


I hope you are all enjoying the holiday weekend!!  One of my pet peeves is when people deny the link between food and disease.  There is always the person in the room telling you all the seemingly unhealthy things their grandparent, great aunt, uncle, etc. ate and “they lived to be 100!”  I have to admit that my father falls into this camp which might explain why it is a pet peeve.  😉  Of course, recently he has started to pay a little more attention because his energy is not as good and it is impacting his golf game.  I am trying to get him to cut down on sugar and drink more green smoothies, but even with the golf game motivation (which anyone who knows my highly competitive father knows that everything is related to his golf game), getting someone to change is tough, especially when they are 84 and are basically in very good health.
The link between food and disease is highly published.  You do not have to read or listen to “The China Study” to gain knowledge in this relationship – just google the relationship between food and disease and you will pull up a plethora of scientific studies citing the relationship between chronic inflammation in the body and disease.  A bad diet causes chronic inflammation in the body, that is a fact.  Does that mean if you eat an inflammatory diet you will get heart disease, diabetes, or even cancer?  Obviously, nothing is for certain, but we do know that preventing inflammation may ward off a wide range of chronic diseases.  Hmmm, so what is the right choice, eat whatever I want and wait and see or be proactive about making changes to your diet that might prevent the onset of a chronic disease?  I know my choice, but my choice also comes with the added benefits of feeling better, hopefully looking better as I am definitely not getting any younger, having more energy to do the things I love, and setting a good example for my kids that hopefully will be passed down for generations to come.
If you have not found your healthy sweet spot, I hope you will join our Back to Basics Shape Up Challenge and make a few key changes to your current routine.  If you are interested in a health coach for your family, I have expanded my consulting business to include a health makeover for families who would like someone to come in and help overhaul their current health and fitness routines.  This would include an assessment of your families current exercise routine, including your children, suggestions for improvements, a pantry makeover with healthy suggestions and options for meals, and an assessment of mental or down time with suggestions that fit your lifestyle and time constraints.  Please email of you are interested.
For week one of our Back to Basics Shape Up Challenge, I encouraged you to limit your alcohol to 1-2 drinks on the weekend.  For week 2, I encourage you to stick with week one and add the elimination of all white flour and sugar products.  If you are a real dessert person and need something, please try to stick with one small square of dark chocolate every other day.  I would also encourage you to add one extra workout per week, even if it is just a 20 minute walk, everything counts!  I am well aware that the first few days of eliminating sugar and white flour can be tough, but if you make it through the first two days, you will notice the cravings subside.  You can always email if you need ideas or suggestions.  Remember, you can still have fruit and medjool dates are a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth.
SEPTEMBER IS BUDDY MONTH!!!!!!  Bring a buddy to class and your buddy enjoys their first class for free!!!!


Mental Health


I hope you have all had a wonderful weekend!  It’s difficult to believe that we are in the last few days of summer break before the madness of back to school time begins.  It’s amazing how much the first and last months of school challenge my mental health!  Yes, I am known to belt out the words of Frank Costanza from Seinfeld, “Serenity Now”!!!!!  I hope we can all move through the first few weeks with ease, reminding ourselves to take care of our mental, physical, and emotional health so we can get everyone back to school, work, activities, etc. without a breakdown!
On the topic of mental health and a much more serious note, along with the rest of the world,  I was enormously saddened by the death of Robin Williams last week.  I know many of you experienced the same thing, but I really felt like I had lost a friend.  Reading all the tributes and news articles on his suicide just sent me deeper into a state of despair.  I suddenly had flashbacks to my first day of Psychotherapy class in graduate school when my professor asked the class how many of us thought we could be diagnosed using our brand new DSM IV’s.  Of course, no one raised their hands, to which he responded, “just by being in graduate school, you are already diagnosable”.  “You have to fall somewhere on the obsessive-compulsive scale to even make it to graduate school.”  I went on to realize that we all fall somewhere on the mental health continuum for different disorders, in reality, we are only a few life events away from mental illness.  I wondered all week what must have pushed Robin Williams, a man who seemed to have been able to manage his depression and substance abuse with a healthy lifestyle and commitment to his sobriety and depression treatment, over the edge.  Then I heard the news from his wife, he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and it seemed to make more sense.
I hope the loss of our beloved actor, comedian, humanitarian, and role model will bring greater awareness to the importance of mental health and what we can do to help ourselves when life events become greater than our capacity for processing and managing them.  I believe the first step for understanding the complexities of mental health is to acknowledge our own connection to mental illness.  Having empathy and understanding for those dealing with depression or other mental disorders is paramount to progress in our society.  Destigmatizing help for those who are suffering is also essential.  Just think of the benefit for our children and our children’s children if we can start normalizing mental health services.  Help your loved ones understand that mental health services are medicine for the brain, not something for which they need to feel ashamed.
In the meantime, we can all take care of our mental, physical, and emotional health by eating healthy non-processed, organic foods, making exercise a priority every week, work on our connections with others, and reach out for help when we feel like life is too much to handle.
I hope to see you all back in class this week.  We are still not back to our regular schedule, so make sure you check to see which classes and times will meet this week.


Make Time for Your Health


As I was standing in line in Phoenix waiting to board our plane to Nashville on Thursday, I could not help but notice the number of people in wheelchairs, it had to be more than 15, closer to 20 probably.  Looking around, I could point out another 20 people who looked like they might be in wheelchairs by the time they took their next vacation.  As we exited the plane in Nashville, there were another 12+ people waiting in wheelchairs to board the plane we just exited from.  I have never seen so many people traveling in wheelchairs.  These were not 90+ year old people, these were people in their 60’s and 70’s!  Is it a sign of our country’s decaying health or are people trying to work the system to be the first to board?  What makes me the most sad is knowing that your health is something that you largely have control over.  Sure, it is much easier to talk about making healthy changes than to actually implement them, but even small changes can make an enormous difference.  So please, if you need to make changes to your routine to improve your health, there is no time like the present!!
1.  If it does not come from a plant or animal (preferably organic plant and grass fed animal), you should not be eating it!
2.  Limit your sugar, limit your sugar, limit your sugar!!!
3.  Try to eat a rainbow every day – one cup of greens, one cup of yellows, one cup of oranges, one cup of reds, one cup of purples, etc.
4..  Exercise daily!  This does not mean you have to fit in an hour run or class, you can simply make sure you move every hour.  Park your car as far away from the office or store as you can, take the stairs, ride your bike to work, take a walk at lunch, just be active!!!!
5.  Try to fit in 2-3 strength sessions per week and 3-4 cardio sessions per week.  These can be 20 minutes or more, just make it happen!
6.  Be active with your kids, play with them, get them engaged!!
7.  Try to make most of your meals at home so you know what you are eating!!!
8.  Educate your family members and extended family members – pay it forward!!!