At the start of this chaotic new year, we have to focus on what we can control. At last week’s Leaders Connect Breakfast (Video of the 1/6/2017 Leaders Connect is up at, we learned that we can control two important aspects of our lives:  what we choose to eat and how we choose to stay active.

At the breakfast, participants were treated to a presentation by nutritionist, Allison Mankowski, who provides nutritional counseling to the athletic department at Eastern Michigan University and to junior high school students in the Ann Arbor schools.  We also heard from Demond Johnson from A2 Fitness Professionals.  Demond helps professional athletes recovering from PTSD and traumatic brain disorders. He also writes a monthly column in “The Ann”.  Below are some of their key pieces of advice.

Nutrition Tips

from Allison Mankowski, MPH, RD, CSSD, on Nutrition:

1.  Food Choice Matters

  • Eat high-quality, minimally processed foods every 3-4 hours
    • Helps control hunger ~ smart choices all day
    • Read labels and ingredient lists
    • Eat all the food groups

2.  Portions Matter

  • Tips for keeping healthy portions
    • Find out how much you are actually eating ~ measure!
    • Read labels
    • Use smaller bowls and plates
    • Eat slowly
    • Portion out snacks ahead of time

3.  Be Aware

  • Track your intake and physical activity ~ apps make it easy!
    • MyFitness Pal
    • Lose It
    • Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker-SparkPeople

4.  Listen to Your Body ~ Hunger Cues Matter

5.  Plan Ahead

  • Be prepared
    • Plan and prep meals weekly
    • Have healthy, quick options available
    • Shop once a week

6.  So, what’s the BEST diet???

  • The one that works for YOU!!

Fitness Tips

from Demond Johnson, CPT

1.  When we focus on wellness, it is imperative to focus on “total wellness” if we wish to survive the test of time.

2.  What makes up the “total wellness”?

  • Dynamic state which constantly changes through exercise, eating, and prevention
  • Where we create meaning and purpose in life and give sense of fulfillment
  • Significantly impacts all
  • To know me is to love me syndrome
  • One of the leading causes of stress

3.  Goal Setting

  • Plan, Execute, Focus
    • We attain these attributes through goal setting and this act is indeed the cornerstone of everything that we do

4.  Goal Identity

  • Identify Mission/Become Mission
    • We are mission specific and goal orientated by nature, therefore, we are destined to be successful with our goals as long as we remember to align ourselves with them

5.  Goal Creation/Revising

  • Goals ~ Holistic, Diverse, Exercise
    • Commit to your mission physically, emotionally, and mentally
    • Do not approach your health and wellness as a second job
    • Remember that the changes you make are a way of life, not a life=style
    • Reward yourself and the small accomplishments

6.  Two Types of Goals

  • Action and Avoidance
    • It’s a lot harder to achieve “Avoidance” goals

7.  Motivation

  • Extrinsic and Intrinsic

Additionally, here are some tips we heard from the members of the audience: 
1.  Do not focus on weight loss, but rather, if you eat well and exercise you will lose weight.
2.  Rather than weighing yourself, use the tightness of your belt as a measure of health.
3.  The right kind of exercise is the one that you will do regularly and have fun doing.
4.  Don’t fool yourself to say you don’t have enough time. We all have the same amount of time. Working more than 50 hours a week is unproductive. 
5.  For a month, keep track in a journal of what you eat and how often and how long you exercise.
6. Take a total break for at least 10 minutes a day to meditate, pray, nap, or just be quiet without any devices within reach.

So, here’s to starting out for a healthy year for all of you. May you do everything you can to maintain your health and to make the world a healthier place than it was in 2016!

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