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Take Your Health Back

After struggling for years with chronic pain as a result of two car crashes, Laurie Hoffmann’s days were severely restricted—until she realized that she didn’t have to live that way. She discovered an alternative way to empower her life. Hoffmann became a certified health coach and is spreading the word that consuming nutritious foods and pursuing a new lifestyle has the power to heal the body — in the same way that it did for her.

During a special workshop at the Renew Health, Wellness, and Beauty Expo on Thursday, March 20 in Plymouth Meeting, Hoffmann explained to women how to improve their lives through food and life style changes. At the Expo, hosted by the Professional Women’s Business Network, women attended a vast array of mind and body subject workshops. They included: nutrition and wellness, health and beauty, personal development, cultivating a professional reputation, and assessing financial health. The event was free of charge.

But the 30 minute workshops were the most comprehensive. Hoffmann asked in her workshop, “Are you dieting now?” Most hands shot up. Then she revealed some startling facts. “The average 47- year- old woman has dieted 61 times in her life. Moreover, women usually gain the weight back within the first two years. As a result, Hoffmann came up with an easy, fun, and empowering plan–an alternative to dieting.

The following are Hoffmann’s top tips for a healthy lifestyle:

  • Eat foods that nourish your body with less than ten ingredients—all of which are recognizable.
  • Add one extra vegetable a day by having soup, salad, or a smoothie before a meal, reducing cravings and binging.
  • Find ways to get active, break a sweat, for ten minutes three times a day.
    Practice stress reduction: meditate, do deep breathing, journal, feel gratitude, laugh more.
  • Since processed foods, chronic stress, antibiotics, medicines, and chemicals impede digestion and reduce vitality; rebalance the good bacteria in the gut by taking a probiotic and drinking tepid water with fresh lemon daily.

Hoffmann said that making small significant changes in your daily routine has long-term benefits. In closing she revealed, “There is no one right way to eat that will guarantee success for everybody, but when you eat clean, find the foods that fuel your body and energize you, then you will achieve success and feel empowered.”

Mercy Health, who presented the Expo, promoted the wellness theme by offering women blood pressure health screenings and consultations with the doctors. These one-to-one consultations were a way for women to ask personal questions and discuss health concerns with Mercy Health doctor Hema Jonnalagadda, a practicing gynecologist for the past eight years. She fielded questions mainly about menarche, menopause, what age a young women should start seeing a gynecologist, and the frequency of visits. Dr. Jonnalagadda’s friendly, relaxed manner immediately put women at ease as she educated them about the importance of seeing a gynecologist on a regular basis.

Another topic of great interest at the Expo was how digestion is vital to our health—something that is often overlooked.

Cathy Windland, owner of Inner Spa, informed women that the colon is where seventy percent of our immune system is housed. Windland, a certified colon hydrotherapist, explained how important a healthy colon is to your overall health by using a tree analogy. Your body is the tree; at its base the roots– your gut. If your gut is not healthy, then either is the rest of your body.

She wanted women to understand that colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer- related deaths in the United States—which translates into 50,000 colon cancer deaths per year.

Just like it makes sense to bathe regularly and brush your teeth, it makes sense to cleanse your colon, too. “Colon hydrotherapy is basically a bath for your colon that allows the body to rebalance itself,” explained Windland.
“The responsibility lies within each one of us,” Windland reminded us, “to find the right balance for us.”

Sherry Shoemaker, in her workshop “Fit and Focused,” urged women to take responsibility for what they desire. As owner of Voice of Assurance Life Coaching, Shoemaker helps women to gain confidence and clarity giving them the tools to remove obstacles that sabotage them from reaching desired goals. The key, to her role as a certified life coach, is helping women to understand the motivation behind what they want and to anticipate and counteract obstacles.

Often times, when women come across obstacles, they simply make excuses that impede any further progress she explained. “When in actuality fear holds them back from moving forward which they must push through to get the desired results.”

Shoemaker reminded women “they are responsible for whatever they desire to do in their life. And if they believe in themselves, anticipate the obstacles, persevere, and have faith, then they can do anything they set their mind to.”
Expo participants also visited tables, participated in demonstrations–receiving massages, dancing the salsa Zumba- style led by certified instructor Beatrix Salamanca, and marveling as Gloria Walker, independent sales director with Mary Kay cosmetics, gave Phyllis Smith, the founder of PWBN, a new and more natural look.

The Expo participants were also downing Ashvini Mashru’s “spring into shape” breakfast smoothies. Mashru used her knowledge as a registered dietician to create healthy beverages without empty calories for busy women who often skip breakfast. Her mission at Wellness Nutrition Concepts she said is “to help women feel fabulous from food.”

While walking around visitors gobbled up Thai noodle dishes and pans of Sweet Megan’s gluten-free pizza, as well as tasty desserts that were all soy, dairy, and peanut free.

When people talk about health, they often refer to traditional practices. However, at the Expo presenters introduced women to a variety of holistic approaches—including yoga and energy healing. In the commotion from 200 attendees moving about, Kristin Ritter, owner of Nourishing Storm Yoga and certified health coach, and yoga and dance instructor Tera Gibbs introduced the audience to quiet meditation. All around the room, noise and movement abated, as participants closed their eyes, guided to visualize spring– and more importantly to relax. “Yoga is a very individual practice; it really meets you where you are,” Ritter said. After some warm-ups, the participants were focused and energized, ready to experience yoga by assuming poses. Women attained balance and derived strength and energy from their participation.
Intuitive Reiki energy healer Ellen Carey guided women to discover the emotional wound that has caused them to feel stuck.

According to Carey, owner of Dragon and Phoenix Energy Center, most people carry a wound inside from their childhood that stems from one of their basic needs not being met, such as care, encouragement, and relaxation to be our authentic selves. Instead of tackling that issue, they hide it from themselves– which blocks them from achieving their goals. “Path to Heal” that Carey practices helps people get back on track. “Your life should not be a struggle,” said Carey.

After leaving the Expo, these women had a renewed sense of purpose. Their mind, body, and spirit were prepared to take on the world.

Lynda Dell

Lynda Dell is a Freelance writer who creates compelling stories about topics that she is passionate about — health and wellness, successful start-ups, family, and education–using her background as an educator, an artist, and a storyteller. She will convey your story through business profiles, blog entries, articles, and interviews that showcase who you are and why we should care! If you have an interesting story to tell – contact Lynda at lyndart09@hotmail.com

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