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Friday, April 28, 2017

Learning How to Run Again

I will never forget the day I realized I had forgotten how to run. Don’t jump to conclusions, I was never a REAL runner who trained and ran races. What I am talking about is the simple basics and ability to revv up the engines and blast forward in a run…for fun, to move quickly out of the way, to chase after a kid running in the street, etc… I realized I had resorted to scurrying, something in between walking and running.
How did this happen? When did I forget how to run? I think it has a lot to do with the sedentary lives we lead and then as we gain weight we tend to avoid those activities that put more strain on us and our bodies. You can be plenty busy and not have to run. Most moms who have given birth and gained weight know what it is like to tend to the kids, be plenty busy, yet not spend any time “running.”

It occurred to me that running is an important skill to have and maintain. You never know when you might need it and its important to know you can easily engage the skill when you do need it--like riding a bike or knowing how to drive a clutch car.

Being able to run is also important for our health. It is great for our hearts, lowers cholesterol, boosts our immune system, expands our lung capacity, improves our mood through releasing endorphins, and even enhances bone density. Running can assist us with weight management. You don’t have to be a long distance runner to access the benefits of running. You just have to do it and practice it regularly.

The key is getting started. When I first decided I had to figure out how to run again I was the most overweight I had ever been. I had three small children and a lot on my plate. I FELT physically heavy. I wasn’t sure how to revv up my body to get to a run. The first time I tried it out was on the sidewalk in front of my house. It felt awkward and uncomfortable. I really didn’t feel myself. I only managed a sprint across the front lawn. Something inside of me refused to give up. I couldn’t accept that I could no longer run. I was way too young for such a thought.

I kept practicing. I set slightly longer goals for my short runs. It started to get easier, even though I still felt awkward and I was always out of breath. I played “running” tag with my kids. I played counting games with myself. It started to become easier and easier. I realized the biggest barrier to my success was my embarrassment over not being able to run and how I imagined how I looked when I ran. Ultimately it was more important to me to know how to run and feel better because of it than the embarrassment over not knowing how to run and what I looked like doing it.

In my research I came across a woman, Julie Creffield, who started a website challenging the notion that people are “too fat to run.” I even wrote a blog about it. My favorite phrase is “Running has no size!” It is true.

It is now a number of years later, I have lots of running/cross training shoes, and I run a couple of times a week outside, on the treadmill or on the track at the “Y.”  Weather doesn’t stop me! It feels great. It does improve my mood and my numbers are in great shape, and although I am no skinny woman, I am 50 pounds lighter than I was when I learned how to run again. Running does help me maintain my weight.

I’m glad I wanted to face the reality that I had forgotten to run. I am proud of myself for persevering. It meant putting something about me first. When you struggle with weight there is an inherent self worth issue. We should all remember we deserve to conquer our demons because every inch and pound of us is worth it!

If you are wanting to start running in earnest, check out my blog, #TooFatToRun: New Runner's 6 Tips for Success, or the many other resources out there to help you get started. My one important tip—make it fun and all about the adventure of a healthy lifestyle.

To Your Health! Live Vibrant!

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Sign of a Healthy Lifestyle -- A Vegetable Garden

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Why Food Matters

Chef Rick Bayless with moderator Sheila Kemper Dietrich and Deb Eschmeyer, former Executive Director of First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" Initiative

This past week my husband and I helped launch and participated in a new series at the Conference on World Affairs at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The series was entitled Why Food Matters! A Taste of Things To Come. Thought leaders, innovators and activists of the Good Food Movement gathered to discuss all variety of issues from food insecurity and food deserts to growing, buying and preparing food locally to how to better manage our resources long term, including reducing food waste and, of course, how to engage people, especially our children, in eating and living healthier lives.

I had the distinct pleasure of being the moderator for the inaugural keynote session entitled Why Food Matters: Nourishing Our Bodies and the Land.  We had two incredible speakers – Rick Bayless and Deb Eschmeyer. Rick is a world-class chef known for his PBS Series, now in its 11th season, his 9 cookbooks and his numerous Frontera restaurants. He is the founder of the Chefs Collaborative and the Frontera Foundation that gives grants to small farmers. Deb Eschmeyer is the former executive director of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” initiative and senior White House policy adviser for nutrition and co-founder of FoodCorps, a national nonprofit that places AmeriCorps leaders into schools to connect kids to healthy foods. She is a recipient of the James Beard Leadership Award.

Each speaker talked about their passion for being in touch with where food comes from, engaging others in the joys and benefits of experiencing good, healthy food and how the world is a much better place when all people have access to healthy foods. The most encouraging part of the discussion was that both Rick and Deb believe it is possible to give access to good, healthy food to all people no matter their income or location. Models of this possibility exist across the country. Already the successful programs are expanding to reach more people. FoodCorps is just such an example. It is a young nonprofit that has succeeded in expanding into 500 schools in 18 states. A key focus of the program is starting school gardens where the children are active participants. As one speaker noted, “The garden is the gateway to transforming a school, its cafeteria, and kid’s eating habits. “

For those of us who focus on healthy eating because of our desire to manage our weight and maximize our health, we need to be aware that how we live our lives is part of a bigger picture of food access and healthy eating. Whether we realize it or not, we are part of a big movement, the Good Food Movement, to improve lives through access to healthy foods and healthier eating. What became apparent to me while attending this new series Why Food Matters is that food is at the corps of our lives and touches everything. It is embedded in our values, our policies, our economy, our culture, our traditions, our collective memory, our language, the very quality of our lives, and our way of life. 
Deb Eschmeyer, co-founder of FoodCorps and Sheila Kemper Dietrich

Anyone dedicated to healthier eating and a healthier lifestyle is part of the Good Food Movement.  We are all having an impact, whether we realize it or not. It is more powerful, I think, if we do realize it. Together we can make this world a healthier place for everyone, starting with ourselves. And as Michael Pollen is famous for saying, “Eat good food, not too much, mostly vegetables.”

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Friday, April 14, 2017

An Open Letter to Oprah and My Hairy Audacious Goal

Dear Oprah-

You have always been so encouraging to others. You have shown us all how to think big and believe anything is possible. I have heard you say to others  “go for your dream” and have a “goal with a plan.”

With this in mind I’ve got a big dream with a hairy audacious goal attached that I want to share with you. You are a person I have always admired and learned from. Like you, I very much want to actively help make the world a better and healthier place.

My goal is to have you discover Livliga. My plan is to forge a partnership with you so we can help people live healthier lives. My dream is to tame the obesity epidemic through right-sizing our food environment in order to make it possible for people to live happier, healthier lives.

First things first, I would like to introduce you to Livliga, a healthy lifestyle tableware company that supports people in ‘knowing better so they can do better.’ It is all about healthy, right-sized eating at every meal. Put simply, we are a company that creates artist-designed portion control dinnerware, glassware and serveware that is so subtle that you can use it with your family and when you entertain. We even have a children’s line. We also produce uniquely designed private label dinnerware for corporate customers.

We at Livliga believe we can help make the world a healthier place one right-sized bite at a time. We have a big vision, one that embraces partnering with other like-minded individuals and businesses so we can reach the most people and have the largest impact.

Just as you have showed people with your recent Food, Health and Happiness book of recipes and insight, the real secret to living a happier and healthier life is in the lifestyle a person adopts and can sustain. It is about making mindful decisions and experiencing ‘conscious enjoyment.’

A little more about Livliga…we incorporated in 2011. It is an innovation I conceived out of my own personal need and because as the Executive Director of the American Heart Association in Denver, I understood how obesity is the root cause of so many of the diseases we struggle with and that are now affecting our children. We are science-based and all about the psychology of eating. Our company has been selling our product for just over 3 years, now has 3 patents, and has won 3 national awards; our most recent award is for our LivSpoons, which won the 2016 Editor’s Pick for Best New Product from the Gourmet Retailer.

With the shift to focusing on people experiencing and enjoying a healthier lifestyle, our product is perfectly positioned to be the right product at the right time to help people right size their food environment in their everyday lives in an attractive yet subtle way. We fervently believe just as you stated, “I adore a pretty table. You can feel the love in the details.” Livliga is all about that love.

In truth, we eat with our eyes, not our stomach. Remember the phrase, "Your eyes are bigger than your stomach?" It is true! That is why everyone needs Livliga. In the super-sized world we live in, our eyes are constantly being cued to overeat. Livliga is the answer to right sized, mindful eating. It is science-based and artist-designed to make it easy to serve up just right portions in a subtle way and also make those portions look plentiful. There is no other product like this on the market. We are the only multi-patented mindful eating (some say "portion control") dinnerware.

Your partnership with Weight Watchers is all about coming up with the best new way to help people live a healthier life. The key to the success is through creating enjoyable eating experiences that do not make people feel they are being deprived or denied the food they love. Livliga is all about enhancing the experience. 

Food is our sustenance both physically and mentally. When we think about the best memories we have of our lives they generally are wrapped around wonderful meals with the people we love. Why not create a beautiful, right-sized, and healthy food environment that gives people the positive experiences they long for and want to share?

We believe Livliga is a cornerstone to creating this wonderful world of mindful eating with good food filled with enjoyment in a community that embraces the joys and benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

There is a credible partnership here. Imagine what you, Weight Watchers and Livliga could do together.  We ask for the opportunity to get in front of you to wow you with what Livliga can bring to the table.

We have a goal. We have a plan. Please help us achieve our dream!

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Sign of a Healthy Lifestyle -- A pet

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Friday, April 7, 2017

Adventures of a Healthy Lifestyle Start Up—Tradeshows and the TODAY SHOW

For a young start up one of the biggest decisions you have to make is how to market your product. What is the best way to introduce your product and to what audience? And, of course, as a young company, how you spend what money you have to market helps determine those priorities. Sometimes, with a lot of hard work and a little luck, you can reach a much bigger audience with one email and one TV show. Here is some of what we have learned.

Where to Market Your Product. Livliga lives in two worlds-- the world of health and wellness and the world of housewares. Even our patented design is both esthetic and scientifically based. Just looking at our product you would not necessarily understand all of its benefits, much less what its real purpose is because it is subtle and beautiful. We discovered early on that we needed to get out there and introduce professionals and retail buyers to Livliga in person to explain first hand all of Livliga’s built in benefits.

How to set priorities. In order to get in front of these key people we do a lot of tradeshows each year. It has been an important part of our marketing strategy. We mainly go to professional conferences related to specific diseases as well as health & wellness. It is the professionals in the fields of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and obesity that instantly “get” our product and how it can make a difference to their patients and clientele long term as they embrace a healthy lifestyle.

Not being afraid to try new things. In addition to the professional conferences we do a gift/housewares show to get in front of retail buyers. For the past few years we went to the NY NOW gift show at the Javits Center in New York City. The exposure was great but our retail sales did not significantly increase. We decided it was time to try a new venue. We are really glad we did.

Leverage all opportunity. Because of great advice from other vendors we have gotten to know, we decided to try out the International Home + Housewares Show (IHHS) in Chicago. From the beginning our experience was very different than at the NY NOW. They want you to get exposure and introduce yourself to buyers and media. They provide an online platform for you to upload product, media kits and videos. There are mailing lists for both buyers and media you can access and use. They even offer special opportunities for those who are new to the show, have new product or want to get an innovative design recognized. By participating in all of these opportunities we were able to display our product in different ways and in multiple locations. With 62,000 people attending it is key to get as much exposure as possible beyond your booth. We took advantage of it all.

Believe in the worth of your hard work and the luck it can bring. Violà the TODAY SHOW! Something really wonderful happened because of reaching out and making sure as many areas of the show knew about us as possible. Livliga was picked to be part of the TODAY SHOW segment on the latest housewares gadgets trending this year at the Chicago IHHS. We were among just a few products showcased. The email I received said “Hi Sheila-Livliga MADE THE CUT for next Thursday Hoda & KLG.” We didn’t even know we were being considered. What a dream come true!

Put your best booth forward. Unlike the professional conferences that are filled with drug and equipment companies and have typical pop ups and table displays, the Housewares Shows are much more about looking like a storefront. It is all about the look and display. We spend a lot of time and money on the design of our storefront. This year our theme was Farm to Table. Since our product is all about good, healthy food in right-sized amounts we thought this theme was a perfect fit to help tell our story. It worked. We got a lot of great comments and many visitors to our booth.

The importance of lead retrieval. One of the hardest parts of a show is managing contacts, information from those contacts, and the follow up needed to land a new piece of business. We have found this is nearly impossible to do with out using a lead retrieval program offered by the show. Sure its not cheap but we find it saves a lot of time and headache after the event. It allows you to follow up in a timely manner. We think they are worth the investment.

Get to know the other vendors and form partnerships. We have found one of the most helpful parts of a show is the information we receive and connections we make with other vendors. We have made so many friends from all of the shows we have attended. We have learned so much from other exhibitors. They are an incredible resource of information and knowledge. As an example, we decided to go to the International Home + Housewares Show this year because of feedback from other vendors. We have also partnered with other vendors for cross promotions and giveaways through our various social media platforms. It’s a great way to engage new audiences and introduce them to each other’s products. We plan on doing the same from the IHHS show.

Its not just one thing, it’s the package.  The more we have done this the more we realize that detail and taking risk, really meaning sometimes getting out of our comfort zone, pays off. We reached out to media and buyers. We took the chance and signed up for the special events. We boldly talked to people walking by our booth and tried to engage them in our story, sometimes succeeding. And we are flexible in how we work with buyers, providing show specials, and no required minimums, as examples, so we can develop business and make sales. As a result of this show we will now be sending product to Canada and Kuwait and bringing on new retailers in the USA. And let’s not forget…we also got to have our product appear on the TODAY SHOW!

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Sign of a Healthy Lifestyle--well stocked pantry

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