Marilu Henner Teaches Healthy Resolutions
By John Morgan, Spotlight Health
With medical adviser Stephen A. Shoop, M.D.
Former Taxi-alum turned health author Marilu Henner knows change can be difficult
to embrace. With New Year's health resolutions being made by the millions, Henner
has several tips for success so you can enjoy better health.
"You need three things to make any resolution stick," says Henner, who teaches
an online class in avoiding self sabotage called Resolution Revolution: Ready,
Set, Goal. "You need awareness, discipline and practice. I know people can do
it because I changed my life completely."
Henner says change and succeeding in keeping your health resolutions begins
with awareness. This means acknowledging not only the problem but also recognizing
the opportunities you have to change.
"Let's say you want to drink more water," Henner explains. "You become aware
of how little you drink and the opportunities you have to drink water between
meals because that's when you want to drink water. That's awareness."
The second step of discipline means not only will power but also requires "setting
up your environment to win."
"You're not going to succeed with this water resolution if all you have in
the house is soda and juice," Henner notes. "So don't buy any -- it's easier
if it's not in your refrigerator. Then, put a water bottle in the car, one next
to your computer, and one next to your bed. Make it easier on yourself to be
Henner says the biggest stumbling block is not setting up your environment
for success and believes that people often feel very safe sheltered by their
"Change is often scary for us so we self sabotage to return to that safe place,"
Henner says. "It takes real courage to break free of that."
Finally Henner stresses that practice really does make a difference.
"You need repetition to create a habit and consistency brings results," Henner
advises. "I find it takes three weeks to create a new habit."
But while we can sabotage ourselves, other people can also hijack our journey
toward self improvement. Henner cautions that people need to be resilient and
focused to avoid sabotage by friends, family and co-workers.
"What everyone needs to do is get Teflon-ed," Henner says. "You have to be
able to let negative comments slide right off of you because often when we decide
to change it can threaten the people around us for many different reasons. So
when you encounter non-supportive people, smile, nod and move on. Know what
you want to accomplish. Don't let other people derail you. This is about you.
Don't get distracted and hurt - stay focused on your goal."
Support issues and distractions can be particularly difficult for family members.
Mom may want to stop snacking but the rest of the family loves their chips and
treats. Henner believes that rather than a stumbling block this is an opportunity
to be creative.
"I always say turn the excuse into a reason to actually practice," Henner advises.
"The holidays are a perfect example of this - they get us out of our practice
and discipline mode. So many things interfere, it's hectic and stressful and
you have guests and parties and a million things to do. But shopping can be
a workout experience - park the car further away, wear comfortable clothes and
sneakers, walk briskly through the mall with focused intention. Walk like an
When it comes to avoiding tempting foods in the house, Henner suggests a food
quarantine. If there's food you don't want to eat that's for other family members,
set up an area for that food where they can get it but one that will also help
you avoid it. 'Out of sight out of mind' works.
Here are some of Henner's strategies for two of the most popular health resolutions
people make each year.
> Losing weight - "The simplest way to get in shape is to start walking,"
Henner says. "We can learn a lot from our animals. We walk our dogs; we even
buy our hamsters those wheels. Yet we don't move. We need more free-range people.
If you're not in an area that is safe for walking at the time you choose to
exercise or the weather is bad, Henner suggests putting on some music and dancing.
Other creative solutions can be walking the stairs at work or going to the mall
"If you're at the park with your kids, don't just sit - watch them while you
walk briskly around the area where they're playing. I do. Of course, people
think I'm crazy... but I feel great."
> Eating healthier - One of Henner's favorite topics, the author
advises that "since you're a real person eat real food" instead of highly processed
foods with little or no nutritive value.
"People are simultaneously stuffing and starving themselves - their bodies
are craving more nutrients so they eat more, but they're eating mostly processed
flour, chemicals and sugar so we keep starving our bodies for what it really
needs - whole, real food. If you take care of the quality of your food, then
the quantity will take care of itself because you won't be craving missing nutrients."
Henner says reading labels is also critical to eating healthier food. "Become
aware of what you're putting in your mouth," she urges. "If you can't pronounce
it because it's all chemical names, then don't eat it."
And what are Henner's personal health resolutions this year?
"Water is an important one for me," Henner admits. "I tend to forget to drink
enough water. But my big one this year is sun protection and wearing sun block.
Even if it's not sunny out you are still getting exposed to UV rays that damage
your skin. I flea-dip my kids in sun block so I have to remember I need it too."
While she works at keeping her own health resolutions, Henner will also be
helping others with theirs.
"We have the next class on avoiding self sabotage and keeping resolutions starting
on January 5th," notes Henner, who just finished filming the mini-series
Gone But Not Forgotten. "The class is taught online for 30 days and you'll keep
your resolution this year. Remember, you're never too old or too young to feel
better than you do right now."
• Marilu Henner's classes
is the leading creator of celebrity-featured health-issue awareness campaigns,
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Created: 1/10/2004  - Donnica Moore, M.D.