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Author: Meredith Mitchell

Help I’ve Fallen Off the Band Wagon and I can’t Get Up Part 3

Help I’ve Fallen Off the Band Wagon and I can’t Get Up Part 3

Good Morning Everyone!
If you’re following along with this email series, you’ve decided whether or not you’re ready to make a change and are on your way to figuring out what your baseline is.

Now it’s time to start forming the wellness plan that will be best for you. There’s an immense amount of information out there that can both influence and motivate us. For example, we can be motivated by someone’s success, read their story and then want to duplicate what they did with hopes of achieving the same results. Or, we can watch the latest health documentary and be influenced by their passion and want to adopt their lifestyle. It’s not a bad thing to be influenced or motivated by external things because we can learn a lot about ourselves, what we value, what interests us, etc. However, there are 100’s of diets and bloggers out there expressing their opinion about what health and wellness looks like to them…it can be overwhelming to say the least with all the conflicting opinions!!

In an effort to make your exploration process a little easier, I wanted to give you a short list of questions that I hope will help you start to piece together the right plan for YOU!
Questions to ask yourself:
1. What kind of meal plan appeals to me the most and will help me reach my goal?
2. Is this plan suitable to address my needs?
3. Will I have time to properly prepare for this diet?
• Am I going to go grocery shopping and meal prep all my meals weekly?
o Try using a grocery shopping app to keep you organize:
o Try out curbside grocery pick up if your local grocer offers it. Check out for recipes and grocery lists that can be sent to your local grocery store for curbside
• Am I going to eat out for lunch every day and meal prep for the rest of my meals?
o Figure out what local restaurants would be a good choice for you and figure out if any modifications would need to be made ahead of time
• Am I going to use a meal delivery service?
o Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Factor 75, Plated, Green Chef
4. Is there anything about this diet I need to modify?
5. How can I prepare myself for special occasions?
• Check out this article I wrote for Thanksgiving preparation. You may find a few tricks that will work for you…and you will still be able to enjoy your special occasion :-).
Beware of:
1. Diets that promise quick weight loss or promote diet pills. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
2. Diets that exclude food groups. It’s ok to limit the amount of certain foods groups if your body responds positively to that limit but we all need macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) to live.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or want to talk through any part of your plan. Okay, now take a deep breath and enjoy the process. You’re worth it!!!!

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Meredith Mitchell


Success Story-Cecilia Williams

Success Story-Cecilia Williams

Good Morning Everyone!
I have an inspiring success story to share with you! Cecilia Williams is a Tenant Services Coordinator for our commercial team in Norfolk, Virginia. Since March 2017 she has lost 24lbs, lowered her cholesterol by 92 points and has earned 1,154 points in the McKinley Wellness Challenge!!! If you haven’t earned your first 100pts in the MWC to receive your $50 gift card, there’s still time!! See the attachment to learn how you can start earning points today!
I asked Cecilia if she would be willing to answer a few questions that I felt would be helpful to many of you or are either ready to change or contemplating it. Thank you, Cecilia, for sharing your journey with us!!

What prompted your desire to make a change? – I’ve been having issues with my cholesterol levels for approximately 10 years now. I was able to reduce it by 40 points back in 2012 when I worked out and changed my diet for 2 months. However, I was not consistent and it has spiked since then. After seeing my doctor this past March during my annual physical, he suggested I start taking medicine to try and lower my levels. I informed him I wanted to try and avoid taking meds for this issue and asked if I could try on my own. He agreed to give me 3 months and I did it!!! Having two kids to care for, I didn’t want to jeopardize my health any longer. I want to be strong for them both physically and mentally. This also gave me an opportunity to lose weight which has been a struggle for me since I had my son in 2008.

How did you decide what plan would work best for you? – In March I joined Planet Fitness to get more active. I was consistent for a month but was still struggling with my diet and exercise. I stumbled across a post on Facebook in May where one of my high school colleagues stated he was a personal trainer and I posted “I need a personal trainer!”. I started working out with him in June and have been consistent ever since. I knew I needed to stay active but I was also making better choices with my diet. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it at first and I’m still learning along the way, but I do know that positive progress today is better than no progress yesterday.

What did your wellness plan consist of? – Regular physical activity, incorporating more vegetables, eliminating fried foods, limiting red meats and pork and DETERMINATION!

What kind of support system did/do you have in place? – I utilize the Fitbit and MyFitnessPal app a lot and participate in challenges with friends and even strangers. My sister is on a weight loss/healthy journey with me as well and we typically hold each other accountable.

What kind of obstacles did you encounter? – Food! I love food, all kinds and I’m always whipping up something in the kitchen. It’s been hard eliminating certain foods from my diet, especially pasta, rice and red meat. Also finding the time to incorporate cardio outside of workouts with my trainer. I still don’t 100% have a grasp on both but will power plays a role in keeping me focused.

Do you have an example of a day where you just didn’t want to work out? How did you deal with that? – Unfortunately, I’ve had a few of those days. I’d say typically it occurs on a weekend when I want to get things done but by the time it rolls around I just want to be lazy after staying busy all week. Usually what I’ll do to get over this is, instead of doing 30 minutes to an hour all at once, I’ll do a little bit at a time throughout the day. For instance, if I’m watching a show on television, during commercials I’ll jog in place or do pushups, planks, squats etc. and then resume during the next commercial until I get at least 30 minutes in. That way I’m pulling myself out of a slump a little at a time versus doing nothing at all.

How did you overcome those obstacles? – Seeing physical changes and wanting to stay active especially with my children and reaching my goal weight keeps me going. Also, finding substitutions for certain foods that I love with healthier options.

What favorite foods have you found substitutions for? I love pasta, rice and bread. I started using whole wheat pasta, quinoa in place of white rice and whole grain bread in place of white bread. I’ve also used portabella mushroom caps as “bread” for breakfast sandwiches as well as turkey burgers that I make once in a while. I’ve started using egg whites instead of the entire egg as I found that over 100mg of cholesterol is in the yolk. I’ll use turkey bacon instead of pork bacon. Also if I desire cheese on something I’ll use low fat mozzarella instead of cheddar or other high fat cheeses.

What is your plan for maintaining? – Continuing to make better food choices and staying active.

What do you do to keep your routine exciting? – New moves and different recipes. My trainer helps keep things interesting by having me jump with weights, pulling on ropes and lifting things I never knew I could. My workouts are never boring and keep me challenged. I made some vegan/vegetarian recipes that I’ve never tried before, one of which were some amazing meatless “meatballs”! I’ve noticed switching things up keep me engaged and wanting to do more, so that’s my goal to keep it going.

What is the best piece of advice you could give someone who is contemplating making a change? – Don’t give up, never doubt yourself and remain positive even when encountering negativity along the way. It won’t be easy and you may even fail in between, just always remember to do more today than you did tomorrow. Also, think about participating in the McKinley Wellness Challenge. It really helped me because I am always up for friendly competition, even if it’s just against myself. I don’t like failing and I enjoy having tangible challenges that I can participate in. As much as I want to, I won’t always get active on my own and the wellness challenge was a way to hold myself accountable for what I have not accomplished. It helped get me moving again and motivated to making better choices. I appreciate the challenge and Meredith and Stefanie for offering the opportunities. I always look forward to see what’s coming next!

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Meredith Mitchell
Corporate Wellness Director

Help I’ve Fallen Off the Wellness Wagon and I can’t Get Up! Part 2

Help I’ve Fallen Off the Wellness Wagon and I can’t Get Up! Part 2

Hi Everybody!

You did it. You took the time to assess yourself by asking tough questions to decide if you’re ready to make a change. If you find yourself ready, but have no idea where to start, you’re in luck. Today’s email addresses what to do now!!

Step 1: Get a Baseline
AKA the current, internal-state of your body.
Sometimes the body isn’t getting enough of one category and sometimes it’s getting too much. Your body will react to different stressors in your life. One of the most efficient ways (beyond how you feel) to determine what areas or systems of the body that need the most help is by getting some bloodwork (lab work) done.

Basic lab work includes the assessment of:
• cholesterol levels
• blood sugar levels
• hormone levels
• vitamin &mineral levels
• other lab tests based upon family medical history-pending Physician’s Request

Note: If you’ve recently had bloodwork done (i.e. at your 2017 annual wellness physical or within the last year) check with your doctor to see if they think it’s a good idea to get an update. This January is a great time to ask about these tests since they can get incorporated into your annual wellness physical.

Okay, you and your doctor have looked at your current state. There are a few areas that could be addressed. Maybe, everything checks out well, but you still want to take even better care or your body.

Or… maybe you chose to hold off on the bloodwork, don’t worry! You will still be able to follow through with the next step.

Step 2: Food Journaling/Process of Elimination
Now we’ll address the change you want to make and how your diet can make a difference.

Goals some of you may be considering:
• Lowering your cholesterol
• Eating less sugar
• You’re excited to go Vegan because you saw “What the Health” and now you can’t imagine eating                beef or drinking milk ever again.
• You were up late last night and now you want to PIYO your way to a healthier you.

Regardless of your goals, you’ll still need to begin with a nice long look at what you’re feeding yourself. The easiest way to do this is by tracking your food with an app. There are several to choose from, but the one we’ve found to be the most user friendly is MyFitnessPal. You’ll be able to see the full breakdown of your macronutrients (fat, protein and carbohydrates), as well as, your micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and SUGAR).

Think of this information as your “nutritional blueprint”. You’ll see the areas that need improvement, be able to prioritize what you’re ready to change today and make a plan for the areas you are contemplating change.

When you eat something your body LOVES, you know it within seconds. However, it’s also important to identify the foods it disagrees with. You’ll know it when it bites back with unsavory symptoms—sometimes they are immediate and other instances take a little longer to identify.
Pay close attention to these types of feelings and reactions:
• Weight loss/gain
• Body composition
• Energy levels
o sluggish, tired, alert, focused
• Mood
o happy, sad, bored
•  Appetite
o loss or gain
• Sleep
o easy or hard to fall asleep
o stay asleep or wake often in the night
• Normal bodily functions
o specifically your digestive system

Here’s an example. If you feel miserable after eating dairy products, you may consider limiting them. If you don’t feel “right” on a low-carb diet after a while, you may need to try tweaking it by adding some healthy fats. Along the same line, some of us are trained to accept discomfort as being normal. Track how you feel in a journal for at least a week to spot any abnormalities in the way your body reacts to the foods you are consuming. This way you can start to eliminate foods that just don’t work for you.

Once you gather personal information from your experiences, make small, realistic tweaks instead of drastic changes. Introducing or eliminating too many things at once will simply muddle what’s working and what’s not.

Here are some examples of small changes:
• Decreasing how many times per week you eat fast food. Even if you drop that by 1 day per week                  you’ll begin to feel different!
• Drinking 8, 8-oz glasses of water each day. The average adult needs at least 64 oz. of water each day.
• If you drink 3+ sodas a day, start by cutting back to 2 a day until you’re motivated to cut it out                     completely.
• If you’re trying to incorporate more healthy fats into your diet, start by cooking with olive oil or by             adding an avocado to your lunch or dinner.

Next…take a moment to breathe! If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, know that it’s okay. This part of the process goes step-by-step. We fully recognize how mass amounts of information is flung at you left & right and is continuously happening in many areas of your life.

In the next part of this email series we will address and help you navigate you’re way through the different types of health information that surrounds us via television, social media, work emails (although these are some of the best bits of info…hehehe), through conversations with peers, etc. Stay tuned!!

As always, Meredith and I are here for support!

Stefanie (Lembovski) Welch

Help I’ve Fallen Off the Wellness Wagon and I can’t Get Up!!!

Help I’ve Fallen Off the Wellness Wagon and I can’t Get Up!!!

Hi Everyone!!!!

Have you ever “fallen off the wellness wagon” and had great intentions about getting back “on” but simply didn’t want to…so you didn’t? Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all the different diet and lifestyle plans that are available? Making a positive lifestyle/behavioral change that LASTS is a challenge for us all and if you’ve answered yes to either one of these, I think you’ll find this email series very helpful.

This series is going to be a guide to help you figure out if you’re ready to make a change and how to navigate your way through a magnitude of information to figure out the best lifestyle/diet plan for YOU! We’re all incredibly unique in the way our bodies respond to food and the way our minds react to the obstacles that try to roll us off the “wellness wagon”.

To help prepare you to make a behavioral change, there are a few questions I want to encourage you to ask yourself. Let’s get started!

1. What would you like to see change about your current lifestyle today? (below are a few examples)
• I want to sleep better at night
• I want to lower my cholesterol
• I want to start running
• I want to eat more vegetables
• I want to eat more healthy fats
• I want to learn how to cook healthier dinners

2. What excites you when you think about possibly making this change in your life?
3. If you started taking steps today towards making a change, what would your life look like in 3 months?
4. What motivator is important enough to you to help you make this change?
5. What is holding you back or standing in your way (obstacles) from making this change?
6. What are you ABLE to do to overcome these obstacles?
7. What are you WILLING to do to overcome these obstacles?
8. What would it take for you to be ready to make a change?

If lasting change is what you are seeking, take all the time you need to answer these questions sincerely and whole heartedly. Your answers will help you truly understand if you are ready and if you have a strong enough motivator.

Thankfully, people around you will encourage you to keep going, but you are the only one who can control the changes you want to make in your life. These choices are for you. Day after day you will be the one to choose to honor your body and the changes you want to make. Through the good, the bad and the ugly.

As always feel free to reach out to me or Stefanie for support. In the next email we will start talking about what your next step is .

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Meredith Mitchell
Corporate Wellness Director

Protein in Veggies…TRUE STORY!!!

Protein in Veggies…TRUE STORY!!!

Good Afternoon Everybody,

Vegetables and fruits are well known for providing a variety of natural occurring micronutrients (antioxidants, vitamins & minerals). Very rarely do we consider fruits & vegetables as good sources of protein…and we are missing out!

Below is a list of fruits and vegetables that offer a hefty punch of protein!


Sprouted Beans, Peas & Lentils (Soybean Sprouts)
Protein in 100g Per 1/2 cup (35g) Protein to Calorie Ratio
13.1g        4.6g        1g protein per 9.3 calories

Lima Beans (Cooked)
Protein in 100g Per cup (170g) Protein to Calorie Ratio
6.8g 11.6g 1g protein per 18.1 calories

Peas (Green)
Protein in 100g Per cup (145g) Protein to Calorie Ratio
5.4g 7.9g 1g protein per 15 calories

Succotash (Corn And Limas, cooked)
Protein in 100g Per cup (192g) Protein to Calorie Ratio
5.1g 9.7g 1g protein per 22.5 calories

Mushrooms (White, cooked)
Protein in 100g Per cup, sliced (108g) Protein to Calorie Ratio
3.6g 3.9g 1g protein per 7.2 calories

Mange Tout (Edible-Podded Peas, cooked)
Protein in 100g Per cup (160g) Protein to Calorie Ratio
3.5g 5.6g 1g protein per 14.9 calories

Sweet Corn (Yellow)
Protein in 100g Per cup (145g) Protein to Calorie Ratio
3.3g 4.7g 1g protein per 26 calories

Artichokes (Globe or French)
Protein in 100g Per artichoke (128g) Protein to Calorie Ratio
3.3g 4.2g 1g protein per 14.2 calories

Spinach (Cooked)
Protein in 100g Per cup (180g) Protein to Calorie Ratio
3g 5.3g 1g protein per 7.7 calories

Protein in 100g 1 cup chopped (91g) Protein to Calorie Ratio
2.8g 2.6g 1g protein per 12.1 calories

Beet Greens (Cooked)
Protein in 100g Per cup (144g) Protein to Calorie Ratio
2.6g 3.7g 1g protein per 10.4 calories

Brussels Sprouts (Cooked)
Protein in 100g Per 1/2 cup (78g) Protein to Calorie Ratio
2.6g 2g 1g protein per 13.8 calories

Bamboo Shoots
Protein in 100g Per cup (151g) Protein to Calorie Ratio
2.6g 3.9g 1g protein per 10.4 calories

Squash (Hubbard, cooked)
Protein in 100g Per cup, cubes (205g) Protein to Calorie Ratio
2.5g 5.1g 1g protein per 20 calories

Asparagus (Cooked)
Protein in 100g Per 1/2 cup (90g) Protein to Calorie Ratio
2.4g 2.2g 1g protein per 9.2 calories

Sugar Snap Peas (Green, cooked)
Protein in 100g Per cup, pieces (116g) Protein to Calorie Ratio
2.3g 2.7g 1g protein per 17 calories

Protein in 100g 1 cup chopped (107g) Protein to Calorie Ratio
1.9g 2.1g 1g protein per 13.2 calories

Pak-Choi (Chinese Cabbage, cooked)
Protein in 100g Per cup (170g) Protein to Calorie Ratio
1.6g 2.7g 1g protein per 7.5 calories

Click this link for further nutritional information.


Passion Fruit
Protein in 100g Per cup (236g) Protein to Calorie Ratio
2.2g 5.2g 1g protein per 44 calories

Protein in 100g Per fruit (282g) Protein to Calorie Ratio
1.7g 4.7g 1g protein per 49 calories

Protein in 100g Per avocado (201g) Protein to Calorie Ratio
2g 4g 1g protein per 80 calories

Have a great weekend!

Healthy Mind-Healthy Life

Healthy Mind-Healthy Life

We all have daily routines: personal hygiene, bed time, morning, eating plans and/or exercise that we follow…how many of you have an emotional hygiene routine?  It might be an odd thing to ask, but take a minute to think about it.  These routines are set in place to help keep us alive and healthy, right?  Creating an emotional hygiene routine is equally important (if not more) because our state of mind determines how we respond to conflict, obstacles, losses, how we treat loved ones and friends and how we are going to react to life in general.

Below are some resources and guidelines you can use to help create your own emotional hygiene routine.


  1. Decide what the best way is for you to process your thoughts and emotions (good or bad):
    • Talk to someone.
    • Write thoughts down in a journal
    • Go for a walk to process things on your own
    • Crafting
    • Doing mechanical work
    • Meditation
  1. Decide how often:
    • When you’re deciding this, remember, you’re creating this routine to help you build an emotionally healthy mind so you are prepared to deal with the challenges life brings.
    • I would recommend taking a break 5min daily for this routine
  2. Decide what time of the day:
    • In the morning before you start your day and your electronics take over your life 12
    • Mid-day
    • At the end of the day right before bed
    • ***When you’re deciding this, figure out what time of day is easiest for you to slow your thoughts down***