Small changes on a path to improvement.
Recently, someone asked what I’ve been doing to stay in shape. I didn’t think I had changed anything, but as I thought more about it, I realized there are small changes that have turned into habits without me even realizing it.
During the start of the pandemic, my neighbor would invite me on walks in the neighborhood every day. The fellowship from visiting with her has been even better than the physical benefits, and I found myself looking forward to the walks and started taking virtual meetings and calls while walking whenever possible.
Then, I bought a bike. I decided to make #bikingmayor real and not just a hashtag. I bought my bike in June, the night before a community bike ride. My first ride was 10 miles, and I haven’t looked back. #JCMO is the perfect place to ride!
I must give credit to Dr. Link, who encouraged me to get a Fitbit years ago. I resisted, because who cares how many steps I take, right? I’m a busy mayor trying to run this city, not a track runner. Turns out, he knows what he’s talking about. He included some advice on eating well to be well. My grocery list went from Pop-Tarts to things like berries, nuts, and fewer processed foods. Spinach is always on my list, but one of my other favorites is oatmeal with apples, bananas, and pumpkin seeds. I’ve also recently discovered using plain Greek yogurt as a sour cream replacement for any meal. When it comes to sweets, my favorite treats are Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread with strawberries and blueberries. Of course, I still love my Central Dairy mint chocolate chip!
I also credit my healthy eating to Irene’s drive-thru kitchen. The mother of the mayor makes most of my meals, so I’m lucky to still get the best home cooking, including delicious Greek dishes. When I eat out, I enjoy salads and fish, but I’m also hooked on the Love2Nourish smoothie bowls — including beets! I drink mostly water and will occasionally heat up a chai latte. I may look healthy, but I have high blood pressure, which I take medication to control. I watch my cholesterol and make sure my triglycerides are good. I’m thankful for great doctors who take great care of me so I can take care of the city. Please see your doctor regularly and get your annual screenings. I’ve recently started seeing Dr. Jennifer Su and looking at the importance of women’s health, which we don’t talk enough about publicly.
I’m a work in progress — trying to pay attention, have awareness, be mindful of food, exercise, and be active. I have a love for yoga, but it had gotten away from me during the pandemic. There are many great places to do yoga, and I plan to do more. I also love taking group fitness classes at Studio573. I took my first spin cycling class there and loved it. Barre is fun, and it’s a different kind of bar from what you may be thinking of. It’s still a place to gather with friends with loud music and fun. It just includes exercises with a bar for balance. Be open to trying new and exciting things. Move, walk, take the stairs — Do what makes you happy!
Happy and healthy are things I strive for. It’s not easy, given the challenges that face a busy mayor’s lifestyle, but I make time for the things I enjoy. For me, it’s listening to music and painting more. Of course, I walk, bike, or swim when possible, and I spend time with family and friends.
One of my downfalls is that I may skimp on my sleep in order to finish tasks and paperwork late into the night and have early morning meetings, but I am still trying to be more healthy. In order to lead this city effectively, I have to be. I can’t do it alone, and while I’ve shared my favorite healthy tips, I look forward to hearing yours. We can start by taking a walk or biking across the new Bicentennial Bridge. Tell me all about it!