A healthy lesson I’d like to share from my youth is never strive for perfection.
I recall my inspiration for perfection in vivid detail. It was the Summer of 1976 in Brooklyn, NY.
I sat on the bright red carpet of my parent’s living room staring transfixed at the TV screen at
someone I then thought was perfect. Nadia Elena Comaneci, one of the best-known Romanian
gymnasts in the world, was awarded a perfect score of 10 in an Olympic Gymnast event. She began
gymnastics in kindergarten. Kindergarten. Talk about getting a flexible leg up on the competition.
She was the first gymnast to perform a double back salto and a double-twist dismount, not to mention
the first ever to successfully perform an aerial cartwheel-back handspring flight series and aerial
walkover. If you don’t know what that means, doesn’t matter. She did it perfectly is all you ever
need to know.
On July 18, 1976 at the Summer Olympics in Montreal, Nadia’s routine on the uneven bars was
scored at 10.0. It was the first time in modern Olympic gymnastics history that the score had
ever been awarded. The scoreboards were not even equipped to display scores of 10.0, so her
perfect marks were flashed at 1.00 instead. The applause from the crowd was triumphant.
She would go on to win six additional 10s from the floor exercise, bars titles and all-around
In case anyone missed it — ABC’s television program, World Wide of Sports replayed
constant s-l-o-w motion montages of Nadia. In March 1976, she competed in the American
Cup at Madison Square Garden in New York City. She received unprecedented perfect
scores of 10, which signified a perfect routine without any deductions, on a vault in both
the preliminary and final rounds of competition and won the all-around. She also received
10s in other meets in 1976, where she posted perfect marks on the uneven bars and vault.
She was named the United Press International’s “Female Athlete of the Year” for 1975.
She was the 1976 BBC Sports Personality of the Year and the Associated Press’s 1976
“Female Athlete of the Year”. The New York Times headline the next day read:
Gymnast Posts Perfect Marks.
But the headline that would leave the most indelible mark in the mind of this twelve-year-old
was on the August 2, 1976 cover of TIME Magazine. Two words:
There was a lot going on in the world in 1976. I was a newshound, so I followed it all.
Lots of stuff I couldn’t control. For starters, in NYC, the “Son of Sam” pulled a gun from
a paper bag, killing one person and seriously wounding another one. It would be the
first of a series of attacks that would terrorize the city for the next year. Every night,
my Dad brought home the New York Post with progressively worse covers that
terrified us. That year, the NJ Supreme Court also removed coma patient,
Karen Ann Quinlin from her ventilator. She died. The first known outbreak of the
Ebola virus happened in Yambuku, Zaire. I was busy researching that too.
It wasn’t all bad news. It was the Bicentennial, so we were all obsessed with
red, white and blue and all things patriotic. That was fun. Steve Jobs and
Steve Wozniak formed Apple computer. Exciting. The song,
Hotel California was released by the Eagles. We were also introduced to
Casey Kasem’s Countdown. Music was a welcome relief to all the scary stuff,
so I was dancing to things like Kung Fu Fighting and Shake, Shake, Shake.
I listened to the music while exercising like a maniac indoors. I couldn’t go
out anyway because the “Son of Sam” might get me. He was after brunettes.
This worked for my desire to practice every day, so I could be perfect –just
like Nadia. I couldn’t control scary news events, but I could control me.
It’s no surprise I made cheerleading after they saw my perfect chinese split.
Afterall, when I wasn’t at school, I was religiously doing my gymnastic routines.
I wanted to be perfect. It would take decades for me to undo the damage
those two words left on my brain. Years to learn perfect is the evil of good.
I had to unlearn in order to learn to strive to be healthy, as there is no way to
be perfect AND healthy. Every young gymnast, even Nadia, would later reveal
that obtaining and maintaining that physique led to unhealthy eating habits,
which were detrimental to her health. I didn’t know that then, so I was dieting
to look like her. Parents think kids who are skinny are naturally skinny, so
it doesn’t often raise a red flag. It should. Today, I see young girls who
are way too young to be body conscious, but they’re admiring celebs they
see in magazines that we later learn are airbrushed. No young girl
or boy should ever be dieting unless it’s under a physician’s care.
Even in business, perfectionism isn’t good. One of my mentors taught me to
“let it go” and not wait for things to be perfect to do. Again, perfect is the evil of
good because if you wait for things to be perfect, you’ll miss opportunities.
And things will never be perfect. If you think in your mind that one thing
or one person is holding you back, well it will be replaced with something or
someone else. Don’t wait for circumstances to be perfect or for anything
to be perfect. Life is unpredictable.
If it’s good –it’s good to go.
Back to Nadia. Today, she is a strong advocate on healthy eating.
Young boys and girls are still exposed to unhealthy images of what their
bodies should look like and it’s detrimental to their health to try to attain that
look. There is no diet in the world that will do for you what good nutrition and daily
healthy habits will do.
Daily healthy habits include eating nutritious meals and snacks, drinking lots of water,
getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night, taking vitamins, getting fresh air and sunlight,
and exercising an hour each day (some experts say 45 min. is good enough, even if
it’s walking). Anything extreme is bad. You are more likely to stick with habits for the
longterm if they do not exhaust you. Your goal should always be living a healthy lifestyle,
rather than reaching a certain weight. I do not own a scale. When I was trying to be
Nadia, I must have weighed myself every hour. Daily healthy habits enable you
to be fit in mind, body and spirit. I also learned to avoid all magazines, books or
TV programs that encourage dieting or have any unhealthy images in them.
And if I should ever grace the cover of a magazine, I want the headline to be these two words:
p.s. I couldn’t get text or pics to align perfectly tonight, but I’m happily letting that go.
Today, I’m talking to Jeanette Chen. I absolutely love her blog called, Jeanette’s Healthy Living. That said, I’m excited Jeanette is joining Healthy Within Network (HWN) as our resident food expert. Her blog is my pick for the Hottest Healthy Recipes Blog.
Be sure to check it out for simple, yet amazing recipes that appeal to all your senses. If you stock your pantry with the right healthy foods, you can whip them together in a jiffy. Here’s a little background on how she got started:
Prior to becoming a Healthy Living Blogger, Jeanette worked in corporate finance at GE for 15 years. But after having children, she found herself not only caring for her kids, but her husband’s ailing parents. That’s when she switched from the Board Room at the office to the cutting board in the kitchen. While caretaking family members, she noticed what a huge role nutrition plays on how they felt each day. So, she began testing different healthy dishes and loved creating ones that were nutritious.
People began raving about her healthy recipes telling her she should blog, so she gave it a whirl. Like me, she was a reluctant blogger. Four years ago, Stephen Meade told me to start blogging. I looked at him like he told me to extract a tooth. He said I was the Arianna Huffington of Health. I replied, Yeah OK. I can’t do anything unless I feel it. Like a calling. Finally, six months ago, I felt like blogging. Fast forward. Two corporations contacted me about working together the first week my blog went up. I love building HealthPo. And Jeanette just won the award for TOP FOODIE MOM 2012.
WHAT OR WHO INSPIRED YOU TO BEGIN YOUR BLOG?
My husband, Michael, who is my college sweetheart that I’ve been married to for 25 years, encouraged me to start my blog. The inspiration behind Jeanette’s Healthy Living have been all the people I have been cooking for over the years, including friends with cancer, my father-in-law who had Parkinson’s disease and lived with our family for 8 years, and my youngest son who has food allergies. While I’ve always loved cooking, out of these experiences I developed a passion for cooking that is health-focused while never compromising on the need to be full of flavor.
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM READING YOUR HEALTHY RECIPES BLOG?
My blog includes not only healthy recipes, but also stories about how I’ve gotten my kids to try new foods, some of the challenges I faced when we first discovered my youngest son had food allergies, and my experience cooking for friends with cancer. My goal is to inspire people to eat healthier by realizing that eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on flavor, with the hope of helping to prevent illness and disease. My blog has lots of healthy family friendly recipes, allergy-free recipes (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free), and recipes I’ve made for friends with cancer.
CAN YOU SHARE 3 EASY HEALTHY RECIPES ANYONE CAN PREPARE AT HOME?
1. Roasted Corn, Avocado and Black Bean Salsa (
2. Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta (
3. Crockpot Turkey Bolognese Sauce (
HOW CAN PEOPLE CREATE A HEALTHY PANTRY AT HOME?
Creating a healthy pantry can be daunting at first, so you can either do it little by little, or in one fell swoop. Here are a few tips:
Each month, we’ll feature another great recipe or article from Top Foodie Mom, Jeanette Chen. If you are looking for easy healthy recipes while you or your kids are poolside or at the beach, be sure to check in. A Top Nutritionist from The Cleveland Clinic will also be on hand to review the recommendations. Stay tuned! And stay healthy!
Be Sure to Follow Jeanette Chen’s incredible award-winning Blog:
The family that cooks healthy together stays healthy together. Check out Jeanette’s son, Alex as he shows you how to make a healthy popsicle that is also a good treat for chemotherapy patients:
Richard Renda Totally Cool – but don’t make “Yourself” the only thing that matters. throwing in an extra 2 cents !!!! always loved this quote. “a penny for the Truth, 2 cents for a heart.” ok there’s my 2 cents : )))
Maria DorfnerYou’re welcome, Robert. Richard, I agree with your two ♥ cents. It’s simply another version of the Oxygen Mask adage, which a smart person recently shared with me. It’s if there’s an emergency on an airplane and you’re travelling with kids, put your own oxygen mask on first. Why? Because if you pass out, you are in no position to help anyone else survive. It applies on the ground as well. You’ll be of little to no use to the people who depend upon you if you don’t take care of yourself first. The title should actually read: Be good to you, so you can be good to others! ♥
“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax.” ~Abraham Lincoln
by Guest Author, ARMEN
If you ask someone who is progressing forward with their passion about the time period when they started achieving results, they will likely be able to tell you about the day they started, and how that was the branch-off point where they started to see possibilities. This point in time has a few characteristics about it that make it something you want to reach for now as opposed to later. I have labeled this the “Day One” of the process, and discuss here why you want to cause this day to arrive for your future self’s appreciation.
Use Every Entrepreneur’s Hindsight As Your Foresight
Until you start on your passion(including failing and making errors), you will not have your Day One. Your Day One is the day you will remember as the first day you finally started towards your goal. You will always wish this day had happened before it did. If you haven’t hit it yet, you can see the urgency it presents. In a way, you are using the hindsight of others’ experiences for your own foresight here. You have often heard people say “I wish I had started sooner”, speaking about anything they enjoy doing in the long-term. Your current “now” will be that “sooner” if you take in mind the following points:
Time Isn’t Your Issue
1. Realize that time has no effect on you. You are not going to have more of a chance to create material later on. The right people won’t magically show up to help you out, since if you don’t show them your steps toward your interest, they will have no idea that you could use help. If you don’t have enough interest to do it now, you probably won’t have that interest later, since our personalities are fairly fixed in place.
Researching Ideas Sounds Beneficial, But Isn’t Too Useful
2. Quit researching about methods for the activity until you have already started the activity, or at least stay out of the “ideas” phase where loads of ideas are in mind but none of them are being acted upon. A member of a law firm who wants to branch out and create a new office in another county 40 miles away would do better to drive to the other county to assess it as a home for the new business, instead of having the idea of going there stuck in his head for 3 months, with uncertainty in place. 10 minutes of action is worth countless minutes of idea processing.
The lawyer who actually drives to the other county and judges a certain location as suitable or not for a new office would remember that day as the day he found his future office location. Hindsight would later tell him he would have more business in his new office if he had went physically searching for it earlier.
Waiting For Support From Others Is The Longest Wait You Can Imagine
3. People are not going to support you until you do the heavy lifting. Your Day One won’t arrive until you assume the main portion of the efforts for it. If you are waiting for another person or group of people to get to a point where they want to help you or team up with you to create the way to work on your interest, your Day 1 won’t arrive. I read somewhere that the way it works is that you put out 100% of your effort amount, and other people respond in assistance with less than 100%. You don’t get back effort equally, but that is good because the creation then remains in your control.
Time Spent In The Inactive Idea Phase Is Mostly Lost
Abraham Lincoln said “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax.” Although this quote is about how preparation can lead you to be far more productive in the long-term, notice that he said he would spend the six hours of preparation sharpening his ax, as opposed to planning how he would chop down the tree or thinking of ideas about other ways to do so. The six hours of preparation was active preparation, similar to going door-to-door to find clients, e-mailing current companies in a field and asking what is missing, reading a current ecology book to get a sense of what information you need to write your own, etc. The key point is to get out of the ideas phase and on to testing ideas with other people and making an imprint on your environment, online or offline.
[Link to SharkTank & how to be on the show:
ABC-TV is safe. Mark Cuban is safe. And so is Mr. Quiggly.
A start-up for those of you in Staten Island, is a business or undertaking that has recently begun operation. Let me use it in a sentence. Healthy Within Network grew from a tiny start-up to a multibillion-dollar corporation.
Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have. ~Winston Churchill
A Healthy Start-Up is one that has founders that make their mental, physical and spiritual health a priority. They know that if they are unhealthy, it infects the rest of their team and their company. The same is true if they are healthy. People emulate those they admire. If you’re a leader — you have the ability to influence others. Influence them towards daily healthy habits. Neglect your health. Neglect your company. Great leaders have already learned this valuable lesson.
Lead your team towards healthy habits. Build a healthy company.
Successful companies are built with healthy founders. I wish I had gotten to interview Steve Jobs, who created an atmosphere conducive to his own creativity and inner well-being. You might say then why did we lose him to cancer. I believe we would have lost him a whole lot sooner had he not been so centered.
I believe Entrepreneurs need to think of their HEALTH as a BANK ACCOUNT.
Benefit later. Health is Your Greatest Wealth. Talk to any old rich person to confirm.
Here are 5 things you are sure to experience when working on a start-up. I mention them because they may affect your health. Later, I’ll address each one.
1. You will be excited. New start-up. Woo-hoo!2. You will get too busy to prepare meals.3. You will be exposed to information overload.4. You will get bummed out.5. You will get tired.
The good news is every day YOU get to decide which one you’ll do. Each item comes with either a deposit into your Health Savings Account or a withdrawal. You want to aim to make DEPOSITS into what I call a HEALTHY START-UP ACCOUNT.
1. You will be excited.
You are running on adrenaline. Your business plan is almost done. Your dream team is in place. You’re meeting with potential investors. Exciting. So exciting that you can’t sleep. Can’t sleep withdraws from your account.
SLEEP is a DEPOSIT. Repeat that with me. Sleep is a deposit into your Healthy Start-Up Account.
Here is some advice from sleep specialists Dr. Kingman Strohl of University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Dr. Joe Golish of MetroHealth Medical Center, and Dr. Douglas Moul of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation:
Go to sleep an hour ahead of time. Same time. Every night.
Don’t just jump into bed — start your sleep ritual an hour or two ahead of time. And, this is crucial: Try to go to bed at the same time every single day. Discern what the best time for you is and go for that, consistently. Don’t tough your way through your sleepy hours and chance getting a second wind.
Avoid all stimulants.
• That means caffeine in any form (it’s OK to drink some in the morning, but not cup after cup after cup), watching TV, working out, doing anything online (the blue light given off by TV and computers have shown to be disruptive to the pre-sleep cycle), arguing with a family member. Consciously cultivate peacefulness before bedtime. No alcohol before bedtime either (if you fall asleep, you’ll likely wake up again in a few hours).
• Let go of anxiety about going to sleep, and of worrisome thoughts. This isn’t easy, and it takes practice. “You can’t change the world,” Strohl says. “Remember that!” It’s okay to read an enjoyable, but not too stimulating book, which can take your mind off worries.
Lavender is surprisingly effective.
• Good sleep habits are imperative, says Strohl. It’s important to remember that everyone has insomnia at some point and hardly anyone falls asleep right away. We really shouldn’t, because it takes awhile for our bodies and brains to wind down. In fact, says Strohl, “If you are falling asleep within five minutes of your head hitting the pillow, then you are sleep-deprived.”
Cool, dark room with lavender mist.
Do things to create a supportive sleep environment: Make your room cool and dark, don’t have a TV or computer in it, spray a lavender mist on your pillow (it is supposed to be surprisingly effective for promoting drowsiness). If you still can’t fall asleep, get out of bed and read for a while in a chair or in another room. When you get sleepy again, get back into bed. This way you won’t associate your bed with your inability to sleep.
What about herbs and supplements?
• Some people use melatonin, a dietary supplement available over the counter, to help them sleep. But be careful: the strength of it varies because the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate dietary supplements. Your doctor, however, can prescribe a melatoninlike drug (Rozerem orthe generic ramelteon, a melatonin receptor) as an alternative. Some people say valerian, another herb, works for them, but doctors say studies have shown that might just be a placebo effect.
What about prescriptions?
• Try reconditioning your brain. If you are taking a prescription sleep aidand want to stop, start taking it with a glass of warm milk, Strohl says. Tell your brain the milk is making you sleepy. Then, after a week or two, just drink the milk. Your brain is highly suggestible, so this will work — you will establish the thought that milk is what makes you sleepy.
• If you decide to stop taking your prescription sleep medication, it’s best to do it on a weekend or when you have a couple of days off. You will toss and turn for a few nights, but, doctors say, your body will adjust. You have to be patient and give it a few days.
What about coffee during the day?
If you’re tired during the day as a result, beware of compensating with caffeine. As doctors point out, a regular cup of the coffee that we drink today (and it’s usually not a cup if you measure it out, but two or three) has twice as much caffeine as it used to. The same goes for energy drinks or caffeinated soft drinks. They will affect your ability to sleep.
As I agree with staying away from coffee, Mike Arrington is recommending which coffee maker to use. A Tech Guy’s Version of the Perfect Cup of Coffee. I kid you not.
I find it funny because I realize getting coffee away from people in Silicon Valley, NYC or any Urban Jungle is like getting shoes away from Imelda Marcos.
It’s not going to be easy.
If it would completely stress you out to quit your coffee addiction right now, try taking breaks. Try white tea (15mg caffeine) vs. coffee (120 mg caffeine). You’re screaming that you WANT the caffeine. See, that’s the caffeine screaming. It’s not you.
Back to sleep. Create a dark area at room temperature (not too hot, not too cold) with a fan or quiet music (no gadgets!). Remember, you are excited and may be running off of adrenaline. But the same adrenaline will zap your energy and exhaust you if you don’t regulate your daily sleep. Set a regular time for turning in and try to get away from technology and relax your mind beforehand. Step outside, stretch, breathe.
2. You will be too busy to eat right.
BREAKFAST, LUNCH and DINNER are DEPOSITS. Spending time OUTDOORS is a DEPOSIT. Combine them whenever you can.
Remember that when you wake up ready to go to work exclaiming you’re not hungry and just and just want coffee. I’m a big fan of protein in the morning. Protein contains tyrosine, a amino acid that elevates the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine. It makes you feel full too, so you don’t overeat. Protein keeps your metabolism steady. Two eggs in the morning. Almonds mid-morning before lunch rolls around prevents a rollercoaster highs and lows. If you can can outside –the fresh air will do you go. In fact, whenever you have a meeting –if you can have it outdoors –all the better.
3. You will be on information overload.
MEDITATION is a DEPOSIT.
Emails, Meetings, Conferences, Phone, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, Trade Magazines, Trade Shows, etc. can drain you mentally.
Computers can be illusions. You won’t recognize when your inbox or online activity really looks like THIS. But you’ll feel it. Before computers, we could visually see when we were “swamped.” Now, it’s hidden. You still need to clean, delete and declutter.
It’s important to take breaks from technology. Set technical boundaries. Give yourself at least an hour each day when you are away from all electronic devices.
Whenever you stop to check in with the real you without devices —it re-energizes you. Just 3-minutes of meditating will make you more alert. I recommend doing so first thing in the morning when you wake and again at noon and 3 p.m. These mini-meditation breaks will energize you and keep you focused. Place an image on your desk like pretty flowers that you can smile at and deep breathe. Breathe 10 seconds (count to 10 slowly) inhale and 10 seconds exhale.
Science and technology reporter, Daniel Sieberg wrote a book called, “The Digital Diet” I recommend. His 4-step plan to help you regain control, focus, and true connection in your life are as follows (but pick up the book for details):
Step 1//Re: Think:
Consider how technology has overwhelmed our society and the effect it’s had on your physical, mental, and emotional health.
Step 2//Re: Boot:
Take stock of your digital intake using Sieberg’s Virtual Weight Index and step back from the device.
Step 3//Re: Connect:
Focus on restoring the relationships that have been harmed by the technology in your life.
Step 4//Re: Vitalize:
Learn how to live with technology—the healthy way, by optimizing your time spent e-mailing, texting, on Facebook, and web surfing in this book.
4. You will get bummed out. Meetings will get cancelled. Things may not move as quickly as you’d like. Frustrations at limited resources to compete will happen. You will get bummed out. That is why it’s so important for you to stay in top mental, physical and spiritual form. You will be resilient and better able to overcome challenges when you are healthy.
On a daily basis, projects can pile on stress. Get up every 15 minutes and stretch or walk around. Exercise. Break it up into 15 minutes of activity if you can’t break away for longer. Walk. Run. Climb stairs. Breathe deeply. Repeat. Take breaks to get outside as often as you can during the day. It’s also a good idea to be centered. Centered people do not react. When something happens outside of them –they can reflect on it. Anyone who reacts immediately in a highly emotional state isn’t centered. No good decision is ever made out of anger. Remember that. If you are going to run a company –your ability to remain calm and make good decisions is a must. It sounds odd, but you actually have to practice being calm. Test it out with family members. When someone says something that pushes your buttons –practice not reacting. Breathe.
Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity. John F. Kennedy
5. You will get tired. – Start back at #1.
In summary, don’t be one of those founders that brags and boats about not getting any sleep or living on coffee. It sends the wrong message to your team. Be a healthy example. Surround yourself with a healthy team. Build a healthy company or companies.
Consider this advice (some is the same) from local CEOs, published in SMART CEO Magazine.
Meditate: You don’t have to be a monk,
but ﬁ nd that one activity that can
always relax you to re-center your mind.
Make it a plan: Schedule your activities
like you would schedule a meeting –
and don’t skip it. Personal time is just
as important as business time.
events and nonproﬁ t organizations
provides a great opportunity for teambuilding and giving back.
Deﬁne your goals: What do you want to
accomplish? Deﬁ ne it, and chase after
it. You’ll be more likely to succeed if you
have a vision.
It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.
Healthy discontent is the prelude to progress.
Business is never so healthy as when, like a chicken, it must do a certain amount of scratching around for what it gets.
I recommend a copy of Mark Cuban’s book. In one day, the slim under-100-page book, titled “How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It,” soared to the top of the bestseller charts at the big online book-buying sites, with particularly strong sales onAmazon, iTunes and Barnes & Noble.
Here’s an excerpt from Mark Cuban’s book:
For More Information on Mark Cuban and Mr. Quiggley’s red matching Skechers, please visit:
- Turn ON The 7 Habits of Highly Healthy People by Maria Dorfner (mariadorfner.wordpress.com)