skip to main content

Putting a Healthy You First

Woman in athletic clothes doing yoga pose on purple yoga mat

A new year brings health to the forefront, the most central of our goals.

ATHENA Leadership Foundation of St. Charles County’s program “Putting a Healthy You First” provided a great program toward the goal of health, Friday, January 19, 2018.  ATHENA members and community guests convened at the Community Council, the beautiful conference center of the Spencer Road Branch of the St. Charles City-County Library.

This interactive program started with a healthy lunch provided by the #communitystrong initiative of Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital Foundation.   Along with Health Risk Assessment screenings provided by six wonderful nurses of Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital and Progress West, there was also on-hand information that attendees could pick up and review in more detail later like the importance of “Know Your Numbers” Cholesterol, Blood Sugar, Body Weight, Body Mass Index, Blood Pressure, etc.

Kristin Williams, Director of The St. Peters Hospital Foundation and Vice President of Athena, emceed the event.  Three informative presenters also inspired the group with calls to action:

  1. Joy Ward, Dietitian, Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital
  2. Kelly Pettis, Recreation Leader Fitness/General Recreation Programs, Rec-Plex, and
  3. Gayle Rose, Certified Whole Healthy Coach/Fitness Trainer, and Certified Weight Management Specialist with her company WhyPowered.

Joy Ward spoke on how eating well can lower your risk of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke and cancer.  Take control of your health by making minor adjustments to your eating habits.  She provided in detail and a handout of the following concepts:

  1. Eat more plants
  2. Instead, drink water
  3. Avoid added salt and sugar
  4. Choose healthy fats, and
  5. Be wary of label claims, know how to read the labels. Ideal foods contain: <3gm Total Fat. 0gm Trans Fat. <250mg Sodium. >2gm Fiber. 0gm Added Sugar.  Crucial is reading the list of ingredients and being able to readily identify natural foods, rather than chemicals or processed foods.

Kelly Pettis addressed New Year Resolutions from analyzing core reasons for those goals.  She recommended creating a “Inspiration Board” to frame the goals, keeping a journal to keep track progress and taking small steps which can make bigger goals more attainable over time.  A resource Kelly recommends is by Holly Rilinger, “Lifted: 28 Days to Focus Your Mind, Strengthen Your Body, and Elevate Your Spirit.”

Gayle Rose intrigued us with the “Whole Health-Healthy Weight Fundamentals, Stress Management, Exercise, and Nutrition.”  Healthy Weight Fundamentals can be control portions, focus on whole foods, purge your pantry, focus on water, exercise regularly, avoid simple carbs, avoid extremes, keep regular sleep patterns, and proactively manage stress.  Stress Taming Tools is to eat mostly whole unprocessed food, sleep 7-8 hours each night, take naps, make time for daily exercise and fun, practice mediation and yoga, regularly unplug electronics, connect with nature, art, music, and friends, set and maintain boundaries, adopt a daily gratitude practice.

Gayle’s most common question is “What is the Best diet for sustainable weight loss?”  Her answer is a diet you can follow long term.  A way of eating that is balanced and helps you feel well and doesn’t leave you feeling deprived.  One that is whole food/plant-focused.  The two diets that most closely fits this way of health are Mediterranean and DASH.  They are proven to be most successful long-term.  To learn more information from Gayle, attend one of her free wellness talks listed on the events page of her website at  Invite Gayle to do a lunch and learn in the workplace or congregation or an affinity group as possible entry to forming a whole health coaching group for making wellness improvements together.  More information at her website at and here for communities:

In our dedication to family, career and community, we need reminders, coupled with substantive information and shared with a great community (Athena!) to put our health and well-being first… #communitystrong!