Five Strategies for Busy Families to Stay Healthy
by Paula Kreissler

Since the early 1970s, I’ve been interested in healthy living. I always like to talk about a book that I read called “Sugar Blues” that really made an impact on my life and made me realize we need to do things differently.

Currently, I serve as the Director of Healthy Living & Community Development at Healthy Savannah Initiative, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to making Savannah a healthier place to live, in association with YMCA of Coastal Georgia, and the President & CEO of Wound Care Clinic – ESU, Inc. I also volunteer in a variety of positions in Savannah, including serving on the Savannah Chatham Food Policy Council.

1) I tell people that it all starts with making healthy choices in food and drink. There are a thousand resources out there about what is good for you and what is not and, there is conflicting data as well. You need to start by eating whole foods–foods that are fresh and local. Most of those, you want to be plants, and you want lots of green things. Greens are so important to your health.

2) Portion control is essential. We live in a city where food drives a lot of commerce. People come here to eat. We get too much food, we’re not exercising enough to burn those calories off, and the food we are eating does not always have the nutrients our bodies need.

3) Don’t try to do this alone. Whatever your family consists of, it’s important to do these things together. It starts with eating together as a family. It is really important, and good quality time being spent. It is taking the opportunity to make healthy choices as to what you are eating, but also doing it while spending quality with those you love.

4) Exercise is Vital. It is really simple: just walk for thirty minutes every day. Walking is the best exercise you can do. Find the time in your day to do it, and I encourage people to do it with their families or even your coworkers. The togetherness part of exercise is important, too. The significant improvement in that is making the healthy choices and doing it with people–being with them.

5) I believe in setting the example. When you adopt a healthy lifestyle in diet and exercise, and you’re sharing these activities with others, not only are you holding yourself accountable for your own commitment, you are encouraging health for those that you care about. Keep a smile on your face and laughter in your heart. It’s so important to be positive. If we have a smile on our face, someone else is going to smile, too.

Paula Kreissler will speak on April 29, 2014 at the Encourage Health Educational Series from 11:30 to 1 p.m. at the Savannah Morning News Auditorium. Enmark has sponsored with Healthy Savannah, the Savannah Morning News, Savannah Magazine, and WJCL to present this premier series of five wellness lectures benefiting nonprofit organizations focused on Wellness. The benefiting charity for this lecture is Girls on the Run of Coastal Georgia. Lunch and lecture tickets are $20. Checks for tickets should be made payable to Girls on the Run of Coastal Georgia. To reserve your seat,

Girls on the Run of Coastal Georgia is a transformational learning program for girls ages 8 to 13. The program teaches life skills through dynamic, conversation-based lessons and running games. It culminates with the girls being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory 5k running event. The goal of the program is to unleash confidence through accomplishment while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness. For more information, visit

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