The ninth annual Women's Wellness Forum was such a success, organizers couldn't get participants to go home.
"Usually they're in and out by 1:15," said Judy Baker of the Mogollon Health Alliance, one of the organizing committee members. "This year, we couldn't chase them out with a stick. They were enjoying the vendors' showcase so much."
A record 235 women participated this year and the event drew lots of positive feedback. Participants were asked to evaluate all the sessions they attended, including the opening keynote address by author Jill Fleming.
Among the comments Baker shared from participants:
"It was great."
"Inspiring ... Best ever ... Fabulous."
"The speaker was the most excellent one ever. Her enthusiasm was genuine."
Attendees received a copy of Fleming's book, "Thin People Don't Clean Their Plates," which is the basis for her "Thin Choices" program that focuses on lifestyle changes and strategies to lose weight. In her keynote address, she outlined seven steps to new lifestyle choices.
At the top of the list, Fleming said people should stop dieting. Her research has shown there are two types of dieters -- one who is strictly regimented all day and then is so hungry in the evening, they overeat. The second is someone who is strict about her food choices all week, then decides to splurge on the weekend.
In both cases, she said, the body is getting hormonal signals telling it to compensate for starvation conditions. The body then starts storing more fat or it starts using muscle tissue for energy.
Next, Fleming said, feed your body well.
"You already know what to do," she said. "If the choice is between a doughnut and an apple, you know the apple is better for you."
She recommends eating whole foods with lots of color -- fresh vegetables and fruit and whole grains.
"Eating whole foods, you will find you don't need as much food," she said.
After eating right, the next step is to start moving your body. Mornings are the best time for exercise.
"The more muscle mass, you have the high your metabolism will be," she said.
She suggested incorporating "squeezing" -- contracting and relaxing the muscles in your stomach, buttocks and thighs --and deep breathing into your day.
Make rest and relaxation part of your routine, Fleming said. "Most people need between 6.5 and 8 hours of sleep a night."
Next, Fleming said, listen to your body. If you are hungry, eat. If you are tired, rest.
Finally, she talked about the law of attraction.
"Like attracts like," she said. "Visualize what you want and how it will feel once you get there."
In addition to her keynote address, Fleming also led three breakout sessions titled "Get Your Groove Back," which expanded on her morning presentation.
In order to "get your groove back," Fleming recommends the following:
- Eat something within the first hour of waking up and drink a glass of water. It is kindling for the furnace that burns the calories. It does not have to be a substantial meal. It can be a handful of dry cereal or half a banana.
- Keep the body's gas tank a quarter to three-quarter full. Eat every three to four hours, starting with breakfast. And look at your fist. Fleming said a meal is the size of three fists of food. A snack is the size of a single fist.
- Eat eight to 10 servings of vegetables and fruit a day. A serving of vegetables or fruit is the size of a tennis ball. Fleming said one of the easiest ways to add vegetables and fruits for the average person -- who only gets two servings of fruit and vegetables a day -- is to add a smoothie and a salad each day.
- Drink at least eight cups of water a day. This is especially important when you start eating more vegetables and fruits.
- Breathe deeply, from the diaphragm. Put your hands on your stomach right above your navel. Breathe deep enough to raise your abdomen.
Fleming said, "Remember to give yourself a little TLC every day to be healthier, calmer and happier."