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Women of Faviana: Empowering Self Care


The Women of Faviana is an empowerment council within Faviana International, focusing on the wellbeing, personal and professional development and leadership of female employees. The organization meets one time per month to discuss assigned reading, sit in on presentations from thought leaders, and host discussions around core topics relevant to empowering their lives and professional experience while at Faviana.

On January 12th, 2017, we kicked off the new year with Women of Faviana: Empowering Self Care presented by Melissa Elder, Libby Rothschild and Jamie Wolff of Walnut Health. Fed up with what they saw happening in the health and fitness industry, as far as misinformation being presented to the public and the manipulation of people by marketers who were just in it to make money, Melissa (who is an NASM-Certified Personal Trainer and an MBA in Health Care) founded Walnut Health with the goal of “empowering women to integrate fitness, stress management, and nutrition strategies to make sustainable lifestyle changes.” (Walnut Health, Who We Are).

Health = Power.

Melissa discussed that health = power. Which affects your ability to accomplish your professional and academic goals, as well as your ability to find pleasure and happiness. The objective of Empowering Self Care is to shift the focus away from what health looks like to how it makes you feel. Melissa’s main focus was exercising, Focusing on these 3 statements:

1. Skinny does not equal healthy.

One of my favorite things that Melissa discussed is that skinny does not equal healthy. Health is individual to each person! Our ‘size and shape‘ is largely dependent on our genes.

2. No “one best way” to exercise. 

Find an exercise you enjoy – that you’ll actually do! Melissa suggests a workout that includes:

  • Mind & Body Connection – this is extremely important. In order to feel good about your workout and for it to truly be beneficial, you need to feel like you are doing well for your body.
  • Cardio – Your heart and lungs are so important! A healthy lifestyle can prevent potential heart disease.
  • Strength – Work out those muscles and bones! It’s nice to be able to carry your own things.

3. Embrace your inner strength.

As women, we are often afraid to embrace our strength for fear of having too much muscle because it can be seen as unattractive. Melissa reminds us that being strong brings independence: It’s nice to be able to open your own jars! A strong body = A strong mind. Stand up straight and hold your head high.

4. Don’t buy into the hype. 

Everyone burns calories at different rates – it’s based on your individual weight and metabolism. Don’t give into the ‘booty bootcamps’ or fad dieting.  It is important to maintain muscle mass and avoid starvation!

Lifestyle Plan Vs Diet

Libby Rothschild, A Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer among many other things, suggested that a lifestyle plan is more beneficial than a diet. A lifestyle plan is  an overall decision and plan to be healthier. Always go back to how food makes you feel.

Some guidelines to follow for a lifestyle plan:

  1. Balance calories
  2. Enjoy food, but eat less.
  3. Avoid oversize portions: Understand a serving size.
  4. Make half of your plate fruit & veggies.
  5. Make half of your grains whole grains.
  6. Switch to fat free or low fat milk
  7. Compare sodium in foods  opt for the lower number.
  8. Limit sugar: especially in drinks – look for sugar free! Water is always the best choice!

The Health = Power = Pleasure Plan

Jamie Wolff, is a Certified Personal Trainer and has an M.A. in Counseling and Expressive Arts Therapy. Her goal is “to help women embrace a sustainable lifestyle of big-picture wellness that leaves plenty of room for pleasure and positive relationships with their bodies” (Walnut Health, Who We Are). She says it’s about time to make time for yourself: your health and power depend on it! Jamie talked about goals and planning!

Step 1: Make you a Priority in your daily life.

One of my favorite pieces of advice from Jamie: Avoid the band aids in life, the quick fixes that make you feel good in that moment, that are not long term.

Step 2: Tie you goals back to your values, health and pleasure.

What’s your why? Why are you doing something?

Step 3: Make a plan for yourself.

Take out your planner, calendar or phone and find a consistent time in your weekly schedule for a “power hour” – time to look over and plan for your week, meal prep and gym time or extra sleep.

For more information on Walnut Health and what they’re all about, check them out here.

Remember: You are in charge of your health!

Melissa and her team focuses on empowering women to rewrite the “rules” on health according to who you are as an individual. Health is your power. You are deserving of self care. Your health and self care is unique to you!

How do you take care of yourself and feel empowered? Share with us on social media by tagging our blog’s Instagram @glamandgowns, Faviana’s Instagram @Faviana_NY, and Twitter @FavianaNY!


The Faviana Team

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