The Ultimate Health & Wellness Weekend
R3 Prevention Summit
Refresh. Revive. Reinvent.
Hello! As promised a review of the R3 Prevention Summit is here. I was fortunate enough to attend this health and wellness conference through the generosity of Austin Fit Magazine. I was awarded tickets to enjoy the event at the Long Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Austin this past weekend. It was a weekend full of great health, fitness and wellness resources.
This is only the 2nd conference I have attended, and I have some advice for you if you are ever planning to attend any in the future. Do not make yourself crazy trying to get to every event, and see everything. The nature of these events is that there are multiple speakers, workshops and demonstrations happening simultaneously. Inevitably there will be two things you want to attend at the same time and you have to choose. There is a little bit of an art to enjoying a conference, and I am only scratching the surface. I chose a mix of panel discussions, fitness classes, cooking demos and happiness workshops to attend, and it worked out very well.
My other advice is to bring a snack, a pad/pen for notes and to wear comfortable shoes.
The Set Up
I loved the setup of the conference since it was on the rooftop of the performing arts center and all the workshops and discussions were close by. Sometimes you can get lost trying to get to one end of a hotel or conference center, but this was very well situated. It also helped that it was a gorgeous Saturday. This was the mainstage set up for the panel discussions.
Find the best “you” you can be…
I was a little star struck at the idea of seeing Andie MacDowell in person. I have followed her career since I saw her in movies years ago. She is probably best well known for being the tolerant reporter/love interest to Bill Murray in Groundhog Dog. I always thought she was seriously beautiful and growing up I would pick up magazines where she was giving beauty tips or advice.
Andie talked a bit about her history as a model and the years she spent starving herself on grapefruit and eggs to stay as skinny as possible until she could not do it anymore. Who can be happy starving? Since putting her foot down and choosing to be a healthy weight she says she started to work more than ever? Her advice was to stay active through the things you enjoy doing and to fuel yourself with the best food possible.
This star’s recipe for happiness was to be your own best parents and discover what makes you happy. It is not always getting what we want and that is hard to remember. She also reminded the audience that “stuff” does not make us happy and she is currently trying to get rid of hers! Instead of a big house that a movie star/model could afford she lives in a smaller cabin style home and dedicates a lot of her efforts towards farm land preservation. She also keeps busy working with her new show on The Hallmark Channel – Cedar Cove.
Conscious Breathing & Guided Meditation with Mallika Chopra
I am not very good at meditating. Scott and I have gone through periods where we tried to do it together and even though I relaxed I never truly “meditated.” For me, if the anxiety and random train of thoughts stop I consider it to be a successful meditation. I struggle even with the corpse pose in yoga. For real.
So I was excited to see what I could learn from Mallika Chopra who is the daughter of the famous Deepak Chopra. I loved her tip for moments of anxiety and I am going to try to incorporate it into my daily living.
In moments of panic or anxiety we should practice the “Stop” technique:
- Take Three Breaths.
It will help to gain contract over situations and our reactions. In moments of stress it can be a real lifesaver.
Sometimes we don’t even know what we want…
In the 2nd workshop I attended later in the day she took us through a guided meditation which was really neat to do as a group. She explained that there are no rules in medittaion and we focused on our breathing for 5 minutes. That 5 minutes can make a huge difference in your whole body.
Some thoughts on those “AHA Moments” when it all clicks and comes together.
This was another panel discussion that included Dr. Gary Kaplan and Dr. Holly Phillips who went into a more in-depth discussion on inflammation, and how it is an underlying cause in many of the health issues we face such as headaches and stomach issues.
Sleep is a huge problem behind what Dr. Phillip’s referred to as the “exhaustion” epidemic. The women she sees in her practice do not get enough sleep and have expressed they feel tired every day. This leads to losing enjoyment, productivity and that feeling that can creep in of existing and not really living.
Their recommendations for feeling better were straightforward:
- Diet: Nothing processed or from a box. No bleached white flour products
- Sleep: Strive for the same bedtime and wake up time every day and sleep in a dark room.
- Exercise: 30 minutes of activity three times a week.
I liked how they made it really simple and actionable. I think those are all good tips for everyone.
I decided it was time to wonder around to check out some of the vendors and get a snack. I enjoyed two Grass-fed hot dogs courtesy of Applegate and a mini Peanut Chocolate Chip Larabar. I also drank tons of the iced tea provided by Salada. It was an herbal mix and very refreshing.
I also went out of my comfort zone and got a henna tattoo. I had never thought of getting one, but figured it would be fun. It took 5 minutes at most and it is holding up really well!
There was a huge line to get one and everyone was showing their body art under the hashtag “R3 Summit” on Instagram. Very cool stuff.
Farm to Table Cooking Demo
There was a great little kitchen set up near all of the food vendors where they did various food demonstrations throughout the day. I chose to attend the Farm to Table Cooking Demo with Chef Sonya Cote.
Sonya truly believes in sourcing produce and meats from local farms and helps run two Austin restaurants I am dying to check out soon – Eden East and the Hillside Pharmacy.
After her demo they served her grilled shrimp on a lettuce wrap to the audience which was delicious.
Getting out of balance will help you find balance…
After my snack and catching up on a few emails via my phone I decided on a whim to check out Sadie Lincoln’s Barre3 demonstration.
I was not really dressed for it but I decided that if that were any moves that did not work I just would skip them. I enjoyed the quick demo which included a background on Sadie and how she started Barre3. As a working fitness professional for many years, she and her husband took a mortgage out on their house so she could start her own studio. She is thriving and recently published the book “Love Your Lower Body.”
I introduced myself quickly after the class and took this quick pic of Sadie. She was absolutely lovely and you could tell everyone taking the class really connected with her.
Health is dynamic, not static.
The clean eating panel focused a lot on digestive issues and understanding what eating clean truly means. The things we do every day make the most impact on our health. If we are getting take out for dinner every night it is going to become a problem.
There was a real focus on the reality of needing to live a lifestyle of homemade meals, but how difficult it can be in today’s society. Even if we focus on farmer’s markets and shopping organic we have find time in our day to prepare food.
Sonya Cote, the chef, was on this panel and said that you need to commit large portions of your time to shopping for and preparing food to avoid needing processed meals and snacks.
Even as a “healthy” person I still eat processed foods. Almond milk, nut butter, and yogurt are a few things that come to mind that I eat that are pre-packaged for me. In this instance, I think we just continually gain more knowledge, read the labels and do our best to make smart choices when eating home or out at restaurants and such.
Shake Your Supplements
This panel focused on a lot of what I currently believe in terms of supplementing our diets. I take supplements, but my regime is primarily through guess work. I have not gotten around to have my blood panels done so sometimes I have no clue if I need some of the vitamins I am taking.
Vitamins are truly personalized and there is no true way to figure it out without the scientific data. I mentally reminded myself about the blood test that is a to-do item on my health checklist after finishing to hearing the speakers discuss it in depth.
The Daily Zen Zone…
This workshop was the perfect way to end the day. It was led by Anne Alexander who is the Senior Vice President and Editorial Direction of Prevention Magazine. She discussed an activity which she has found very helpful in finding her daily Zen zone. She made a pie chart and broke down her day and the items she needs to get done on any particular day.
She has an amazing job that requires quite a large percentage of the pie, but she has found small ways to discover her own Zen.
When she wakes up she has stopped grabbing her phone to check email and avoids LED screens when she wakes up and right before bedtime. She takes 10 minutes to sit, think and enjoy her coffee every morning. This lead to starting to meditate. She also started a support group for women at Prevention where they come together every 3 weeks or so to discuss different helpful lifestyle habits.
If Anne does not look at her email first thing every morning than I can too! She recommended this habit can be a great gateway to meditation, and I am hoping it might work well for me.
I left with an absolutely amazing bag of treats. There were magazines, snacks, coupons. You name it. It was a very generous goodie bag.
Though I was not compensated to write this post I received my ticket to the conference for free as well as the bag of gifts from the vendors who attended.
Thank you Prevention Magazine and Austin Fit for an amazing day! It was a pleasure to attend the conference.
Question of the Day: Have you ever been to a conference?
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