PR With a Twist

Not just PR, but the twists and turns that make life interesting.

One more thing for the weekend…

I forgot to mention in my last post (about what I learned on the first week of the Whole 30) perhaps the most important lesson:

You can’t be successful in undertaking any lifestyle-changing, health-inducing program if you don’t exercise!

That is my personal opinion, of course, but it is proving to be true at least for me. When I began this journey, I had no daily exercise routine. Zilch. Zero. Oh yeah, I would get an ounce of inspiration from time to time and have a spurt of energy and resolve to do something but it would fade quickly. I’m also not a lifelong couch potato, either, having been a competitive athlete in my youth and teenage years. Therefore, I know what a fitness routine looks (and feels) like.

During my first week, I diligently committed to do some sort of exercise at least three times per week for 30 minutes at a stretch. What I choose was a brisk walk/jog and did 2.36 miles the first day, 2.26 the second, 1.16 the third, realized I was losing weight and did nothing for days four through 10! Yikes! I’m happy to say I’m back at it, with nearly two miles logged today, and a renewed dedication. I know it’s not much to start, but I hope to work up to more and stay consistent.

I think my bout with insomnia (which I’ve never experienced) during the days that I didn’t exercise could be attributed to my idleness. Or at least helped if I were more active. I also haven’t been as regular or felt my metabolism working as effectively on the days that I don’t exercise. It will be interesting to see how those things are impacted.

So, there you have it. No more excuses. Time to get back in the fitness saddle!

Have a great weekend,

Lisa

Week One on the Whole30 . . . Check! (Three things I learned)

Happy 10-11-12! Having now officially completed my first full week on the Whole30, I thought I’d provide an update. As you may recall, Day 1 began on Oct. 2 with excitement, if not curiosity, as to exactly how I would adapt to this new lifestyle.

Did I mention that my household includes my hubby who is doing a pseudo-paleo with me, which means that he’s eating all of the healthy dinners I’m preparing and cutting out junk food, but he’s hesitant to take the plunge because he doesn’t need to lose weight. He’s actually trying to gain after a recent hospital stay during which his gallbladder was removed — hello red flag! I also am blessed to have my 19-year-old son living at home during his freshman year. Enough said. Dinner typically includes at least two different versions, but it’s been fine so far and I’ve not been tempted one bit, even with my son’s birthday this week! I was totally satisfied forgoing the cake and ice cream, which happened to be Culver’s Pumpkin Pie, one of my favorites!

So, what are the three things I learned in my first week?

New Foods and Flavors! Things I’d never heard of in some cases and just never tried in others. Now I can’t imagine cooking certain dishes Ghee - Clarified Butterwithout Ghee (clarified butter), which is heavenly, or coconut oil, a paleo staple. I also discovered coconut aminos, a substitute for soy sauce in Asian-type dishes, but also works when Worcestershire sauce is normally used. And one of my new favorites? Almond butter. Where have you been all my life? Whole Foods even has a station — much like you see for coffee grinding — where you can make your own almond butter. Fresh almonds go in and the butter comes out. Nothing else added. Delicious. I have about a tablespoon once or twice a day on apple or pear slices or even celery!

And, I’m drinking black coffee in the morning. This is huge for a gal who always ordered a Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks and then added two Splenda! I could opt for a little coconut milk but it doesn’t agree with me, as I shared in a previous post. I then thought almond milk was the ticket but found out it’s almost impossible to find a pre-packaged brand without additives that are not Whole30-friendly. So, I tried it black and it’s growing on me. Proves that my taste buds are being retrained so that I really appreciate the good and natural flavors in healthier food!

Healthy Food is Expensive. Now, this is probably a big “duh”, but I underestimated how much the initial cost of switching to organic fruits and veggies (as much as possible) and getting healthier cuts of meat would impact my budget. Not to mention planning nearly every meal at home, which is more economical but means that many more groceries. Luckily, I received my three “Paleo Bibles” that I ordered and there’s tons of great recipes that will help going forward. “It Starts With Food,” “Well Fed“, and “Practical Paleo” have already proven to be invaluable resources. Plus, I’m learning to navigate between which stores will offer me the best deals — more on that in a future post. The bottom line is that it’s worth it! A healthy lifestyle will only save me money in the long run and, combined with the other benefits, I’m all in. Why? Because . . .

It’s Working! After a few days of detox in the first week, I am starting to feel the benefits of a radical diet change. My mood is generally improved, I “feel” lighter (not bloated and never over-stuffed) and I can visualize my goal of completing the Whole30 and maintaining a paleo lifestyle for the long-term. I still have a headache here and there, but I’ve long suffered from that, and I think overall my headaches have improved. The only downside is occasional trouble sleeping, which I understand can be a result of the lack of carbs and my body still adjusting. I’m working on it, so I hope that it improves in short order.

Last but not least, I have to admit I cheated. I stepped on the scale after my first week (strict Whole30 says to weigh only at the beginning and the end of the 30 days). Drum roll . . . five pounds lost in seven days! I’m happy about that, but trying to set my expectations. I had no goal weight in mind for the Whole30 (although I do overall), only to retrain my taste buds, adopt a healthier lifestyle and start a revolution. The new-found discipline has also inspired me to tackle other projects that have lacked my attention, including a complete reorganization for my walk-in closet and kitchen pantry. And, without an emotional attachment to food, I was able to truly clean out and discard those foods in my pantry that were past their prime, unhealthy, or both! Much better.

Now, as I rush headlong into Week 2, I have no regrets, very little temptation and an excitement for continued positive results. If anyone else is taking this journey, please share your comments. My next post will be back on the topic of PR.

Lisa

PR Lessons from the Ryder Cup and Hash Tags in the Sky

Recently I had the honor and privilege of serving as a volunteer (along with 4,000 others from around the world) at the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club. It was an exciting chance-in-a-lifetime opportunity, at least for me. Whether or not you follow golf, it was easy to get swept up in the excitement of team competition and the pride of cheering on the home country in its attempt to win back the Cup from the Europeans.

In the end, despite the U.S. team leading going into the final day, the Europeans managed to put up stunning scores in the singles competition to win, much to the disappointment of American golf fans everywhere. Though many golf analysts called it a collapse, it was a valiant effort by most members of the the U.S. team, led by Davis Love III and featuring a who’s-who of golf’s best players. Most notably was the duo of Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, who dazzled the crowed and dominated the team portion of the competition.

Among the lineup was Tiger Woods. We all know what this high-profile athlete has gone through since his November 2009 scandal heard round the world. There’s a debate as to whether Woods was already on the decline prior to his fall from grace, but the record shows that he’s won only three tournaments since then (all of them this year), and no majors. In 2009, he had already won six tournaments before November.

What struck me about his appearance at the Ryder Cup, however, was the ongoing dichotomy of reaction to this sports icon. He’s currently the No. 2 ranked player in the world (behind Rory McIlroy) and also second in the money rankings on the PGA TOUR. Naturally, hoards of people still root him on to recapture his former glory. At the Ryder Cup, fans young and old and were eager to follow him from hole to hole — and were disappointed when he opted not to finish the Tuesday practice round when many of the junior golfers had their one chance to come out and see the players.

But what I’ll never forget is what I saw on the last day of volunteering, which happened to be Saturday, on my way to the parking lot.  That morning, Paddy Power, an Irish gambling site known for its controversial ad campaigns, took to the skies above Medinah with “Sky Tweets” (complete with hash tags)  in support of team Europe. Supposedly the messages were selected from their Twitter followers’ suggestions. Woods had been benched by Love for Saturday’s morning round (for the first time in his career) and the “Paddy Power planes” posted the message:  “Seen Tiger? #GOEurope” as a way to taunt him for being absent from the line-up.

However that afternoon when Woods returned to play it got more personal. What I captured in the photo at left read, “Fore! Tiger’s Back”, which is snarky enough. What you don’t see is that the planes went on to write “Go Team Nordegren!” Ouch. A direct reference to his ex-wife Elin Nordegren. Woods’ play that day and the next has been described as a “disaster” by some sports writers and he revealed yesterday that he had issued an apology to the younger Ryder Cup team members for not being able to win more points for the team. Does the negative publicity get to him and affect his play? I don’t know, but it does affect his brand.

We have come a long way from the days of JFK almost openly having an affair in the White House (according to Mimi Alford who revealed all in an autobiography and media tour earlier this year) and no one ever breathing a word of it to what some would say was a total collapse of the career — or at least image — of a sports legend whose personal life became the subject of national headlines in almost real time.

Now, not to compare Tiger Woods to a president of the United States, but only to say that nothing is secret (or sacred?) anymore in the eyes of the public or the media. News, or anything of interest to the public, is reported in real time and spreads instantly around the globe. And although three years have passed and he’s starting to win tournaments again, Woods has been unable to shake the ghost of his actions and they continue to haunt him. He’s no longer the platinum standard for major sponsors and companies now think twice before aligning their brand to his.

Therein lies the PR lesson. Anyone at any time is open to being part of a news story (next I’ll take a look at Jennifer Livingston and Kenneth Krause — you know, the man who wrote the email to the Wisconsin news anchor telling her she’s overweight?). And even if you’re not part of a news story, you are projecting an image. Whether it’s you as an individual or your company, everything you do is open to interpretation, criticism or even outright judgement. It’s up to you how you handle it (or not), but know that your actions and  what you put out there for public consumption sticks with you and becomes a part of your brand.

We are all CMOs of our own brand image. What is the PR message we would want written in the sky about us three years from now?

Lisa

The Joy of Detox

ImageToday I woke up and Googled: “Paleo headaches”. Luckily, one of the first search results that came up was Paleo Plan’s post for Dreaded Detox. To my surprise (and relief), dozens of Paleo newbies experienced or were going through the same feelings I have on Day 3: headache, body aches, dizziness, fatigue, and all-around flu-like symptoms.

So what was up with that, I thought? From everything I heard this diet was supposed to make me feel FANTASTIC, with more energy and a lot less of the yucky stuff I had been feeling for months! Turns out that my body is ridding itself of all the toxins that I had been loading up on for years: sugar in all of its purest form, but also sugar that’s contained in the wheat, grains and pasta that I had overindulged in. Also any negative effects of dairy, gluten and even alcohol (although my normal intake averaged a few glasses of wine per week).

At the same time, my body is being shocked — but in a good way — by all of the great things it’s now getting, like strictly organic fruits, meats and veggies, rich with vitamins and free of hormones, pesticides and other additives! Time for the HAPPY DANCE!

What a relief to not only discover that this is a normal process, but that these symptoms are a good thing and a sign that the new program is working! With this new knowledge, I ate my breakfast, consisting of coffee with almond milk (which agreed with me much better than yesterday’s coconut milk), a banana and two eggs. Within the hour I felt great.

I know that this is the right path and am so excited for the healthy results that are undoubtedly to come. If any of you have experienced similar detox symptoms on this or another diet, please chime in. And for you PR folks, thanks for your patience as I have veered into this new realm. I have a PR-related (but life lesson post) coming your way shortly . . .

Lisa

The Power of “Before” and “After”

It started with the superficial:

I was “blessed” with thick, fairly curly hair, which some people would admittedly love to have. However, it curls (or frizzes up) in humidity, is sometimes hard to manage and doesn’t necessarily adapt well to the latest styles.

And along came Keratin (or GK in my case)! Although it can be pricey and only lasts about five months, for me it has been transformational. For the first time since I was a kid I’ve been able to grow out my hair and like it in the process. It also dries faster and is easier to style.

But, although I changed my outward appearance, I didn’t feel any different on the inside. For some time, I had wanted to make major changes in my entire body and, more importantly, my health.

Like many people, I’d go on a diet and exercise kick, would see results until I felt happy with where I was and before I knew it, I had fallen back into old habits. This was frustrating as I am in the business of PR — helping clients build their brand image and crafting messaging and programs that will help showcase it to the world, or at least their target audience. I felt as though my own personal brand needed retooling and it was time to walk the walk.

As luck would have it, through the PR blog, “SpinSucks” written by Gini Dietrich, I was introduced to fellow PR pro Kate Finley and her KateUpdates blog. She has been chronicling her transformation in mind, body and spirit through the Paleo diet-based program, Whole30. So I did my research. This sounded like something I could truly adopt as a new lifestyle — or at least stick to for 30 days to see if the health benefits I experienced made me want to continue in the long-term.

So, the Facebook posts for which I had always been known switched from enchiladas:

To broiled Tilapia:

Although I wasn’t one of those people who would chronicle every meal on Facebook, I realized I had become recognized among friends and followers for sharing photos of the food I prepared (or was eating at a restaurant); people would actually tell me they looked forward to it. Some said they even lived vicariously through my meatloaf with homemade gravy or strawberry shortcake postings.

My personal Facebook page had become a showcase for unhealthy and indulgent eating! Now, if I were one of those people with lightening-fast metabolism, that would be one thing. Although it still wouldn’t be healthy if my food choices were poor.

However, the older I became I was feeling (and seeing) the effects, so I knew that change was in order. A wake up call made me realize my husband was feeling it, too. Chronic GI issues culminated in two recent hospital stays during which he had his gallbladder removed and discovered two gastric ulcers and a hiatal hernia. Although he is thin, he clearly was not eating the right foods. His lifestyle had to change, and it made me begin to realize that my well-being was not optimal, either. I could definitely benefit from feeling better, having more energy and being leaner and healthier.

We started by undertaking a low-fat diet but found that it was too easy to slip back into old habits when not on a committed program. Then I found out about Whole30 and took the plunge! We are on Day 2, and every day is a learning experience.

What I didn’t expect is that I felt a new sense of empowerment and drive to not only eat “clean” but to clean out the cobwebs and address the low-hanging fruit that had been causing me stress.  I resolved to do one impactful thing each day that I’d been putting off or needed my attention.

One Day 1, my closet went from this to this :

I realize it wasn’t exactly an episode of “Hoarders,” but it was long overdue and stressing me out. What transpired was about more than just cleaning up the clutter. It was about getting organized, making it livable and getting rid of what I no longer needed. Along with the clean-up, I threw out a garbage bag of trash and collected another huge bag of old clothes for Goodwill. Who knows, I made need that space for new clothes on Day 31! 🙂

For some reason, I’ve always had trouble letting go of what is outdated, no longer fits and isn’t good for me. But no more! If I’m going to make a change, I’m going to make a transformation, even if it’s one step at a time. I realized that where I was wasn’t where I wanted to be. Did I mention that on Day 1 I also did a two-mile brisk walk/jog? That’s not like the “old” me, but it is who I am now . . .

Off for a walk,

Lisa

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