As part of my new web series, The Role Model In You, here is my most recent interview. The Role Model In You series discusses how individuals were influenced as a child to lead a healthy lifestyle. It covers who influenced these individuals, the changes they made in their life to be healthy, and the message they would like to convey to the youth of today. Our guests include doctors, soccer stars, Super Bowl champions, NBA players, Olympic gold medalist, entrepreneurs, celebrities, and just regular people looking to share their story. I hope you enjoy it!
1. Your name, title, and age? What do you do (or did you do) for a living?
Staci Lawrence, Co-Founder/Producer Flash Mob America, 36. I’m also an actress.
2. Who was the person that inspired you as a child to eat healthy and stay fit? What was their relationship to you?
My parents were the ones who really pushed my sister and me to make healthy choices, even when they weren’t always doing it themselves.
3. What did they do to inspire you?
My mom was always dancing and my dad insisted we stayed in classes and played outside. They enrolled my sister and me in dance and sports very early on: ballet, tap, jazz, track, swimming, soccer, cheerleading, etc. We were very active kids and they were always there cheering us on. They also sent us to camp every summer, so outdoor activities, like hiking and canoeing for example, were normal to us. We didn’t really know we were exercising; we just thought we were playing. My father was a chef, a hobby he picked up after cooking in the Navy, so even though we’d eat dinner on TV tables – and occasionally indulge in fast food – there was also a lot of hearty, balanced meals prepared. They always stressed the importance of moderation.
4. How did their lesson change your life?
Seeing their struggles with their health and diet was a big wakeup call for me as a teenager. I didn’t want to have those issues as an adult – and they were very open to discussing how they got there and how we could avoid it. This inspired me to become a vegetarian at the end of high school, and I was vegan for 12 years. My parents were very encouraging, always cooking vegetarian foods for me. Their willingness to embrace my choices (learning to cook tofu, polenta, and portobello “burgers”) taught me that the little bit of extra effort it takes to make a healthy choice is worth it and is ultimately an act of love. They also showed me that exercise can be fun. It doesn’t need to feel forced.
5. Do you convey their message to kids in your life presently?
Absolutely. First of all, playing outside and running around is a daily routine. One thing my parents stressed was if we didn’t like it, we didn’t have to eat it – but they asked that we try everything at least once. There was never a “finish-your-plate rule.” That’s our plan for our Daughter. We repeatedly offer a variety of healthy choices (proteins, fruits, veggies, whole grains) and never push her to eat more than she wants. And sometimes just eating blueberries for dinner is fine too.
6. What would be your main message to children today to lead healthy lifestyles?
You have the choice to feel good! Love your body and give it what it needs to be energized and strong. Eat lots of different colored foods. Life is more fun when you have the energy to play!
7. Do you have a web site you would like to promote?