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 discusses who influenced these people, the changes they made in life to be healthy, and the message they would like to pass along to the youth of today. I hope you enjoy it!
1. Your name, title, and age? What do you do (or did you do) for a living?
Marie-Josée Shaar – Founder & Author, Smarts and Stamina – 33 years old
2. Who was the person that inspired you as a child to eat healthy and stay fit? What was their relationship to you?
When I was 15, I was obsessed with performance. I wanted to get into the best college possible and thought the only way to get there was to excel at everything. Every waking minute was devoted to studying, improving my grades, becoming a better dancer, performing better on stage (improv and theater), etc. I was overly stressed, had a hard time sleeping, started to lose weight which I didn’t need to lose. I burnt out and ended up at the doctor’s office – and he’s the one who finally made me realize I had to give my body a little TLC.
3. What did they do to inspire you?
He looked at me right in the eyes and said “little lady, at the pace you are going, by the time you turn 20 you’ll have stomach ulcers, and you’ll probably die of a heart attack before you turn 40. There’s no point getting in the best college if you’re too sick to attend classes, and only have a 10-year career.” My grandmother had survived a heart attack just a few years earlier – she was 56 at the time, so I knew to take this warning very seriously.
4. How did their lesson change your life?
I realized life wasn’t just about performance – and that obsessing over performance would actually ruin my life! I started to learn about wellness. I studied the benefits of healthy eating and exercise – and made both a large priority. I started to take my sleep more seriously. I also studied positive emotions and stress reduction, and integrated these practices into my lifestyle. And while I was doing that, everything became easier! My grades improved, my dancing became more effortless, and I started to get all the lead roles in the school plays.
5. Do you convey their message to kids in your life presently?
Today, I am a full-time wellness trainer, coach and author. I mainly instruct health coaches and other wellness professionals, giving them new tools to help them reach higher levels of effectiveness with their clients. Some of them work with kids, others work with different kinds of people – in corporate settings, for example. I also wrote a book to help busy people with optimal health and performance. But at the end of the day, we’re all working to shape a healthier culture to benefit the present and future generations.
6. What would be your main message to children today to lead healthy lifestyles?
Choose your habits wisely. All you want to be when you grow up is within your reach – if you take care of your health and body. But your goals will all escape you if you don’t.
7. Do you have a web site you would like to promote….web address only?