CHAMBERSBURG, Pa.—Brenda Miller believes four simple words, when applied to women’s lives, can build stronger bodies and minds and boost self-confidence.
More than 100 women attended “Eat Sleep Run Grow: Redefining Ourselves as Women” on Saturday at Wilson College to hear speakers on topics including zumba, nutrition, self-defense and yoga.
“All these things are important in a woman’s life to keep them in balance,” said Miller, a health coach and a coordinator for the event.
The expo was inspired by her late niece, Shannon Lee Shockey, and was held on the 15th anniversary of her death, Miller said.
“My niece was a victim of domestic violence,” Miller said.
When the 20-year-old was killed in 1998, the journals she left behind indicated she lacked the confidence that could have changed and saved her life, Miller said.
“We don’t want that to happen to other women,” Miller said. “We want to bring them in, empower them, give them the knowledge” to achieve balance in their lives, she said.
Miller intends to hold the event annually.
“We are all built for self-defense,” said Caryn Motilla of Lemoyne, Pa., who demonstrated techniques to detect, avoid and respond to threats.
It is important to trust one’s instincts, Motilla said.
“You need to be able to detect you’re being targeted ... and diffuse it,” Motilla said. “If your gut says that, you need to respect that.”
Confident body language can help dissuade a potential predator, Motilla said. If it comes to physically defending one’s self, she demonstrated basic methods for fending off blows and fighting back.
A dummy dubbed “Bob” took most of the punishment in the demonstration.
Health advocate Diane Carbonell of Jackson, Tenn., said a turning point in her life came when she stepped on a scale.
“I think I had that moment of clarity ... If I don’t do something, am I going to be there for my kids?” said Carbonell, who shed more than 150 pounds from her peak weight of 305 pounds.
Carbonell spoke about how to go from what she called “SAD” eating (for Standard American Diet, which is high on processed foods) to “empowered eating.”
“When you look at your food, you should be able to recognize where it came from,” Carbonell said of the “farm-to-table concept.” That means more fresh foods, vegetables and whole grains and far fewer snacks and packaged meals, she said.
It also means more cooking, Carbonell said. However, going out for a restaurant meal likely takes as long as fixing one, she said.
The mother of seven prepares wholesome foods in advance and in quantity that can be used to make quick meals throughout the week.
Andrea Rich, Heidi Pisle and Kristi Benbow demonstrated how to get healthier choices into lunch boxes and onto dinner tables.
“I really enjoyed Diane, the lady who lost the 150 pounds and kept it off through healthy eating and healthy choices,” said Lisa Diller of Chambersburg.
“I’m inspired to live better, do better and be better,” said Courtney Foxx of Williamson, Pa. “You change your life one choice at a time.”