Thursday, 22 January 2015 21:19

Exercising for a Healthy Heart

Though many of us work out to look sculpted and tone, an even better motivator is what regular exercise and healthy eating does for your heart. Our heart is a very important muscle that is central to us living a healthy life. Heart health should be a high priority for us all, but unfortunately, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.

The good news is that one-third of deaths from heart disease and strokes are preventable. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself:

001Exercise. Physical activity of moderate intensity for at least two hours and 30 minutes a week can help you maintain a healthy weight, a lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure.

Eat healthy. Choosing healthy meals and snack options can help you avoid heart disease. Be sure to eat plenty of whole, fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid processed and fried foods, and limit sodium.

Avoid smoking. Smoking cigarettes significantly increases your risk of heart disease. If you smoke, work on weaning yourself off. Your heart will appreciate you!

By exercising and eating healthy, you will position yourself to maintain a healthy weight, which can also lower your risk of heart disease. The beautiful thing is that exercising regularly and eating healthy help you get a better body! So the next time you are at the gym, get in a great workout and think about all the wonderful things your workout is doing for your heart.

 

Lifestyle and Fitness Expert

Lisa Tanker-Potts is the owner of Boutique Body Fitness Studio located in the Grant Park District of Atlanta. Lisa is considered the guru of fitness for women seeking to enhance their lives through fitness and has helped thousands of women achieve healthy lifestyles and get the physique of their dreams.

Lisa's trademark is her positive attitude, warm energy and her expertise in training women of all ages. Lisa's upbeat spirit and ability to make every client feel exclusive has quickly propelled her to be a top sought after fitness trainer, speaker and lifestyle expert.

After earning a Master of Business and Master of Health Administration and working eight years in pharmaceutical sales industry, Lisa decided to become a fitness trainer and follow her passion for helping women get fit and healthy.

BeforeAndAfterLisa has been a regular guest on CBS Better Mornings Atlanta, on The Dana Barrett Show Biz 1190 AM, the Jennifer Keitt 104.1 FM Show and on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's lifestyle blog. Lisa has also been a featured speaker at the BGR National Convention, Transforming Women Entrepreneurs Conference and the Jennifer Keitt Empowerment Conference.

 

Sponsored by: Boutique Body Fitness  |  650 Hamilton Ave SE, Suite D  |  Atlanta, GA 30312  |  Phone: (678) 568-9217  |  www.boutiquebodyfitness.com

 

 

Thursday, 22 January 2015 20:28

My Best Self: Natalie Dale

If you turn on the TV and hear a cheerful female voice discussing variable speed limits and traffic conditions, you already know how Natalie Dale brings subjects to life that – let's face it – aren't always the most exciting. As the spokeswoman for Georgia's Department of Transportation, Dale acts as the translator between the organization's engineers and Atlantans across the city. Though she didn't exactly grow up with a passion for transportation, her broadcasting degree, diverse political experience and bubbly personality made her the perfect woman for the job. Dale also spent six years cheering for the Atlanta Falcons and has even appeared on two national game shows – if anyone can perk up traffic talk, it's her.

What did your career look like before you joined Georgia DOT?

I moved to Atlanta right after I graduated from Auburn. I took an internship at CNN, and after that, I worked in Governor Sonny Perdue's office for three years. After that I moved to DC to work as the communications director for the National Distilled Spirits Council. That was great – I got to travel internationally to promote bourbon! When I came back to Atlanta in 2010, I took a job as deputy director for the State Senate Office, working with all the senators to organize their press and write press releases.

How did those experiences prepare you to be the spokeswoman for Georgia DOT?

In the position in the senate, I had to know every single issue inside and out. One day I wrote pro something, and the next day against it – I really had to look at every angle of every issue. So when I took the job at DOT, I joked that I would finally get one topic. I could have not been more wrong! What I thought was going to be one subject is far deeper and more complex than I ever imagined.

What does a typical day look like for you?

There is no typical day. You can't just get up and brush your hair – I will get calls from various news stations and do several interviews. I generally know our priorities for the week, but I never know what topics I may need to explain or discuss that day.

Though the infamous Snow Jam of 2014 brought a lot of negative attention, what positives came out of it?

We are now working very closely with FEMA, state patrol and Georgia National Guard to invest in better solutions. For example, we are bringing in eight more salt trucks so each doesn't have to focus on such a big area. Plus, everyone is so eager to be helpful in times like that. A lot of our HERO units and our first responders worked doubles and stayed on to help people get food and gas. I don't think enough is said about them.

What are your favorite workouts?

I cheered for the Falcons for six years. We had trainers and memberships to LA Fitness, so I went to Spin classes, CrossFit classes and others. I love Blast, and I love FlyBarre, which I still do a few times a week.

Tell us about your experiences on the game shows "Minute to Win It" and "Hollywood Game Night."

When "Minute to Win It" came to Atlanta, they called the Falcons and said they needed contestants. I went and did that show to pay for my wedding, actually. Then a few years later, I got contacted by the same group. They said, "Is there anything else you would be good at?" I like trivia, and I know a lot of pop culture stuff, so I ended up on "Hollywood Game Night." It was awesome! It was the coolest show.

What's family life like for you in Atlanta?

My husband and I are big foodies, and we're always down to try new restaurants. I really like True Food Kitchen, and Noche in Brookhaven has become our Cheers. I don't think Atlanta gets the credit it deserves for its food!

 

Thursday, 22 January 2015 20:01

The Sugar Shakedown

By Morgan A. McLaughlin McFarland

When you think of sugar in your diet, your mind probably jumps right to that slice of birthday cake you had last week or the candy that gets passed around your office. And you're right; those are definitely sources of sugar. But sugar is sneaky, especially in today's world of processed foods, and it finds its way into many more foods than you might expect. Even the bread on your sandwich at lunch, the energy bar you snack on in the afternoon and the chicken strips you defrost for a quick weeknight dinner may all be culprits.

The American Heart Association recommends that men consume no more than about 37.5 grams, or nine teaspoons, of added sugars per day, and women should stay below 25 grams, or six teaspoons. But what are "added" sugars, and how can you spot them in your diet? Is it time to swear off all sugar?

A Sweet Staple

Don't worry, sugar isn't all bad. In fact, it's a crucial part of your daily diet. The American dietary guidelines recommend that carbohydrates, which are ultimately broken down into simple sugars for energy, make up 45 to 65 percent of people's daily calories. That simple sugar we use for energy is called glucose, and it is a key source of energy for all living things – even plants make their own glucose through photosynthesis.

QUOTE-1Because sugars are created by plants themselves, many unprocessed, whole foods will contain those natural sugars. Fruits, vegetables and honey contain fructose, the sweetest and simplest form of naturally occurring sugar. Sugar beets and sugar cane produce a more complex sugar – a disaccharide – called sucrose. Even milk and other dairy products contain lactose, another naturally occurring sugar.

Not only are these naturally occurring sugars familiar to our bodies, but they are typically accompanied by a host of other nutrients like dietary fiber, calcium, proteins, essential fats, vitamins and more. Eating naturally occurring sugars along with these other valuable nutrients – such as when you eat an apple – helps to control blood sugar levels by slowing sugar absorption. In short, natural sugars are usually part of a well-rounded nutritional package.

Meagan Moyer, registered dietitian with Emory Healthcare, says, "Because natural sugars are found in foods like fruits and milk, the focus should not be on these [naturally occurring] sugars." Instead, she says, excess sugar consumption is typically the result of added sugars.

Sneaky Added Sugars

In today's world of processed food, food manufacturers use chemical means to preserve and sweeten their products. Even food that you may not think of as "processed" probably has been, such as a loaf of bread, a jar of pasta sauce or a bottle of salad dressing. In these cases and many others, food manufacturing companies try to improve taste by adding refined sugar, corn syrups, rice syrups, honey, fruit juice, agave nectar, cane juice, molasses and more to their products. The two most common added sugars are refined sugar, also called white sugar or table sugar, and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

SB-1

Refined sugar comes primarily from sugar cane or sugar beets. The sucrose is extracted from the plant, evaporated into crystals, and then further processed through several bleaching and purifying processes. Molasses, a byproduct of the refining process, may be added back to the refined sugar to make brown sugar. "Raw" or Turbinado sugar, which is a less processed form of cane sugar, is often presented as a healthier alternative to refined white sugar; in truth, this sugar has an identical caloric value and only minimally increased micronutrients compared to refined sugar.

SB-2

High fructose corn syrup, a somewhat controversial sugar made from corn syrup, is processed to convert some of its glucose to fructose to produce a sweeter flavor. HFCS is found not just in dessert products and sodas, but also in a wide assortment of processed or packaged foods like bread, salad dressing and sauces, yogurt, and canned and jarred
fruit products.

SPOONA Sugary State of Health

Added sugars are so pervasive that The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) found Americans each consume an average of 20 teaspoons a day, or 100 grams, which is two to three times more than the maximum recommendation of six to nine teaspoons. Most of this sugar is consumed in the form of sodas, sports drinks and juices, and the rest sneaks in through processed foods.

Unlike naturally occurring sugars, added sugars bring little to the table but calories and a quick spike in blood sugar. "Instead of providing nutrients, added sugars just add empty calories. Eat too much sugar, and it will be stored as fat," Moyer warns.

All this added sugar is contributing to a significant rise in obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. While some researchers place the blame specifically on high fructose corn syrup, the reality is that Americans eat far more of every type of added sugar than is healthy.

Cutting back on these added sugars can be a first step in improving overall dietary health.
Subtract Those Additions

Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet can begin with a few simple steps. Learning to read food labels is key, because, as Atlanta-based dietitian Rachel Brandeis points out, "Sugar is promoted in many different ways. Be label-savvy." Moyer explains, "Sugars always end in '-ose,' such as dextrose, fructose, maltose and sucrose. If they are listed on an ingredients label, sugar has been added to the food, so it's a good idea to stay away from it."

Moyer offers several additional suggestions for reducing added sugar in your diet, including the following:

  • Eat whole fruit (not fruit juice) to satisfy a craving for sweets.
  • Top pancakes with sliced fruit like bananas or strawberries instead of maple syrup.
  • Drink water instead of sodas or other sweetened beverages.
  • Cut the amount of sugar in half when cooking or mixing your morning coffee or tea.

And as always, cooking your own meals with whole, fresh, unprocessed foods is the best way to avoid added sugars – that way, extra sugars can't get in your meal if you don't put them there.

 

Editorial Resources

Rachel Brandeis, MS, RD – www.rachelrd.com
Harvard School of Public Health – www.hsph.harvard.edu
Meagan Moyer, MPH, RD, LD, Emory Bariatric Center – www.emoryhealthcare.org
Maziar Rezvani, MD, FAAAAI, Avicenna Allergy & Asthma – www.avicennaallergy.com
Terri White, Cann Dentistry – www.canndentistry.com

By Sarah K. Ricciardelli

Grab the sappy cards and heart-shaped chocolates, folks – it's time for Valentine's Day. But if you are divorced or going through a divorce, the last thing you may want to celebrate is romance. Instead of worrying about a date, take this time to check in with yourself. A divorce is a big life event and deserves attention so you can process it appropriately. Atlanta's relationship and divorce experts, including some local divorcees themselves, share their wisdom to help you work through this in a healthy way.


First Things First

Take stock of the state of your divorce. Are you still in the process?
If so, ask yourself these questions to better understand your approach:

  • Am I attempting to punish my spouse during the divorce process?
  • Are my actions helping us heal or creating deeper wounds for both of us?
  • Are we alienating any children that may be involved?

Divorce lawyer Jarrod Oxendine of Suwanee firm Clark, Oxendine & Sauls LP says some people have a hateful, no-holds-barred approach to divorce cases, which is often understandable when both parties are hurt and emotions run high. Sometimes family and friends may even encourage you to take this angle. But in most cases, he cautions, "It is best to obtain a calm, rational, reasonable and otherwise professional approach during the divorce process." This way, you can avoid the common pitfalls that lead to an even harder separation.

QUOTE-1

I Just Called To Say...

After you've signed on the dotted line – no matter how that process went – you have to consider what type of relationship you will have moving forward. Consider these questions:

  • Are there kids that my ex and I need to co-parent?
  • If so, how often and through what means will we communicate?
  • If not, do I still want to communicate with my ex? Why?

While it may feel like communicating with your ex is healthy after a divorce is finalized, Oxendine suggests otherwise. "I only advocate communications with an ex if children are involved," he says. In that case, communication about your children's school schedules, extracurricular involvement, social boundaries and emotional health will all be important. And don't forget to discuss how you will approach family traditions, such as holidays or birthdays, now that you're separated.

But if there are no kids in the picture and you still want to keep up communication, consider why. If the divorce was a difficult one but you still keep in contact, Oxendine warns, "One of you is likely operating with an ulterior motive." If you split on amicable terms, your desire for continued communication may just be an old habit. Either way, consider giving yourself the space to process this event on your own, without the input of your ex.

A New Normal

Whether your separation came out of the blue or felt like it was years in the making, it requires adjusting to a new normal. But that's easier said than done, according to Single Atlanta matchmaker Lisa Lyngos. "When you get married, have kids, get into a career, you are painting a mural of your life. When it messes up, you may feel like you are reeling." Try to ground yourself with some concrete questions like these:

  • How has my daily or weekly routine changed?
  • What elements of my old routine would I like to preserve, and what do I want to get rid of?
  • What are my goals? How have these changed from my goals before the divorce?
  • What am I thankful for?

Focusing on your routine can help you prioritize parts of your life that you truly enjoy. Maria Sullivan of iDate says there's an important distinction to make here; is it the person you are missing or the lifestyle you had during the relationship? "Once you can figure out what you are missing, it helps you to move on," she says. For example, if a lack of family dinners has you feeling lonely, make a standing dinner date with close friends one night of the week. That will likely fill the space better than trying to meet your ex for a meal. As Lyngos points out, "With divorce, it's a clean slate. You get a chance to start over."

QUOTE-2

As you evaluate your routine, don't be afraid to push a little further and consider how your big-picture goals may have changed now that you are separated. It may be tough now that "growing old together" isn't top of mind, but it's worth it. Life coach Keisa Davis of Be You Be Now says, "It's never easy dealing with these emotions, but healing starts when you begin to open yourself to being vulnerable to your feelings."

And at the end of this brainstorming session, take time to acknowledge what you are thankful for. Even though you likely never pictured yourself in this situation, there is some good to be found. Focusing on that, Davis says, "will begin to brighten your path to a better life and future."

The Silver Lining

Even though some are more painful than others, all of our experiences can teach us something. Whether by yourself, with friends or with a therapist, review your divorce and past relationship through these lenses:

  • Do I fully understand what caused the end of the relationship?
  • What did I learn about myself?
  • What do I expect from a future partner?
  • What could I do differently for a future partner?

These answers, in addition to helping you see some positive growth from the experience, can also help you gauge whether or not you're ready to consider another relationship. Master hypnotherapist Valerie Cobbin with Brighter Tomorrow Hypnotherapy says friends and family may urge you to get out and date as soon as possible. But anyone processing a relationship that has broken up should "accept whatever mistakes they made in the relationship before moving on to a new one."

QUOTE-3

Natalie Elliott, a counselor with Atlanta Counseling Institute, says self-care is the next step to seeing the silver lining. "Simple things like adopting a spiritual practice, an exercise regimen and getting enough sleep are often all you need to do," she says. "These things will help keep you and your health on your mind," which you may not have had the time, energy or dedication to do before now.

And once you have some distance from the divorce, the silver linings may become even more evident. Davis, for example, is a divorcee of nine years and can easily list some positives. She says, "I'm amazed at my strength. Today I am a better woman because of this experience." So wherever you are in the process, you'll take steps forward and steps back. The important thing is to keep asking the tough questions and empowering yourself to grow.

 

Editorial Resources

Valerie Cobbin, Brighter Tomorrow Hypnotherapy – www.brightertomorrowhypnotherapy.com
Keisa Leprell Davis, Be You Be Now – www.beyoubenow.com
Natalie Elliott, Atlanta Counseling Institute – www.atlantacounselinginstitute.com
Lisa Lyngos, Single Atlanta – www.singleatl.com
Jarrod Oxendine, Clark, Oxendine & Sauls LP – www.cosfirm.com
Maria Sullivan, iDate – www.idatetips.com

 

 

Thursday, 22 January 2015 18:47

Your Heart, Your Health

Your heart health is a many-sided issue in which your diet, exercise, family history and even your dental care play a role. In addition to being complicated, heart health is crucial to address because cardiovascular disease is America's leading cause of death in women over 65. To take better care of your heart, implement this advice from national and local experts today. Plus, meet two local women and one man on their journeys through mistaken symptoms, genetic conditions and multiple heart attacks. After reading their amazing stories, you won't take your ticker for granted again.

 

 

Donna Fielding became an unlikely cardiac patient when she had a heart attack in her 30s. Turn to p. 35 to read her story.

0215 030-037 HEART NEW 

 

 

Donna-FieldingDonna Fielding
An Unexpected Attack

When it comes to heart attacks, McDonough resident Donna Fielding was as unlikely a candidate as they come. She exercised regularly, played tennis and stayed active with her children, ages 10 and 12. So why, on November 3, 2007, was this 37-year-old being rushed to the hospital for emergency open-heart surgery?

In the spring of 2007, Fielding noticed that her personal training sessions and tennis matches left her exhausted – more so than normal fatigue after exercise – so she headed the doctor. Some suggested that she was just tired from the demands of busy parenthood, and others blamed a chronic upper respiratory infection. Fielding had a feeling something wasn't right, though, so she stayed persistent. "I also had jaw pain, so I even went to the dentist and had a crown replaced," she remembers. During this process, she had an EKG and blood work done. All was normal.

At the end of October, Fielding's ailing father passed away. At the funeral home, where she and her family greeted more than 1,300 people paying their respects, she felt faint. Her family called EMTs, who recommended that she see a cardiologist the next morning. The cardiologist did an EKG and an echocardiogram, but again everything seemed normal.

Quote 1The next day, when she was donating some of her father's belongings to Goodwill, her body spoke loud and clear. "I started feeling nauseated again," she says. "I lay down on the sidewalk there, and that's when they called the EMTs again, who rushed me to Northside Cherokee Hospital. I just assumed I had an ulcer or something." At Northside Cherokee in Canton, doctors found that her enzyme levels were elevated and she had indeed suffered a heart attack. "I was wide awake," she remembers. "I was aware of everything going on around me." She was transferred to WellStar Kennestone Hospital. Upon arrival, they conducted a cardiac catheterization (commonly called a "heart cath") to assess the damage. They determined she had suffered a dissection, or a tear, in the inner lining of a main artery to her heart.

At that point, Fielding's next option was open-heart surgery to bypass the damaged area of her heart and restore blood flow. During the surgery, which was conducted by Dr. William Cooper, Fielding's body struggled to stop bleeding. It was so bad that Fielding's family was instructed to start making funeral arrangements. Fielding says, "They started a prayer chain, and through the grace of God and a bunch of prayer – they can't explain it – the bleeding just stopped. They were able to complete the surgery."

SB 1Though the doctors weren't sure Fielding would make it through the night, her recovery was better than textbook, and she left the hospital after only three weeks. Today, Fielding has follow-up appointments with her WellStar cardiologist, Dr. Dennis Incorvati, every six months. In addition to working part time, resuming her regular exercise routine and playing a twice-weekly tennis game, she has also changed her approach to life. "I started out as a Type A personality. The beds had to be made up, dinner had to be on the table, and I had to volunteer at the kids' schools – I felt like I had to be June Cleaver. And after the heart attack, I realized that if you can't get it all done, and you can't be at everything, it's okay. Does it really matter at the end of the day? You do what you can do and enjoy the time you have with your family. I cherish my time with them so much."

To this day, the cause of Fielding's heart issues still isn't entirely clear. Despite her healthy lifestyle and her lack of abnormal testing, for some reason, she still underwent this frightening experience. For others, her advice is simple: "You have to be your own personal advocate. If you are having any symptoms that are not a daily normal thing for you, or if something just doesn't feel right, go to the doctor and take charge of your own health." After all, no one knows your body and your "normal" better than you, so if something feels off, listen. Deciding to seek care may be the life-saving decision you never expected to make.

 

Lester-CrowellLester Crowell
From receiving to giving

The owner of Three-13 Salon, Spa & Boutique is on his third – yes, third – heart. Lester Crowell's heart troubles began at age 13. "I experienced chest pain, fast heartbeat and pressure in my arms, elbows and chest," he says. This pain sometimes occurred without any prompting at all. "Many times, I would be doing nothing – like lying down to go to sleep – and my heart would race up to 200 beats per minute," Crowell says. A faster-than-normal heart rate at rest is known as tachycardia, and it was just a part of Crowell's early life.

But what was causing all of these symptoms? At age 15, Crowell was diagnosed with IHSS, which is now known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This genetic condition meant his heart muscle was too thick, causing reduced blood flow and a whole host of other symptoms. Crowell was prescribed a medication to regulate his heart and was instructed to limit physical exercise.

Unfortunately, those management measures didn't cure Crowell's heart problems. At age 40, he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and had a defibrillator implanted to regulate his heart rhythm with shocks if necessary. In 1999, just one year later, even his defibrillator couldn't fix an episode of irregular heart rhythm, so Crowell was admitted to Emory University Hospital for 30 days. His cardiologist recommended a heart transplant, which Crowell underwent on April 15, 2000. After living with his transplanted heart for almost a decade, his body began to reject it, putting him at high risk for a heart attack. In December 2009, he was listed for a second transplant, which he received on December 4, 2010.

Quote 2"After my second transplant, I really wanted to give back to the transplant community that had taken such great care of me," Crowell says. So in 2011, he tapped into his professional skills as a salon owner and used them for a charitable cause. He hosted the first "Angels of Life" Hair and Fashion Show to raise money for Georgia Transplant Foundation, which helps families pay for transplant necessities such as medications and hospital bills. The event has continued each year since, featuring guest speakers, models and fashion trends from local boutiques. Join 600 attendees this fall to support the cause and Crowell himself, because as he says, "Seeing the community come together each year brings warmth and gratitude to my hearts!"

 

Katy-AtteberyKaty Attebery
A Survivor with a Cause
By Nicole Letts


Any heart attack survivor can consider herself lucky to have come through such a serious health event. When someone has not one, not two, but three heart attacks in the span of a week, it's enough to make her rededicate her life to spreading the word about women's heart health.

One morning in November of 1997, a week after her 54th birthday, Attebery says, "I couldn't get a breath. I saw dots in front of my eyes, and I had a horrible metallic taste in my mouth." She decided to drive herself to an emergency room in Atlanta. Once there, nurses and doctors mistook her heart attack symptoms for those of an anxiety attack. She was given medication and a gurney in the hallway and told to sleep it off. Attebery took their advice and left the hospital a few hours later. "Women are used to working our way through pain," she reasons. After all, "I walked around with symptoms for six to eight months and did not realize they were symptoms."

Quote 3Later that week, while chairing a black-tie fundraiser at her son's school, Attebery had a second heart attack. A third – and massive – heart attack occurred just a day later. A cardiologist finally ordered a cardiac blood enzyme test, which measures the levels of enzymes in a heart in distress. The results revealed that she had indeed suffered a heart attack. Her care team completed an angioplasty and installed a stent to restore blood flow. "I spent three days in cardiac intensive care," Attebery recalls. "The fact that I survived three heart attacks in five days is a miracle because most women over the age of 50 don't live to talk about it. I was so happy to be alive."

Now a healthy 71 years young, Attebery encourages everyone to know their family's heart health history. Heart disease affected Attebery's own grandfather, uncle and father. She says, "It doesn't matter if [family history] is on the male side or the female side – it's all part of your genetic makeup." Now Attebery and her co-founder Carmen Perez spread this information through Queen of Hearts. In 2004, they began this foundation to arm women with knowledge to protect themselves from dangerous heart conditions. This charity's ultimate goal is to empower and inform women about their heart health because, as Attebery says, "The heart is the engine that runs the entire train."

 

 

With the holidays around the corner, and holiday parties even closer, it's time to get ready for those holiday photos. Don't have time to look your best because of the holiday rush? Here are a few quick fixes that can be performed in under 30 minutes.

Only have 10 minutes to visit your plastic surgeon? Consider a botox browlift, botox corner of mouth lift, and botox necklift. Botox, or Dysport or Xeomin, can be injected in certain amounts between the brows and at the corner of the brows to raise the eyebrows, opening the eyes making for great holiday photos. Adding a bit more to the forehead softens those harsh forehead creases. Have some mild neck drooping? Adding botox in the appropriate areas allows the neck tissue to retract upward giving the appearance of a flatter neck...who doesn't want that this time of year? A corner of the mouth lift can also be performed using a small amount of botox around the mouth allowing the lines around the mouth to soften and even raises the corners of the mouth to minimize downturned corners.

Have 20 minutes to see your plastic surgeon? Add a nonsurgical facelift to your treatment. Volumizers, such as Radiesse, Perlane, or Voluma, are great to add volume to deflated portions of the cheek and midface to 'lift' the tissues giving a more youthful contour. This improves the tear trough, nasolabial fold, marionette lines, and jowls simultaneously. Adding a certain amount to the jawline and temples can complete a more youthful and natural look.

Lastly, give your plastic surgeon 30 minutes and he/she can add a nonsurgical lower eyelid lift, a nonsurgical rhinoplasty, or nonsurgical lip augmentation. Thin areas of the face require thin fillers. The lower eyelid skin is very thin so adding a thin filler such as Belotero helps camouflage under eye puffiness, or bags, by filling in the underlying shadow. Lip augmentation also requires a thinner filler and Juvederm works well in this area to add plumpness to the lips as well as improving lines around the mouth without making the lips too large. Finally, correct mild imperfections of the nose or add height to your bridge or raise the tip by using Radiesse, Perlane, or Voluma for a nonsurgical rhinoplasty.

Downtime is always a concern this time of year. Find a plastic surgeon who uses a blunt cannula to inject fillers; blunt cannulas reduce the risk of bruising by greater than 90% and also reduce swelling and pain from needle sticks. In addition, once you get your treatments, treat with ice the day of treatment, keep your head elevated, don't work out or increase your heart rate, and avoid blood thinners such as aspirin, ibuprofen, fish oil, flax seed, Vitamin E, gingko biloba, etc., at least 2 weeks prior to treatment to minimize any further bruising. Herbal supplements such as arnica montana, bromelain, and papaya extract seem to decrease bruising once it occurs if taken for 4-5 days following the treatment.

 

Mike Majmundar, MD
Northside Plastic Surgery

Mike Majmundar, MD is a double board certified facial plastic surgeon and founder of Northside Plastic Surgery in the Atlanta, Alpharetta, Roswell, and Cumming areas and who specializes in Natural procedures, including his Natural NonSurgical Lifts. For more, visit www.northsideplasticsurgery.com or call 770-475-3146.

Sponsored by: Northside Plastic Surgery | Atlanta, Roswell & Cumming Locations
Phone: (770) 239-6343 | www.NorthsidePlasticSurgery.com

 

Tuesday, 23 December 2014 22:18

Atlanta’s Fitness Motivators

1-Anderson-Jason-no-effect cred-himself

 

 

 

 

 

"Awareness is in the breath flow. Inhale, exhale and emerge from the cloudiness of anxiety or doubt! Get out of your own way and pave a path to easier relationships with the external."

— Jason Anderson, Calmtivity Yoga, facebook.com/calmtivity

 

2-Chatelain-Maureen cred-Jean-Luc-Chatelain Pink-Barre"Keep it simple. Find a workout that you love to do. Find people that you love to workout with. Be consistent."

— Maureen Chatelain, Pink Barre, pink-barre.com

 

3-Bridgers-Emily cred-Caleb-Peavy"Ditch the long cardio sessions for heavier lifting – even the women. Find proper instruction in doing so! Try out a few CrossFit gyms nearby and see if it is a good fit for you. Have fun with your fitness. Find a friend to keep you accountable and embrace the suck factor together!"

— Emily Bridgers, CrossFit Terminus, crossfitterminus.com

 

 

4-Tanker-Potts-Lisa cred-Boutique-Body-Fitness"Each day, take action to reach your fitness goals. The positive effects of physical activity on our mental well-being are truly amazing. So this year, view fitness as a tool that can enhance your life."

— Lisa Tanker-Potts, Boutique Body Fitness, boutiquebodyfitness.com

 

5-Dothard-Robert"I'm almost 54 and feel as good as I did in college. The good news for all of us is that no matter where you are today, you can improve your health. Start your journey with small steps. For example, this week walk five minutes every day – five minutes! Build a habit, no matter how small, and watch how it can help your health and fitness improve. Start TODAY!"

— Robert Dothard, robertdothard.com

 

 

6-Castor-Paige need-cred"Making the decision to change your body can be difficult.
It's very easy to think about, to talk about it, but to actually make up your mind to do it is the hardest part. Start by deciding that you are worth the change and ready to overcome any challenges in front of you."

— Paige Castor, GRAVITY Studio, gravitystudio.com

 

7-Purcell-Cynthia"Group fitness classes are an excellent way to get started on your fitness journey. If you are not there, people notice! The social support from participating in group fitness classes can assist you in accomplishing fitness goals."

— Cynthia Purcell, X3 Sports, x3sports.com

 

8-Jandoc-Valerie cred-Valerie-Jandoc"Working out is good for your physical health and your mental health. Even when you fall short of your fitness goals, never stop trying to reach them. Always be persistent."

— Valerie Jandoc, Pure Barre Buckhead, purebarre.com

 

9-Roney-Jamie-3 cred-Pure-Barre"Seek an exercise studio that offers a tight knit community. Focus on mental benefits, not solely physical benefits. When studios offer a strong support system, it's easier to stay motivated and attend regularly."

— Jamie Czermak Roney, Pure Barre Druid Hills, purebarre.com

 

10-Varnedoe-Jay cred-Stephen-Marine"Ballroom dancing is a great way to relax and release tension while having fun. Try an East Coast Swing or Cha Cha class to engage and tone every muscle in your body, including your mental muscles."

— Jay Varnedoe, Ballroom Dance Clubs of Atlanta, myballroomdanceclub.com

 

11-Hancock-James"First, know that you are more amazing than you know and strong enough to take new steps toward optimal fitness. Second, know that every step forward, no matter how big or small, is a step in the right direction. Lastly, stay consistent and never let yesterday's disappointments overshadow tomorrow's dreams and goals."

— James Hancock, III, Orangetheory Fitness Midtown, orangetheoryfitness.com

 

12-Payne-Steve cred-House-of-Payne-Personal-Training"In the big picture, having a plan and a timeline for your goals is necessary for success. In fitness, your daily focus should be in every exercise movement you do, engaging the muscles with good form to ensure tone, shape and definition."

— Steve Payne, House of Payne Personal Training, trainwithpayne.com

 

13-Jones-Holly-high-res cred-Bob-Capazzo"Every body is different, and that means everyone's goals are different! No matter where you start or how challenging the journey, never quit. The hardest days will make you feel the most accomplished."

— Holly Jones, exhale Spa Avalon, exhalespa.com

 

 

14-Pallo-Dani cred-Carlos-Tapia"Find a workout that leaves your soul a little happier. I started teaching indoor cycling because, for the first time in my life, I found a workout that lit me up from the inside out. It transformed me. I wanted to share that feeling."

— Dani Pallo, Flywheel Sports Buckhead and Flywheel Sports Midtown, flywheelsports.com

 

 

 

Tuesday, 23 December 2014 22:00

Annual 2015 Fitness & Weight Loss Guide

Adrenaline Group Xercise
From toning to weight loss or a full body makeover, Adrenaline Group Xercise provides members with the facilities and programs to achieve their fitness goals. www.adrenalinegx.com

Advanta Total Health
Lose weight with natural hormone injections or mesotherapy, both of which are medically supervised at this Marietta health care facility. www.advantatotalhealth.com, see ad p. 56

Atlanta Center for Holistic & Integrative Medicine
Dr. Tasneem Bhatia and her team provide services ranging from acupuncture and ayurveda to gastroenterology and cardiovascular health. www.atlantaholisticmedicine.com, see ad p. 3

Atlanta Hot Yoga
With two studios, it's easy to unwind and strengthen at a class that fits your schedule. www.atlhotyoga.com

Atlanta School of Wellness
Transform lives – including your own – by enrolling in this personal trainer program. www.atlantapersonaltrainerprogram.com, see ad p. 52

Ballroom Dance Clubs of Atlanta
Learn the Waltz, Foxtrot, East Coast swing, Salsa, Cha Cha and more at this studio. www.myballroomdanceclub.com, see ad p. 24

B Young Nutrition & Wellness
Achieve and maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle with weight loss support and nutrition counseling.
www.byoungnutrition.com, see ad p. 45

Barre3
With two locations now open, barre3 makes it simple to strengthen your body through ballet, yoga and Pilates movements. www.barre3.com

Big Peach Running Co.
For a wide range of footwear, apparel and accessories, head to one of these seven locally owned and operated retail stores. www.bigpeachrunningco.com

Boutique Body Fitness
This studio helps women tackle overall health through nutrition and fitness training. www.boutiquebodyfitness.com, see ad p. 48

Brighter Tomorrow Hypnotherapy
Join their "Thinness is a Thought Away" group session to delve into your subconscious mind and help you release that extra weight. www.brightertomorrow.com, www.hypnotherapy.com, see ad p. 43

Buckhead Jiu-Jitsu
Lose weight and sculpt your body through group personal training or a jiu-jitsu class. www.buckheadjj.com

Catalyst Fitness
With a scientific approach to fitness, Catalyst Fitness offers a medically recognized personal training facility. www.catalystfitness.com

Cobb Wellness Aesthetics
Start off the year with their 13-week weight loss program that focuses on sustained weight loss, healthy food and balanced hormones. www.cwaesthetics.com, see ad p. 63

Concourse Athletic Club
With amenities ranging from group fitness to personal coaching, Concourse Athletic Club offers many fitness and weight loss opportunities. www.wellbridge.com, see ad p. 32

Dance 101
This studio blends dance and fitness in classes such as Hip Hop Fit, Cardio Jazz and more. www.dance101.org

Dance Tonight
Try private ballroom dance lessons, a group lesson or a ballroom dance party at this Marietta studio. www.dancetonightatlanta.com, see ad p. 38

Endurance House
Catering to triathletes, this retail store can help you find the right bike, rent a wetsuit or create a running regimen. www.endurancehouseatlanta.com

Flywheel
Get an intense ride at this cycling studio that offers free cycling shoes and tracks your workout on a shared leader board. www.flywheelsports.com

Good Measure Meals
Order healthy, fresh, calorie-controlled meals from Good Measure Meals. www.goodmeasuremeals.com, see ad p. 23

hCG Weight Loss Centers
Targeting the hypothalamus area of the brain, this hormonal weight loss program can help target stubborn body fat. www.hcgweightlossatlanta.com

House of Payne Personal Training
This Lilburn studio trains everyone from moms and dads to high-level fitness competitors. www.trainwithpayne.com, see ad p. 42

InShapeMD
This medically supervised wellness plan helps you drop weight and improve nutrition. www.brookhaven.inshapemd.com, see ad p. 55

Just Fitness 4 U
Drop into any of these seven Atlanta locations for 24-hour access to the fitness equipment you need to meet your goals. www.justfitness4u.com, see ad p. 34

Midtown Athletic Club
Stay active at Midtown Athletic Club's tennis courts, squash courts, group fitness classes, pools and other amenities. www.midtown.com, see ad p. 36

Natural Health Solutions
Debra MacIntyre and JeNeen Ridgeway can help you achieve a healthy weight with naturopathic care, chiropractic care and nutrition counseling. www.nature-heals.com, see ad p. 14

New Balance
Get the perfect fitting running shoe and other fitness gear from this store on the corner of Peachtree and Piedmont. www.newbalance.com, see ad p. 63

Northside Hospital
Seek out the experts at Northside Hospital's Center for Weight Loss Surgery, which specializes in state-of-the-art bariatric surgery and support. www.northside.com/bariatrics, see ad p. 9

Orangetheory Fitness
This intense hour-long class combines treadmill work, rowing and weight lifting to keep you burning calories in the "orange zone." www.orangetheoryfitness.com

Pink Barre
Get a ballet body without any dance experience at Pink Barre's classes, which emphasize core strength. www.pink-barre.com

Planet Beach in Dunwoody
Slip into Planet Beach's SlimCapsule, Saunatox or Hydro-Derma Fusion machine to help manage your weight by burning calories, boosting metabolism and tightening skin. www.planetbeach.com/dunwoodyvillage

ROC House Fitness
This women's fitness spa offers fitness classes, a hair salon and even spa services. www.rochousefitnessspa.com, see ad p. 38

Roswell Yoga Life
This studio offers yoga for kids, teens, expectant mothers and adults looking for a variety of class styles. www.roswellyogalife.com

Rowbot Fitness
Challenge yourself with this indoor rowing workout, held in a group class format to encourage good form and pace. www.rowbotfitness.com

{Sacred} Thread Yoga
Manage stress and get fit and flexible in classes such as Bhakti flow, Sunrise Yoga and even a happy hour class. www.sacredthreadyoga.com

Stability Pilates & Physical Therapy
Rehab your back, strengthen your core and more through Stability's classes and personalized fitness attention. www.stabilityatlanta.com

SVELTE
Get beautiful at the barre with workouts that create lean muscles without any dance knowledge necessary. www.sveltefit.com

TorqCycle Atlanta
Slip into your complimentary cycling shoes and hop on a bike for a 35-minute, 45-minute or hour-long cycling class. www.torqatl.com

TruAlliance Fitness
TruAlliance offers boot camp, CrossFit, yoga, kickboxing, Zumba and more. www.trualliance.com, see ad p. 36

X3 Sports
X3 Sports is not your traditional gym, offering martial arts and fitness classes such as kickboxing, boxing, yoga, boot camps and more. www.x3sports.com, p. 38

 

Tuesday, 23 December 2014 21:48

Find Your Fitness Focus for 2015

By Katie Otto

It's officially 2015 and time to brainstorm your New Year's resolutions. If you're like most Americans, losing weight and getting fit are probably somewhere on your resolution list. The good news is that people who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to change their behavior than those who do not, so you're on the right track. Unfortunately, 54 percent of those people give up on their resolutions within six months.

Why? Many times, people set themselves up for failure by choosing unrealistic commitments that don't fit their lifestyle or personality. It's easy to say, "I resolve to go for a run three times a week," but if you've never run before or don't have the right shoes, you likely won't stick to that plan for long.

This year, instead of jumping right into a new workout plan, consider some other factors first: your personality, other interests and routine of your daily life. Though they may seem unrelated at first, these aspects of your life actually hold the key to the best fitness plan for you. So grab a pen and take this quiz to identify your fitness focus for 2015!


After a long day, what would you most like to do?
A) Get some fresh air outside.
B) Enjoy a massage – work makes me pretty tense.
C) Spend time socializing with family or friends.
D) Crash on the couch. I don't have the energy for much else.

Picture yourself at the height of your physical fitness. What are you doing?
A) Completing a triathlon.
B) Mastering a yoga headstand.
C) Lifting weight at a new personal record.
D) Completing a TV series in record time.

If you went to the gym today, what would be the most difficult exercise for you?
A) Running.
B) Stretching.
C) Strength training.
D) Just getting to the gym is the most difficult.

Describe your perfect outing.
A) I don't need a crowd – I could have a great day at the movies, shopping and having lunch by myself.
B) As long as I've got a bunch of friends with me, I'm ready for anything.
C) I prefer to spend quality time with a few close friends, family members or a spouse.
D) Anything I don't have to plan or organize myself.

Physically, what does your typical day look like?
A) Sitting in the car, sitting at my desk and sitting some more.
B) Nothing is typical – I'm pulled in so many directions that each day is different.
C) Running around after the kids.
D) Whatever the day requires of me – no more, no less.

What motivates you at work?
A) Pushing myself to turn projects in on time and meet other deadlines.
B) Knowing that if I do my work well, I can help my team and improve the company overall.
C) Imagining what I can accomplish in the future if I do a good job today.
D) I'm in it for the paycheck.

What's for dinner tonight?
A) Something new – I like to try new restaurants and new recipes.
B) My favorite meal. Why not?
C) Something hearty.
D) If you'll make it for me, I don't care what it is!

Your friend asks you to join her for a charity 10K run this weekend. How do you respond?
A) I haven't really trained, but hey, it's for a good cause. Let's do it!
B) I'll cheer you on from the sidelines and make a donation for good measure.
C) Sure, I might be able to do it.
D) Nope. Call me when you're done, and I'll pick you up for lunch.

Pick your favorite vacation spot.
A) Anywhere with outdoor access, like the beach or the mountains.
B) Somewhere I can unplug and unwind.
C) Exploring a new city with a friend.
D) Home sweet home – I just want an easy break from the daily grind.

 

If you answered mostly As...

Your 2015 Fitness Focus is CARDIO!
This year, you should focus on cardio workouts like walking, hiking, running or cycling. These workouts can get you outside, can be enjoyed on your own or with a group and can combat the negative effects of a sedentary desk job. Plus, you're always game for something new, so even if you're not big on cardio right now, this is your year to try it.

Your first step to cardio success is to get the right gear. Places like West Stride, New Balance, Phidippides and Big Peach Running Co. can guide you through selecting the best shoes for walking and running cardio workouts. Some stores offer programs that can take you a step further, such as West Stride's regular running groups or Big Peach Running Co.'s "Good Form Running Program," which helps both walkers and runners establish safe techniques.

If you need gear and guidance for other types of cardio workouts, Atlanta's retailers don't disappoint. High Country Outfitters can equip you for a hike of any difficulty level, and Endurance House can guide budding cyclists and swimmers through their first bike selection or wetsuit fitting. Many of Atlanta's indoor cycling studios also offer cycling shoes along with class registration. So whether you're ready to invest in workout gear or not, there's a cardio workout waiting for you!

 

If you answered mostly Bs...

Your 2015 Fitness Focus is FLEXIBILITY!
You're a team player, always happy to support a friend or help out a coworker. Because of that, your days are busy, so your workouts should help you unwind. Take that team spirit to a group fitness class like yoga, barre or Pilates, where you can get a full body workout with a focus on improving flexibility.

And flexibility isn't just about how far you can stretch – it's also about being flexible in life and letting go of stress. Annelise Lonidier, owner of {Sacred} Thread Yoga, says that stress relief aspect of people's fitness routines is crucial. "Stress has incredibly detrimental effects on the body and can impact everything from sleep patterns and eating habits to our body's ability to metabolize food," she says. Including yoga in your regimen can help address all of those while improving your overall fitness and flexibility. Many studios offer a free first class and have mats available for use at the studio, so to be prepared for your first class, you just need to show up.

Other options are Pilates classes and barre classes across the city, which build strength and include stretching as an integral part of that process. Pilates and barre classes generally require no outside equipment on your part, so it's very easy to drop in and see if these workouts are right for you. Plus, the group setting makes these classes an ideal place for you to be fit, flexible and friendly.

 

DumbbellIf you answered mostly Cs...

Your 2015 Fitness Focus is STRENGTH!
With a small, close-knit group of friends and an inner drive to do your best in all areas of life, you are a perfect fit for strength training. Training in small groups or one-on-one with a personal trainer will help you build the strength for your busy life with just the right amount of social support thrown in.

When learning to lift weights and other strength-building activities, it's a good idea to start with some professional guidance and safety tips as you begin. If you are a YMCA member, take advantage of their "Coach Approach." You can be paired with a personal wellness coach who introduces proper usage of all the gym's equipment and helps you begin your strength training with confidence.

For ongoing support with strength training, a personal trainer might be the way to go. He or she can identify exercises for the areas of the body you want to prioritize and help your fitness routine progress as your strength increases. Plus, building that relationship with one fitness support person can help you stay motivated to work out regularly and stay accountable.

Fitness

If you answered mostly Ds...

Your 2015 Fitness Focus is MOTIVATION!
With one demanding day after another, you're getting a little burned out. It takes most of your energy to address your regular responsibilities, so adding another obligation – working out – isn't high on the priority list. But you already picked up this guide, which means self-care is important to you!

Start by considering your nutrition. Your body may need different fuel than you're currently giving it, which could be affecting you physically and mentally in terms of your energy levels and mood. To see if that's the case, consider reaching out to nutrition therapists like Dr. Elizabeth Young at B. Young Nutrition & Wellness. She takes into account each client's beliefs, emotions and behaviors in order to develop an individualized plan for better nutrition. That emotional side is particularly important if you feel like you're in a motivation rut.

Once you've given yourself a nutritional boost, try a workout setup like The Exercise Coach, which offers one-on-one personal training in just two 20-minute sessions per week. "We've created a workout for the average person that does not like the gym scene, hates exercise or does not have time to exercise," says Katie Sanders, owner of the Johns Creek location. The small time commitment coupled with an individual relationship with your trainer can help you overcome your lack of motivation and make 2015 your
fittest year yet.

Jump-start your healthy year! Turn the page for some motivation from Atlanta's fitness experts.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014 21:30

Coming Home

The word "homeless" may conjure images of people panhandling on the street, but in reality, the problem of homelessness can look very different. Those who are technically homeless may actually be living in a shelter or a transitional program. They may only be homeless for a short period of time. Surprisingly often, people experiencing homelessness are also employed but simply not earning enough to cover their basic expenses.
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, there are approximately 600,000 people experiencing homelessness on any given night in the United States. In Atlanta alone, that number is more than 10,000, with more than 40 percent being women and children. But several Atlanta organizations and charities are coming up with creative solutions, helping these individuals and families get back on their feet, and challenging people's perceptions along the way.

How Homelessness Happens

SideBar1As with any difficult situation, people have a tendency to assume, "That could never happen to me." But take a closer look at the common causes of homelessness: domestic violence, illness, substance abuse, traumatic backgrounds and even jobs that simply don't pay a living wage. These make it clear that sometimes the circumstances just overwhelm an individual or family and make rent or mortgage payments impossible, whether temporarily or for longer periods.
Deborah Walker-Little, the executive director of Interfaith Outreach Home (IOH), says, "Domestic violence is the greatest cause of homelessness for women and children," often because violent situations require slipping out in the night without many belongings. Mandy Putnam, director of communications and corporate relations at Back on My Feet Atlanta, adds, "We see a lot of people with military backgrounds and PTSD, and a lot of substance abuse. Many have relationship issues or illnesses like cancer. We had one man who left his job to take care of his sick wife, but the medical expenses got to be too much."

QUOTE-1Many people who can't afford housing are, in fact, working. As of 2014, Georgia remains one of only four states with minimum wage rates under the federal rate of $7.25 an hour. Georgia's minimum wage is $5.15 an hour, and according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 9.2 percent of Georgians are living in poverty. "You'd be surprised by who is homeless," Walker-Little says. "It could be the woman sitting in the cubicle next to you at work. It's people who work at jobs that you would not think would be spending their nights in cars. It impacts a whole lot of folks – people who look normal in every other aspect."

Hard as it may be to believe, a recent report from the Committee for Better Banks stated that one-third of all bank tellers are on public assistance. An average teller at Wells Fargo makes less than $11 an hour, or about $22,600 a year. While that's above the federally mandated minimum wage, it's also low enough to qualify a family of four for food stamps.

A New Approach

BackOnMyFeet Allstate13A problem like homelessness, which has such varied causes and affects so many people, requires creative solutions. Atlanta groups are taking notice and tackling homelessness through unconventional tactics. Back on My Feet connects with and supports the homeless community through running. "Our mission is to use running to create self-sufficiency in the lives of those experiencing homelessness," Putnam explains. The organization partners with local shelters and refuges such as City of Refuge, Gateway Center, Salvation Army and Trinity House in order to connect with homeless Atlantans. Once they have found interested participants, Putnam says, the running begins. For each participant, running helps foster independence, accountability, health and pride in their success. "It's a first step to getting them housed, employed or in some educational training." Plus, it's an elegant metaphor for life: you have to keep moving forward, one step at a time, to meet your goals and cross the finish line.

The Task Force for the Homeless at Peachtree-Pine takes a different approach; they offer their residents new opportunities through an organic rooftop garden. In partnership with Truly Living Well, an urban farming center and training facility, the Task Force's resident volunteers grow a variety of crops in 90 raised beds. This garden gives their residents a chance to enjoy green space, to take ownership of choosing and preparing their food, and to reap the health benefits of fresh, SideBar2organic produce. In addition to those benefits, a specially funded program prepares these resident volunteers for entrepreneurial farming and marketing. After six months, that same program certifies them to train other urban farmers at Our Community at Peachtree-Pine, passing on their newfound knowledge and skills and empowering others just as they themselves were empowered.

Mercy Care has gotten creative with their approach as well. "Recently we created a flash mob of Mercy Care employees in Downtown Atlanta to bring attention to the need for Medicaid expansion," says Kenya Arnold, a case manager for Mercy Care. "Mercy Care also has mobile medical coaches that go into the hardest hit areas, providing free care and other valuable services. [We] also reach those in need through night street medicine outreach events and early morning outreach at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport with collaborative partners."

Snapshots of Success

Nothing proves the value of these organizations' work more than getting to know Atlantans who have benefited from their support. Meet these three who received the support they needed and are building the lives they want.

Mungo-Thomasine cred-Atlanta-Childrens-ShelterAs a single mother working part-time at an Atlanta hotel, Thomasine Mungo was not getting enough hours to generate the income needed to pay her rent. Eventually, eviction led to homelessness for Mungo and her three children in the winter of 2011. When a local homeless provider referred her to the Atlanta Children's Shelter (ACS), she received free early childcare for her two-year-old son and joined the ACS Hire Up program, which ultimately led to a position as a community health worker at an Atlanta health provider. By March 2013 she moved her family into permanent housing, and by October 2013, she became one of only 100 peer specialists certified in the state of Georgia. Today Mungo has plans to earn a degree in social work. "I have put into practice much of what has been suggested to me by the staff at ACS," she says. "The encouragement and advice has proven to be invaluable to me in my recovery. Knowing that someone truly is there for me has made a tangible difference in my life."

MercyCare JamesGearyJames Geary spent years jumping from one job to another until the economic decline hit Atlanta. "By the time I did find employment, I'd lost my room, possessions and happy-go-lucky attitude," he says. "It was a serious wake-up call." The second time he became homeless was due to drinking and bereavement. "I just couldn't pull myself together," he says. "It was during that time I was hit by a car." Following the accident, Geary was taken to Grady Hospital with a number of fractures and broken bones that would require surgery. While recuperating at Grady, a nurse from Mercy Care encouraged him to take advantage of their Recuperative Care Program at the Gateway Center, which exists for sick or injured patients who are medically well enough to be discharged from the hospital but who don't have a home in which to recover. After a few months in recuperative care, Geary was transferred to the Veteran's Transitional Housing Program (VTHP), where he is still recuperating and building up his physical endurance. "I'm not going to hold my breath waiting on a disability check," he says. "If I can work, then I will work."

Sidwell-Corliz-2 cred-Interfaith-Outreach-HouseAfter her divorce, Corliz Sidwell chose to avoid more fighting by giving her ex everything and starting over, which led her into homelessness. Thankfully a friend at her church told her about IOH. "The life skills program they offered taught me how to save and manage money," she says. "IOH is a place that fills you with hope. It inspired me to continue on and give back." After graduating the program, Sidwell graduated magna cum laude with degrees in both medical office administration and medical assisting from Gwinnett College. Today she lives in Sandy Springs and works as a clinical research assistant at Infectious Disease Specialists of Atlanta.

As these stories show, the most important fact to recognize is that people experiencing homelessness are just that – people. They deserve support and encouragement through difficult times, which you can help provide. And anyone who gets involved in support efforts quickly recognizes, Arnold says, "There is no great dividing line between themselves and those experiencing homelessness."

 


Editorial Resources

Atlanta Children's Shelter – www.acsatl.org
Atlanta Mission – www.atlantamission.org
Back on My Feet Atlanta – www.atlanta.backonmyfeet.org
City of Refuge – www.cityofrefugeatl.org
HomeAid Atlanta – www.homeaid.org
Interfaith Outreach Home – www.iohome.org
Lost-N-Found Youth – www.lnfy.org
Mercy Care Atlanta – www.mercyatlanta.org
Metro Atlanta Task Force – www.atlantataskforceforhomeless.org
National Alliance to End Homelessness – www.endhomelessness.org
U.S. Census Bureau, Atlanta Region – www.census.gov/regions/atlanta