May 30, 2013, Vol. 11, Issue 11
I met Dr. Karen Wolfe shortly after I moved to Oregon on June 1, 1998 — 15 years ago , a landmark, indeed — and started my speakers bureau. Dr. Karen, who lives in southern California, was visiting Fern Carness for a project they were working on together, and Fern invited me over to meet her. Since then, we’ve enjoyed time together at the National Wellness Conference in Wisconsin, as well as at client events and speaker gatherings. Karen always has a smile on her face and a delightful, entertaining and enlightening way to deliver a healthy message. I’m pleased to feature her, along with her new book, because I know that featuring her as your speaker will make your event memorable as well as educational for your audience.
Dr. Karen Wolfe:
Is Your Lifestyle Killing You?
I’ve always admired Karen for her ability to take complex information and translate it into plain language that is easy for an audience to understand and applicable to everyday living. And she does just that in her new book, Is Your Lifestyle Killing You? The 8 Simple Steps for Lasting Weight Loss and Optimal Health.
The title may startle you, and Karen says that is intentional: She points out that the New Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines kill as “to put an end to” or “to deprive of life,” and she says that is exactly what is happening with many people as a result of their lifestyles.
As the subtitle specifies, there are two main themes in the book — lasting weight loss and optimal health. With 30 years of professional experience as an M.D. and coaching people in health and wellness, Karen has seen fad diets come and go, often only to steal our energy, focus and commitment. What we didn’t lose, she points out, was our weight. Her focus is on a holistic approach to weight loss, with the emphasis on lifestyle changes that will bring our bodies into balance.
Lifestyle is a catch-all phrase that refers to our diet, exercise, sleep habits, stress, and other factors. “Suffice it to say,” she says, “that our diets and exercise habits can play a significant role in reducing our risk of developing chronic degenerative diseases like heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. Excess weight is a natural consequence of the habits we have developed as part of our current way of life. You cannot separate the consequence from the action. It is time to discuss the actions that are steadily increasing our weight and decreasing our ability to live happy, fulfilling lives.
“The real tragedy is that chronic, degenerative diseases are largely brought on by lifestyle,” she continued. “Many, if not all, of the contributing factors to obesity and chronic illness are lifestyle choices. It is both wonderful and frightening. It is wonderful that we can influence our own health but frightening that so few of us do.”
“Most of us know that we should eat healthy food and exercise, but the way we understand ‘healthy’ may not be accurate and most of us certainly don’t understand what happens inside the body when food, good or bad, enters our system.” Karen does an outstanding job of bringing this information forth, both in her book and her presentations, so that people can really get it.
And while food and exercise are key players, Karen recommends following a comprehensive plan — her Healthy Lifestyle Solution, encompassing eight lifestyle factors, as shown in this graphic. For example, most people have no idea how much their digestive health has to do with their overall health. “The gut provides approximately 80% of our immune function. Therefore, good digestive health is absolutely critical to optimal health. A lot of disease originates in your digestive system. This includes both physical and mental disease. I love to use my model of the gut in my speaking engagements so my audience sees just how amazing and important the digestive system is.”
She also told me that she doesn’t expect people to take on all of the lifestyle issues at once. “I encourage baby steps,” she told me. “I give people permission to take it slow. Baby steps add up to long-term lifestyle changes that become new, enjoyable habits, integrated into their lives. I give people permission to start wherever they are.” She also noted that with heart disease as the number one cause of death in the United States, this wellness wheel could easily have Heart Health Solution at its center.
Karen frankly shares her own story in the book. Over many years as an M.D., she’s seen firsthand the disparity between western healthcare and true wellness. As she saw patients and eventually observed her own behaviors, she recognized shortcomings in lifestyle choices that weren’t serving her. “As I really began understanding the impact my daily habits had on my overall health and well being, I made positive changes in my own lifestyle. I am thrilled to help others understand the connection between their choices and their health. I am happy to say that I don’t ask my clients to do anything that I have not done or to change anything that I have not changed in my own life.”
Beyond the weight loss aspects, Karen’s objective with this book and her presentations based on it, is to give people a game plan for creating optimal health — decreasing inflammation, increasing energy, decreasing fatigue, improving sleep quality and, importantly, if you’re living longer, putting it all together in a quality life.
In her lively program, Is Your Lifestyle Killing You? – Eight Simple Steps to a Truly Healthy Lifestyle (or for heart health programs the title could be Heart Healthy Lifestyle), she presents her eight step plan. It succeeds where other programs have failed because it identifies three routes to creating health: psychological, physical and lifestyle. She removes the confusion your audience may carry around and distills the science down to easy, doable steps. Participants will leave with new insights and specific action steps by which they can actually achieve a longer, healthier and happier life. They will also be given the Top Ten Guidelines and Resources for each of the eight lifestyle factors. These can be hung on the refrigerator and used as a daily reference to the principles Karen teaches in her presentation.
Other great names in this arena recommend her work too. For example, Christiane Northrup, MD, OB/GN Physician, and author of New York Times bestsellers, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom and The Wisdom of Menopause, singled out Karen’s book for special comment. She said, “Dr. Karen Wolfe’s approach to health and wellness is medically accurate and highly effective. Give it a try.”
To see Dr. Karen give a short intro to the program, go her page on my website and click on the top video. Her enthusiasm is palpable. To learn more about bringing Dr. Karen Wolfe to your community, give me a call at 503-699-5031 or email me — firstname.lastname@example.org. But be advised, Dr. Karen doesn’t deliver a dry physician talk. Count on it being interactive, fun, and life-changing for your audience.
IN THE BODY OF THE WORLD
As you know, if you’ve been following me for quite some time, I’m a speaker junkie, so I always take advantage of the opportunity to see a speaker or author in person. And especially if it’s free.
A couple of weeks ago, I was intrigued to see that Eve Ensler (creator of “The Vagina Monologues”) was on the docket to do a book reading at Powell’s (our infamous and treasured bookstore here in Portland, OR). I immediately put it on my schedule, and I am so glad I did. What a treat. She is a powerful and influential woman making such a difference in the world with the work she’s doing with the women in the Congo.
In addition to that, her description of her heart-wrenching experience with uterine cancer, which she shares in her new book, In The Body of the World, is riveting and life-affirming. Although her program was more a reading than a speech, I have to say that the content revealed in the Q & A was as good as any speech. She’s amazing.
I’m just going to say two things about it here. One, I checked, and her speaking fee is far above most of my clients’ budgets, although if you have access to that kind of budget, by all means, give me a call. In addition to her book tour, she mostly does lecture series, and only does them a couple of months of the year so her available dates are limited.
Two, the book is a great read, and I highly recommend it to anyone, especially anyone going through the cancer experience. I loved her brutally frank description of chemotherapy which she manages to gives a very positive spin, her ruminations about family relationships, her reverence for nurses, and her straightforward dealings with her docs — her entire bodily (and spiritual) experience, about which she is neither squeamish nor bashful. Let’s just say she doesn’t leave any stone unturned. After all, she is the one who brought the word vagina to the mainstream.
Until next time, take care of yourself for your well being and those you love.
For Your Well Being is published bi-weekly. We bring you insider speaker reports, exclusive stories about special events around the country, meeting planner tips, and fun stuff from the worlds of health and well being. Be well and be in the know!
The Speak Well Being Group is a specialized speakers bureau, focusing on speakers for hospital-sponsored community events, healthcare organizations, conferences and women’s groups. Our speakers are hand-selected. They are not only experts in their fields, they know how to connect with women and give them life-changing information served on a silver platter of joy, camaraderie, with a side of sauce (spicy, of course).
Finding the perfect keynote speaker for your special event or conference is my personal passion, not just once, but year after year. It brings me endless joy to know that your audience was delighted and moved by the speaker we selected together. I’m committed to making the process easy, pleasant and fun.