If you are like most women these days, you are living a very busy life. Between trying to find time for family commitments, work, church, children, taking care of elderly parents, volunteering, shopping, cooking and hopefully some sleep, there’s not much time left over to take care of yourself. Plus it’s just second nature for many women to put the needs of others before their own. Yet if you don’t take care of yourself, you will not be able to take care of others!
Perhaps no one understands this dilemma better than Dr. Darlene Crittenden, the founder of Crittenden Family Health and Wellness in Fayetteville. Dr. Crittenden, who holds a Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) as well as certifications as a Family Nurse Practitioner and Medical/Surgical Registered Nurse, works alongside her daughter, Yetrevias Crittenden-Seymour, also an experienced Family Nurse Practitioner. Together, they see helping the busy woman to implement an effective, easy to apply daily wellness routine that will improve and maintain health a prime goal of their practice. Both Dr. Crittenden and Ms. Crittenden-Seymour take a holistic approach to their patients and stress the importance of healthy choices as well as lifestyle changes that include realistic goal setting and health coaching.
Dr. Crittenden addresses the situation this way.
“Many people dislike gyms. For one thing, they tend to be overcrowded and they can get expensive.” She is in favor of focusing on simple but effective lifestyle change. “It costs nothing to walk,” she explains. “Instead of taking the elevator at work, take the stairs. Going up and down stairs builds cardiovascular endurance as well as any fancy machine at the gym.”
Of course, in addition to building cardiovascular health, almost all women are concerned about either losing weight or keeping their current weight in check. Dr. Crittenden advocates measuring waist circumference along with keeping track of your weight. “A woman’s weight can fluctuate widely on a daily or weekly basis, depending on where they are in their hormonal cycle. We have found that measuring yourself is a very effective way to track your progress.”
Dr. Crittenden realizes that family life, work and other responsibilities often get in the way of even the best plan. “One of the most effective things you can do for your health is to have a knowledgeable cheerleader and coach in your corner. That’s one of the many services we provide here at Crittenden Family Health and Wellness.”
She goes on to explain, “You have to remember not to compare yourself to your friends, as not everyone is going to lose weight in the same way. What worked for your Aunt Susie is not necessarily going to work for you. We see so many women who read the latest magazine or internet article on weight loss and think they have to follow this diet or that, such as no carbs. We don’t think it’s a good idea to eliminate any one food group from your diet, as balance in all things, especially nutrition, is so important.” Dr. Crittenden advises to not allow yourself to be taken in by all the diet claims and advice that is out there. “Each of these diets that you read about has its own set of complications,” she says.
The confusion over what nutritional plan to follow is a common concern for women who come to Crittenden Family Health and Wellness. Dr. Crittenden is adamant they are not a one-size-fits-all type of practice. “We work closely with you to develop an individualized, nutritionally and medically sound care plan that fits you as an individual and takes into consideration your age, medical history, any medications you may be on, your schedule or any other things that might throw you off track if they are not factored into your program.”
Dr. Crittenden emphasizes that healthy patterns include movement as well as nutritional choices. “Moving anytime is better for your heart and your health than sitting all day. Some women, due to their work environment, don’t have much choice about that. Looking into a standing desk arrangement might be a possibility for some women, but anyone can take breaks from prolonged sitting to get up and move. But remember to do everything in moderation. Some people, especially those who are just starting an exercise program, can overdo it. There is such a thing as too much of anything.” For those women who are wondering if they can have wine with dinner or in the evening, Dr. Crittenden’s advice is sound. “One glass in the evening is fine. But you have to know to stop at one and also know the size of your glass!”
Another aspect to a wellness plan that works is learning to set goals. Dr. Crittenden’s philosophy around goal setting is based on seeing what has worked for herself, as well as her patients. “It’s vital to learn to set goals that are attainable,” she says. “We want to teach you how to set yourself up for success. You want to build a pattern of healthy activity into your life that becomes as routine as brushing your teeth. We are here to help you figure this all out!”
Crittenden Family Health and Wellness Center is located at 125 Commerce Dr Suite F., Fayetteville. Phone 678-519-0808 or visit www.crittendenfamilyhealth.com for more information.