#BusyBeingHealthy with TaRhonda Thomas

image001Hopefully by now you’re following our 9Health Fair #BusyBeingHealthy social media campaign. So far, we have featured 9News Morning Show Anchor Corey Rose and 9News Meteorologist Marty Coniglio and their strategies for staying #BusyBeingHealthy. This week, we chatted with 9News Anchor/Reporter TaRhonda Thomas to learn how she’s #BusyBeingHealthy.

9Health Fair: You always participate in 9Health Fair. Why is the important for you and how do you use your results?

TaRhonda: I like to participate in 9Health Fair because I feel like I learn something new every time. Whether it’s tips on healthy eating or information on analyzing blood test results, I appreciate having so much information provided all in one place. I never realized how important the blood screening was, prior to hearing about it at 9Health Fair. It’s helped me make some adjustments to daily habits, to try to be as healthy as possible.

9Health Fair: Your schedule is way different from most people’s. How do you manage your sleep? Particularly when those around you are on different sleep schedules?

TaRhonda:  Let me just say— morning shows and “mommyhood” don’t always mix! Before I had children, I could go to bed at 6pm, and be wide awake by the time my shift began. Nowadays, I can’t go to sleep until my three children go to sleep. Often times I find myself not going to bed until 9pm… with my first alarm set for 2am! Besides hitting “snooze” a lot… I get a little extra sleep by trying to take power naps after I’m done with work and working out. It may only be 15 minutes, but it can make a big difference. Lately, though, I’ve found that I’ve actually been less tired because I’ve switched up my workout routine. Believe it or not, working up a good sweat gives me more energy—instead of wearing me out.

9Health Fair: We know because of your schedule, sometimes you have trouble with sleep on the weekends. How do you deal with this issue?

TaRhonda: For as much sleep as I miss on the weekdays, I certainly make up for it on the weekends. I don’t have any trouble falling asleep or staying asleep on the weekends… or most any day.  I always joke that sleeping is my “talent.” If it were an Olympic sport, I’d have a gold medal.

9Health Fair: We know you’re really good about meal prep. How do you keep that a priority?

TaRhonda: Meal prep is so important… but it can be a pain! I don’t always like doing it. But I try to mentally prepare myself by picking a day to do it and sticking with it. Lately, Saturdays have been a great meal prep day for me because I feel like I can relax after I’m done and still enjoy a day off. I also get some ingredients ready early. For instance, this week, my husband was grilling, so I had him throw some chicken breast on the grill for me. I froze them. And, Saturday, when I’m ready to meal prep, I’ll just put them in my lunch containers with veggies and brown rice. I also pack my lunches for the next day as soon as I get home from work. I’m pretty habitual… packing the same things every day. Eating every two to three hours, my go-to meals and snacks for a work day are usually:

  • Smoothie for breakfast (2 cups blueberries/strawberries; protein powder; powdered fruits and veggies; splash of milk and splash of orange juice. It takes, literally, three minutes to assemble and make in a blender)
  • A nectarine with homemade trail mix (raw old-fashioned oats with cinnamon, almonds and dried cranberries)
  • Lean ground turkey or chicken breast with 1 cup of steamed mixed veggies and ½ cup of brown rice.
  • A sliced apple with a tablespoon of Almond Butter

Another great way to think about meal prep is that it saves you money! In the long run, it’s a lot cheaper than spending $6 per day (or $30 a week) on lunch. Instead, I get to eat everything I mentioned above, keeping me full during my workday and costing less money.

9Health Fair: With your job, some days you might be at the station, some days you might be out in the community. This has made you really good at preparing food that you can eat on the go. Give us some examples.

TaRhonda: Apples, plums and nectarines are my favorite packed snacks. The trail mix I mentioned (above) is also a great example of a something you can eat on the go. Another on-the-go snack I really like is unsweetened apple sauce topped with raw oats (just bag the oats separately). Believe it or not, my kids love this snack! I also like to slice up sweet peppers or carrots with a little side of dipping sauce. They don’t have to be heated up to be good. But if I really want a hot meal while I’m out doing live shots, I sit my lunch container on the dashboard of the car and give it about an hour to warm up… that’s if I’m desperate for a hot meal! And never underestimate the power of a good sandwich! Just make sure you’ve got lean meats and a wheat or multi-grain bread. It’ll keep you fuller, longer!

9Health Fair: Besides going to the gym, what are your favorite ways to fit in more exercise (walk the dog, go for hikes, etc.)?

TaRhonda: Besides going to the gym, my favorite way to exercise is by playing with my children. Now, I should preface this by saying that my children are fierce competitors. So, if I’m playing basketball with my son, he’s playing to win! He doesn’t take it easy on mom. Neither do my two daughters. We love to sprint race against each other. We have even done long jump competitions down our street. Sometimes we pretend like we’re famous athletes… reenacting big plays. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done the three-fingered Odell Beckham, Jr. football catch!

9Health Fair: One of the hardest parts of your job must be hearing about and sometimes covering tragedies and sad events. How do you deal with that and keep it from impacting your mental health in a negative way?

TaRhonda: This job often involves talking about some pretty rough topics and events. I’m a very empathetic person, so I can be emotionally impacted by tough stories, especially those that are long-lasting that I have to talk about on the news for days or weeks on-end. I’ve learned over the years that I have to force myself to unplug. It runs counter to my natural curiosity since I always want to seek out information. But I had to recognize the signs which, for me, include getting agitated and upset. I also believe in protecting certain times as being “off limits” for stressful thinking. Going to church is one of those times. It’s full of quiet reflection. My workout time is also “off limits.” I don’t bring my phone and I don’t allow myself to think about anything else. Taking the time to consciously unplug has definitely made a difference. Even if I’m just using that time to play Barbies with my daughters!

All week long TaRhonda will be sharing her #BusyBeingHealthy strategies on our 9Health Fair Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Be sure to follow us over there, and share your own #BusyBeingHealthy success images!