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Healthy Face -Dr Elizabeth Hess

1. Please share a little bit about you: Your family, profession, hobbies, etc.

I am married to Bridgeport native Mike Hess and we have 3 college aged kids and a big energetic rescue dog Rylee. For the past 20 years I have worked as a faculty physician and Associate Director at the UHC Family Medicine Residency. I am currently enrolled in an Integrative Medicine Fellowship program through the University of Arizona Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine in Tucson. Integrative medicine endorses the appropriate use of both conventional and alternative methods to facilitate the body’s innate healing response. There is an emphasis on the foundations of wellness with nutrition, physical activity and cultivating the mind and spirit. I am excited to have the opportunity to gain this additional knowledge and share it with our residents and patients.

As for hobbies, I would have to say long distance running has been my main hobby for over 35 years. I enjoy running solo and training with groups. Over the years, I have completed several road marathons and trail distance races and one ultra trail run – the Highlands Sky 40 miler through Dolly Sods which was just epic. The Moab Utah Trail marathon also stands out as an unforgettable run. I love trail running because it combines my other favorite pastime – hiking and the great outdoors – with running. As I get older I tend to walk more than I run on the trails but I still love it.

2.What's your favorite motivational/self-help book?

I guess scripture from the Bible would be my go to self-help book. I enjoy reading biographies and stories of inspirational people who have overcome great odds and exhibit the triumph of the human spirit, such as the book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand or The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom.

3. Favorite healthy meal?

A favorite meal would be a summer garden meal from my childhood with sliced garden tomatoes, green onions, fried yellow squash, green beans, new red potatoes and fresh corn on the cob.

4. Favorite workout?

It would have to be going for a 8 – 10 mile single track trail run through the woods, by a stream and then through a rolling meadow or pasture with wildflowers on 65 degree summer day with a blue sky and plenty of negative ions in the air.

5. How do you fit health and wellness into your busy lifestyle?

Luckily my favorite hobby is running so that makes it easy to fit exercise into my schedule. I exercise early in the mornings. I like the quiet of the morning and the sunrise and find it’s a great start to the day. Eating healthy takes more effort, planning ahead is the key which can be a challenge.

6. Favorite motivational quote

One quote I like by the Dalai Lama is, “The goal is not to be better than the other man, but your previous self.”

7. How did your health journey start?

From my parents. We grew and canned all our vegetables, had fresh fruit trees and berries, milked goats, extracted honey and raised our own beef, chicken and eggs. My mom was giving us fish oil, sprinkling flax seed and blackstrap molasses on our food and taking us to get whole grain organic goods from the Mountain People’s Co-op store in Morgantown back in the 70’s long before it was the trendy thing to do. I realize now how unique this was and how hard it is to replicate. My parents always valued good health and relationships over things and I am grateful for this gift they gave us.

8. What are some easy tiny habits that you recommend people start with on their journey?

Coach Dave Goethals, a PE instructor I had in college in Texas always told us, “You make time for what you value.” Maybe to start the journey, begin with valuing yourself and the gift of health. Don’t try to “fix” everything at once, take steps - like add a movement activity you enjoy to your day or include one new fresh fruit or vegetable in a meal or download a mindfulness app to start a meditation practice to reduce stress. Then repeat, so today you can be better than your previous self.

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