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Healthy Face: Tara Dragoo Perine

Each week, Healthy Bridgeport features a "Healthy Face." Today, we feature Tara Dragoo Perine. Learn all about her and what inspires her healthy lifestyle below.

Please tell me a little about yourself, your family, your job, etc.

My name is Tara Perine and I’m 37 years old. I work as a writer-editor for the federal government, and I’m a cook, maid, craft organizer, homework checker, spiritual advisor, disciplinarian, tooth puller, grocery getter, and more for my family. My husband’s name is Adam. He’s a funeral director at Perine Funeral Home. We are Christ followers, and we have 3 children: Rush, Willow, and Winter.

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

I admit, I’m guilty of buying many self-help books, but I rarely read them. (Who has time?!) My go-to book is the Bible, which may seem like the “teacher’s pet” answer, but I’d rather go “straight to the horse’s mouth” than read 15 chapters of someone else’s interpretation of what is good, right, and worthy of time/energy. Another book I keep going back to is "The Road Back to You" by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. It is one of many books that explore the theory of Enneagram personality types (there are 9). The Enneagram describes patterns in how different types of people interpret the world and manage their emotions. I consider it a self-help book because it helps you realize why you process things the way you do and also how to better understand those around you. This book goes a step further and says how each type can develop into a better version of oneself. It also has a Christian element.

2. Favorite Healthy Meal?

A good salad with all the fixin’s.

3. Favorite workout?

It’s probably a toss-up between Main Street Fitness’ (MSF) barre and boxing classes. They’re completely different, but I love them both equally.

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

I try to eat and feed my family a good mix of healthy foods, but we definitely aren’t rigid with our diet. For exercise, working out in the late evenings works best for my family. Twice a week, after dinner, my kids put their pjs on and have a “movie night” in our living room with my husband while I go downtown to the gym. I also take a weight lifting class on Saturday mornings at 9am at MSF. After the pandemic sent us home from work and school, my son and I took up the occasional run through town, and we love it! We’re nowhere near pro runners, but we enjoy the time together. And more important than diet and exercise, I maintain my mental health by surrounding myself with people and things that line up with my values. I try my best to “...not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind...” (Romans 12:2) and to surround myself with people who do the same. A lot of times I get it wrong, but "He’s still workin’ on me…".

5. Favorite motivational quote? “Just keep swimming.” Dory

6. How did your health journey start?

Throughout high school and college, I did cardio exercises a few times a week and tried to eat healthy. I took a break from exercise when I started having children (from 2011 to 2016). I decided to start taking exercise classes again in 2016 after I had my last baby. I did that more to maintain my mental health than anything else. I decided to take any class as long as it wasn’t cardio, because I didn’t want to be out of breath. I started taking strength training classes and, not only did it help me feel better mentally, but for the first time in my life, I began to feel strong. That feeling is what has kept me exercising. Now I CAN do cardio classes without wanting to die.

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

Start with 15 minutes of a strength-building exercise once a day. There are lots of free apps or videos online to get you started. Or take a 15-minute walk. Start small and you’ll be surprised how doable it is. Also, enlist a friend to be your workout partner. Exercising out with friends makes the time SO much more enjoyable!

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