health care,
education and
social services

health care,
education  and
social services

Health Tips from the Men of Mary's Center

Need some inspiration to get fit and healthy? We've got some ideas for you! To mark Men's Health Month this June, four of our colleagues share how they stay in shape despite having sedentary jobs. You can do it too!

Sidney Knight, Mental Health Therapist 

(pictured above)

Staying healthy? I once believed that I didn’t have enough time during the day for healthy eating or physical activity during the work week, especially since I am very busy with my job in community based mental health.

However, a few years ago I started making little changes, like giving up sugar for 30 days. I’m not yet “sugar free”, just in case you see me buying pastries at the grocery store! But I am “sugar aware.” In fact, I generally try my best to be food aware. I don’t believe that one specific way of eating is right for everyone, but I think we should all read the labels on the food we eat and ask questions.

Regarding exercise, I’m participating in Mary’s Center's step challenge for staff. I’ve always tried to reach 10,000 steps a day. Luckily, having dogs and taking public transportation makes it less of a mental battle for me.

My other fitness goal is to beat Oprah’s Marine Corps Marathon time this coming October. Yes, that’s right: I am now running marathons! I never imagined I would run a marathon. I was not born to run; rather, I was peer pressured to run. My first race was a marathon relay with friends. In a relay there are four team members, with each person covering about 6 miles. That was the most I'd ever run or imagined I would run in my life and it was such a rewarding experience. FYI, it took me close to two years before I started to enjoy running! Now I've done four marathons and many half marathons. Some of the half marathons were abroad, for example Xela in Guatemala, the Great Wall in China and Jeju in South Korea. It's been a blast combining my love of travel with my new love of running.    

This year I also want to try to practice yoga at least once a week. I'm fortunate to have coworkers here at Mary's Center who have made yoga very accessible through a 30 minute "yoga break" in the office on Tuesdays. I like yoga because it's another chance to move (since I spend most of my day sitting) and also because it gives me the opportunity to be present in my body. 

I’d like to leave you with 3 health tips that have worked for me:

1) Be curious about the food you eat and how it affects your body.

2) Take 5 minutes, preferably in the morning, to just “be”, to journal about the previous day, or to identify 3 personal goals for your day or week.

3) Take small steps, literally and figuratively. They can turn into big changes. 


Dr. Richard Gesker, Chief Dental Officer


As a 41 year old man who has a relatively sedentary job, and someone who is trying to hold on to his youth, I started a major health kick in April. I'm doing very simple things that are helping me lose weight, sleep better and feel great!

First of all, I'm walking every day and running twice a week. While time is hard to come by during the week, I often walk home from work, which is about 5 miles.  It usually takes me 1 hour 20 minutes, and to make it fun, I use the WalkMeter application on my iPhone.

Second, I'm counting calories with the MyFitnessPal application, which simply reminds me not to over eat.  I'm eating more fruits and vegetables, but no fast food and no soda! I'm cutting out most carbs, but I'm not too crazy about this, as I enjoy pasta, pizza, and bread.

Third, I started using my NutriBullet blender again, drinking delicious and nutritious smoothies each morning for breakfast.  At first it was a hassle, but now that I'm seeing results on the scale and waistline, I love using it and it has become a part of my lifestyle.

Fourth, I weigh myself every day using a digital scale that charts my progress using the Withings App. I'm feeling great, looking better, I have more energy, and my mood has being very positive.  My weight goes up some days, but the overall trend over each week is downward.

Lastly, I tweet out my progress on Twitter (@RichGesker) to force me to be committed and honest in staying on my health kick.  Since April 1st, I've lost 10 lbs!

I have also entered the Mary's Center step challenge, organized by our Director of Health Promotions, Alis Marachelian.  It's both a team and individual competition, using step counting technologies such as iPhones, FitBits, Apple Watches and Garmins to count your steps. The Dental department and I are going for the win!


Jose Alfaro, Security/Administrative Support


I try to eat healthy.  I start every day with a smoothie of fruit, vegetables, flax and chia seeds, and ginger and turmeric.  My breakfast is Greek yogurt with dry cereal and for lunch a salad with fish and brown rice.  I try to drink water during the day and avoid soda.  For exercise I like biking, swimming, running and hiking.  It's important to form good habits to have energy to spend at work and at home with my family.


Alfred Wang, Senior Accountant


Gardening is a good way to keep yourself fit and healthy. I have built a 20 foot by 25 foot garden in my backyard with over 30 varieties of vegetables, including tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, peppers and greens. On an average day, I spend  at least one hour in the garden, bathed in sunshine and fresh air. Another benefit is that my family has a constant supply of fresh vegetables from May to November each year.  My wife always says that she should quit her fitness club and join me in my gardening, but she never does! I guess that she is not strong enough to kill the bugs!


Want more tips on healthy living? Click here.

Need a medical provider to help you stay healthy? Call 1-844-796-2797 to make an appointment!



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