Lose weight, feel great?

Photo by David Plakke

Experts on intuitive eating, strengthening the brain, exercise for kids, and other health topics will be presenting at the twelfth annual Women’s Health and Fitness Expo this Saturday, May 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Miller Middle School in Lake Katrine. The focus this year will be on weight loss and the lifestyle changes to maintain it. It will also focus on the impact a healthy lifestyle can have on preventing illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.

In addition to presentations by speakers on weight control, the main-stage speakers will address the benefits of maintaining an ideal weight for overall health. Two Harvard Medical School physicians, neurologist Marie Pasinski and cardiologist Malissa Wood, will discuss the importance of a healthy lifestyle, including weight control, on heart and brain health. Experts will be available to answer questions.

The annual event will offer more than 20 health screenings, over 75 speakers, workshops, fitness demos, chef demos, spa services, a healthy food court and some 125 exhibitors. Expo participants will receive complimentary bags filled with health and wellness products and information.

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The expo is moving from TechCity to the nearby Miller School in Lake Katrine, where the sponsors say the increased space and layout are better suited to main-stage needs, cooking facilities, weight and fitness rooms, and the ever-growing number of participating professionals and exhibitors. Admission is $7, and tickets may be purchased in advance at https://womenshealthexpo.com/.

Dr. Debra Karnasciewicz is founder and director of the not-for-profit Women’s Health and Fitness Foundation, which sponsors the expo.

This year’s theme was developed with the nation’s alarming obesity rates in mind. The state health department’s most recent statistics indicate that 59.6 percent of Ulster County adults and 62.6 percent of Dutchess County adults are obese or overweight. Though excess weight is often accompanied by chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, the lifestyle changes needed to lose weight and maintain weight loss can be challenging.

At any point in time, one in three women and one in five men in the United States are on some kind of diet, according to registered dietician and nutrition expert Mary Hartley, one of this year’s main-stage speakers. “These diets produce short-term weight loss, but two or three years later 95 percent of traditional dieters regain the weight,” she says. Hartley will discuss the concept of intuitive eating, a non-diet approach to weight loss that “shifts the paradigm from weight loss to wellness, from food fear to food pleasure, and from body dissatisfaction to body trust,” she states.

Neurologist and author Pasinski believes the key to changing our lives for the better involves improving the brain. She will present what she believes is a program for keeping the brain in peak condition, training it with the same intent as elite athletes train their bodies.

Jessica Smith, author of Thin in 10 and the person depicted on boxes of Special K cereal, will speak about her 10-minute exercise program, touting it as a way of improving health that fits into the modern lifestyle.

Other main-stage speakers include weight-loss blogger Diane Carbonell, kids’ exercise promoter and The Biggest Loser contestant Bernie Salazar, and Woodstock dentist Michael Tischler. A panel of speakers will be moderated by Liz Neporent, author and ABC News reporter who has covered diverse health topics including the psychology of barefoot running and obesity in fruit flies.

Eight workshops on a variety of topics will be offered during the day, including: Myths and Facts of the Supplement Industry, Living Well in Spite of Endometriosis, and You Have The Power to Heal Yourself. Eight fitness demonstrations will also take place, among them: Body Flow, Zumba and Zumba Gold for Seniors, Smart Bells, Dance Like No One is Watching, plus others in cooperation with the YMCA and Mac Fitness. More than half a dozen chefs will offer cooking demonstrations.

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