Health Fitness Revolution and its founder Samir Becic are looking for the Top 10 Fittest Mayors of 2018. Since 2013, HFR has been creating lists of the fittest politicians in various branches of government in order to motivate Americans to embrace a healthier lifestyle.
We were able to get an exclusive interview with the mayor of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and after talking to Mayor Sharon Weston Broome, all we have to say that she is an inspiration to everyone. She saw that she could make a healthy change and she did it. Through hard work, perseverance, and a well thought out diet, she lost 27 pounds. Mayor Sharon Weston Broome is an example that anyone can make changes to their lifestyle and benefit from the results!
Samir Becic: When you are fit, when you are healthy, you’re motivating hundreds and thousands and tens of thousands of people and therefore you are one of the best ambassadors for a healthy lifestyle.
Mayor Broome: Well, I will tell you that I didn’t realize the impact that I was having on citizens until a number of them have come up to me when they see me in public saying they notice my weight loss and that I have encouraged them to do something for themselves. One lady came up to me and said I’ve encouraged her to start bike riding. Others have asked what I have been doing and they want to make some changes in their lifestyles as well. You know, coming from Louisiana, we have…
Cajun food… Creole food…
(Laughs) Oh yeah, I will have to give this plug, in Baton Rouge we have some of the best food in the country and sometimes our favorite pastime is going to the newest restaurant or certainly accommodating our taste buds. We love to celebrate with good food so it’s easy to put on those pounds. I have found through my journey that I can still enjoy the great cuisine but also live a healthy lifestyle.
And that is the main point that we need to tell America. Everybody thinks if they start losing weight, they will stop eating period. It’s not like that mayor, and please I’m sure you’re speaking to your voters who adore you and make sure you tell them that. Because people are scared. That’s one of the phobias that we have to fight in order to make America healthier and fitter. How do you feel now versus when you used to be 27 pounds heavier?
Oh, I feel amazing. I feel better about how I look and how my clothes fit. I have not gone out and purchased a new wardrobe, but what I have done is taken my clothes to the tailor and have them taken up. Feeling good about how you look is important to how you carry yourself. All of it works together. Your mental attitude about yourself your physical composition – all of that works together. For some people, it may not be a big deal but for me, it was. I became a pescatarian over a decade ago, I believe 15 years now, or close to it. While I made a healthy lifestyle change in becoming a pescatarian, I was not balancing my lifestyle with my foods. So, what am I eating? Well as a pescatarian I’m eating fish, but I was eating a lot of fried fish. As a pescatarian I can still eat a lot of starches. I did go on a diet that helped me a lot and I’ve been wanting not to give this company a lot of publicity because I think they should work with my mayoral health city initiative before I give them any credit, but I did Weight Watchers, and what I found about Weight Watchers is that it’s updated itself. So it’s not the Weight Watchers of years ago. With the freestyle Weight Watchers, it really afforded me the opportunity to eat myriads of food. It gave me a myriad of choices, but it gave me discipline in the choices that I’ve made. So when I saw that I started losing weight, I was motivated and now I have established a habit as it relates to my food choices. And guess what? I still enjoy my food. You know, I love the food that I eat.
Mayor, nothing is better when you are dieting and you’re decently strict with your diet and then when you have one day when you can eat anything you want and that taste 10 times better. (laughs)
Broome: Exactly, and you know I tell people that all the time, that everybody has to find their own path. But I know on a healthcare journey that there is a path for everyone and people can identify the path that works for them. For example, for some people, Weight Watchers may not work because I did not go to a group. I held myself accountable through their app, so certainly, self-accountability may not work for some other people. They may need stronger accountability. But for me, I held myself accountable.
You’re running one of the largest cities in America. You are disciplined and strict. So, it will be easier for you of course. But nevertheless, Mayor, you are a great example of how a healthy lifestyle can change you even when you are already successful. So, you’re successful, you feel great, and then you drop 27 pounds. That positive attitude you spread around means even more. Mayor here at Health Fitness Revolution we are very open-minded. We’re frameless thinkers. I was very shocked when President Trump said he doesn’t believe in fitness and healthy lifestyle. I was shocked when he said that fitness and healthy life doesn’t do any good for the human body. What is your stance on that? I’m not trying to talk bad about Trump, but I was shocked.
Scientists, researcher’, medical experts, all speak to the value of that. In the city of Baton Rouge, we have a National Research Center called the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. One of the things that they do is research and perform tests and they get people involved in programs. A lot of it is about obesity and issues like diabetes, chronic conditions, and issues that have a lot to do with longevity. So, one of the things that I know, that most of my personal doctors tell me, is that you have to make lifestyle behavioral health changes, that it can certainly reduce things like high blood pressure. Water intake can help with high blood pressure. Exercising undoubtedly will help with high blood pressure. I know a young man who was diagnosed with the first stages of diabetes and he started cycling and now that’s his hobby, and he lost a lot of weight as a result of cycling. And guess what? He’s not on medication. So, science proves, medical experts prove that fitness and exercise go hand-in-hand with having a healthful lifestyle. My goal is to live my life abundantly and in good health.
You are an excellent example of that. Mayor, John F. Kennedy once said, “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to healthy a body. It is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” What is your stance on that?
I believe it’s accurate. It makes you more alert, it causes you to think more clearly and gives you more energy. It certainly affects your body physically, but it affects your brain, as well.
Of course, of course. I published the book “ReSync Your Life” that talks about how physical fitness, health nutrition, mental, social, and spiritual balance impacts the body as a whole. Not only that you look better, feel stronger, and have more energy, but also the gray matter in your brain will increase the synergy between the left and right brain hemisphere to have better communication. You just feel better and exercise is the most powerful positive drug. Exercise is the cheapest depression medication. Fitness connects people from different backgrounds. It is one of the best ways to unite people under a common cause. In America we are so focused on different agendas, but we’re not focused as much on health and fitness a common cause that unites people from different religious, racial, cultural, and financial backgrounds. What do you think about that?
I think you’re absolutely right. Fitness is one of those shared goals that crosses racial lines, that crosses religious lines, demographic lines. And I have seen that since I have started my “Move with the Mayor” campaign. We were at the Happy Runners’ Club last week and walked with them. People came from across the city, across zip codes, across racial lines. They all unite around running. You know, I went on a bike ride about a week ago with a group that does a bike ride consistently. It crosses racial backgrounds, zip codes and it also was very intergenerational.
Mayor Turner is doing the same thing in Houston, he is building bike roads everywhere in Houston. His ultimate goal is to build 700 miles of bike roads. He is doing it in order to connect people from different backgrounds, in order to cross those demographics and get the better city synergy. So that’s why I love the way that you just answered the question. Mayor, corporations are losing billions of dollars from sick days. At the same time, America is getting more obese every year. How can we stop this epidemic? How can we make our children healthy and fitter?
I certainly believe the way we stop the epidemic is that leaders need to lead by example. We cannot mandate fitness, this is America, and people are free to make their choices. What we are responsible to do, as leaders, is to lead by example but also to use our influence to bring awareness and to educate our citizens about the benefits of fitness and educate them about the determinants of obesity.
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Today, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome unveiled the 2018 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). Under her leadership, the five major hospitals in East Baton Rouge Parish developed the nation’s only joint CHNA and joint Community Health Implementation Plan (CHIP). This document identifies the health priorities for the parish and calls out the significant community health needs that the Mayor’s Healthy City Initiative, HealthyBR, will focus on for the next three years.
Exactly and we have a problem with kids. Kids watch their parents, they watch their teachers. Whatever they see will be 60 percent of their attitude and 40 percent genetic. Sixty percent is that environment. So, we have 60 percent of environmental influence because of their parents and teachers that they will be more predisposed to obesity. So how can we motivate teachers? How can we motivate parents, the people who have the first contact with our children to be healthier and fitter?
Well, one thing we are doing is that we recently launched an essay campaign for sixth through eighth graders to share with me what health means to them. For the winners of that essay contest, I’m taking 30 students to a rock climbing facility. So that means we have to be innovative and creative in terms of energizing our constitutions to embrace healthy living and a healthy lifestyle.
What do you like to do for fun?
What do I like to do for fun? Well I like board games and games with my family. I love things like Trivial Pursuit. I love to go to the movies. I like to walk. I want to integrate fishing into my lifestyle.
Mayor, what would you like to share with us that people may not know?
Wow that’s kind of tough because when you become an elected official your life is pretty much an open book so I’m trying to think of something that people don’t know about me. People know I’m pescatarian, but many people don’t know one of my favorite dishes is calamari. Can I say one last thing?
I believe that is very important that I pull together myself spiritually, physically, and mentally.
So now you have the whole spectrum which makes you healthy.
Yes, I’m on the right path.
Keep going, mayor!