Healthy for Life! How to Live Your Healthiest Life – Adding positive habits and breaking bad habits

Changing habits can be challenging and those on a weight loss journey often underestimate how difficult it can be to alter their everyday patterns. So often the weight loss focus is on what can’t be eaten. For example, “I can’t have fast food for lunch anymore.” or “There goes eating ice cream for dessert.” or “I’ll miss my buttered popcorn on movie night.”

This segment in the Healthy for Life article series isn’t about what you need to give up, but what you should to add to your day. Keep in mind that new behaviors take time. These changes may not come automatically or be easy. If you give them your best effort by concentrating on what you’re adding, you’ll pay less attention to what you are giving up.

You are encouraged to do your best to embrace positive behavior changes and remember, no matter how big or small, positive changes add up.

+ Eat a healthy breakfast (but not too much).

WHAT: Have breakfast every morning. You don’t need to eat a lot – just something to get you off to a good start.

WHY: Research shows that people who eat a healthy breakfast manage their weight better than people who don’t eat breakfast. Breakfast is associated with improved performance at school and work, and it helps prevent you from becoming ravenous in the day.


  • Keep it whole. Try whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole-grain cold cereal, and whole-grain toast.
  • Include some color. Add some fresh or frozen unsweetened fruit.
  • Make it filling. Low-fat milk and yogurt, an egg, nuts, seeds, and nut butters such as peanut butter can help you feel satisfied throughout the morning.
  • Plan ahead. If time is an issue, place a box of cereal, a bowl and a spoon on the table the evening before.
  • Choose wisely. Select your cereal – hot or cold – by checking the Nutrition Facts label for fiber (choose more) and sugar (choose less). Top with banana slices or berries.
  • Mix it up. Try a smoothie made with fruit and add low-fat Greek yogurt. Blend the ingredients to a smooth consistency.
  • Bring it with. Select items you can grab and take with you to work. Convenient foods include apples, oranges, bananas, pre-portioned cereals, low-fat yogurt in single-serving containers, whole-grain bagels (mini-sized), and low-fat cottage cheese in single-serve containers. Stir in berries or fruit to add fiber and sweetness.
  • Wrap it up. Make a breakfast wrap with whole-wheat tortillas, roll in scrambled eggs with diced peppers and onions. Or peanut butter and banana.
  • If you don’t like traditional breakfast foods, eat something healthy that you do like. For example, fix yourself a sandwich made with lean meat, low-fat cheese, vegetables and whole-grain bread.

Use this habit tracker to monitor your progress. Find inspired breakfast ideas here.

Sometimes the most intense longings for food happen right when you’re at your weakest emotional points. Many of us turn to food for comfort – be it consciously or unconsciously – when dealing with difficult situations or when looking for something to do when bored.

To keep food out of your mood, try these suggestions.

  • Distract yourself from eating by calling a friend, running an errand, or going for a walk. When you focus your mind on something else, the food cravings may quickly go away.
  • Don’t keep comfort foods in the house. If you turn to high-fat, high-calorie foods whenever your upset or depressed, try to get rid of them.
  • Identify your mood. Often the urge to eat can be attributed to a specific mood and not to physical hunger.
  • When you feel down, try to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. For example, write down all the positive reasons why you want to lose weight.


Other Resources:

August Healthy for Life article

Upcoming Healthy for Life Educational Experiences:

                Eating for a Stronger, Healthier You
                Thursday, September 19, 5-6pm
                Henrico County Training Center, 1st floor break room

 Do you sometimes feel confused by everything you hear about healthy eating? You’re not alone! Many of us find it hard to sort through all the information that’s out there. A good start is learning the basic food groups and servings from each one. This educational experience will teach you all the food groups, with a special focus on fruits and vegetables. Learn how smart food choices can fuel your body and mind! In addition, program participants will work in teams to create Creamy Tomato Soup from fresh ingredients.

                Chopped Salad Competition
                Thursday, September 26, 5-6pm
                Henrico County Training Center, 1st floor break room

Roll up your sleeves, put on your apron and get ready to chop. Experience the fun of creating simple, healthy salads. Compete in teams to create a healthy, chopped salad using fresh ingredients.

For more information on the Healthy for Life program, How to Live Your Healthiest Life article series, and/or to register for upcoming educational experiences, please contact Liz Stovall, Fitness/Wellness Division Manager, [email protected] or 501-7556.





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Claim Your Voluntary Benefit Wellness Incentive(s)

Getting an annual checkup pays off in more ways than one! If you enrolled in a voluntary benefit offered through Pierce Insurance, you can take advantage of the wellness incentives. All incentives are paid once per calendar year as a cash benefit directly to you. Contact Pierce Insurance to file your claim. Didn’t enroll in the spring? Meet with a benefit counselor or go online to during our fall open enrollment and choose the plan that’s right for you and your family.

Accident Insurance

  • Wellness Benefit pays $60
  • Refer to p. 14 of your benefit booklet for details

Critical Illness Insurance

  • Health screening benefit pays $150
  • Refer to p. 20 of your benefit booklet for details

Hospital Indemnity Insurance

  • Health screening benefit pays $50
  • Refer to p. 28 of your benefit booklet for details

Cancer Insurance

  • Annual Cancer Screening benefit paid based on the plan selected:
    • Plan 1- $50
    • Plan 2- $100
    • Plan 3- $150
  • Refer to p. 36 of your benefit booklet for details

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Managing Different Generations in the Workplace

Imagine being born into a digital world with the internet and social media at your fingertips, inventing tools that will change the world before entering high school, and collaborating globally with large, diverse groups of people in a matter of seconds. Meet Generation Z (Gen Z for short), the newest generation to enter the workforce and the first to live completely in a technological world.

Who is Gen Z?

Born between 1994 and 2010, Gen Z represents 4% (156) of the County’s workforce and is estimated to make up 10% of the U.S. workforce by the year 2020. While demographers are still making predictions about Gen Z, some foresee their innate abilities with technology, and especially online connections, as having radical implications on the future of our workplace in ways that we can’t even imagine yet. Below are some characteristics of this emerging generation:

(Select image to enlarge)

Tips for Engaging Gen Z

As Gen Z continues to enter the workforce, leaders will need to know how to best engage and develop them. Below are some best practices and tips for successfully leading and retaining Gen Z:

  1. Leadership: Gen Zers want leaders who are accessible, provide guidance, help them solve problems, and keep close track of their successes. Be sure to meet with them frequently to define goals and objectives and provide support as needed.
  2. Coaching and Mentoring: Gen Zers want to focus on results and understand the purpose of the tasks they are assigned. Show them how their daily contributions matter by explaining the “why” behind assignments, and how they are linked to the mission of the organization.
  3. Communication: Gen Zers prefer brevity and conciseness in their communications. Providing information in small “chunks” helps them quickly learn what’s most needed, relevant, and applicable to their jobs. Because of their digital preferences, face-to-face meetings and phone calls may take some getting used to, especially for Gen Zers in their first job.
  4. Feedback: Like Millennials, Gen Zers crave frequent feedback from their leaders. Provide regular performance feedback and acknowledge a job well done, even with something as little as a quick “thank you” to motivate them.
  1. Continuous Learning: Gen Zers want to build “real life” skills, knowledge, and expertise quickly in order to grow within the organization, so provide them with formal and informal training opportunities whenever possible. Job shadowing, networking and mentoring opportunities are a great way for them to get well-rounded training and learn new skills.
  1. Encourage Peer Learning: Gen Zers believe peers are influential in their learning. Because they grew up with information available to them instantly online as well as access to a large online network of peers, they learn by sharing among themselves. Encourage peer learning or mentoring as a way to engage and retain this generation.
  2. Encourage Collaboration: Gen Zers are used to freely expressing their knowledge and opinions online. One way to help them feel more valuable to the organization is to provide opportunities for them to share their ideas and expertise with coworkers.

The following resources are available to help employees learn more about Gen Z:


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Protect Yourself – Get a 2019 Flu Shot

The “flu shot” is a vaccine that protects you from the flu virus. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends everyone ages six months and older get a flu shot every flu season, including healthy people, and people with chronic conditions. In general, it is recommended that anyone who wants to reduce his or her chances of getting the flu should be vaccinated.

The best time to get a flu shot is before the flu becomes widespread. Typically, the peak season is October to March in the U.S., but can start earlier or end later. Ideally, the flu shot should be given in September or October as the vaccine takes approximately 2 weeks to take effect, but the flu shot can be received later in the season as long as the virus is circulating.

Henrico County employees with County healthcare coverage can go to any pharmacy that accepts our insurance plans and receive the flu shot for free. All pharmacies (including Costco and Sam’s Club) and primary care physicians’ offices offer the flu shot. EHS does not offer the flu shot to employees because it is so readily available at so many other places.

Some pharmacies offer additional “incentives” to those who receive a flu shot. Thus far, the County has been contacted by two pharmacies sharing the following information:

  1. CVS in Target in Short Pump – Five-dollar Target coupon to those who get a flu shot
  2. Publix – Ten-dollar Publix gift card (through the end of December 2019) to those who get a flu shot

Other pharmacies and businesses in the Richmond area may offer other incentives so please do your homework. If you have questions about the flu shot, ask your pharmacist or call EHS at 501-1600.

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