Women In Wellness: Veena Crownholm on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing
Shop and Prepare 80% of your meals: Knowing exactly what you are putting into your body is so important. Preparing your own food gives you the opportunity to really balance your meals correctly and eat the right portion. I say 80% because it’s too much pressure to always prepare your own meals; sometimes it is nice to take a night off and get takeout or dine in
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Veena Crownholm.
Veena Crownholm is helping women and mothers design a life they love. As a red carpet host, lifestyle and parenting expert, and former Miss California, Veena is a seasoned industry tastemaker, TV personality, and mom guru. She is most passionate about using her platform to bring attention to pertinent social issues involving women and children, while inspiring women to create lifestyles that uplift and fulfill both themselves and their families.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?
Fitness and wellness have always been a part of my life. I grew up with parents that were dedicated to both. My mom was an avid walker and jazzercizer and my dad has been a yogi for as long as I can remember. He swims and hikes daily…even at 77 years young. I was a dancer and world champion baton twirler during my youth and it is where I started my love of the post workout endorphin rush. My dad is from India, so eating a clean vegetarian diet has been a huge part of my upbringing and life. Spices and herbs were not only tasty in food but also that food is medicine. As I forayed into adulthood, I brought this idea of food being medicine into my life and the way I cook…don’t worry there is always balance….I love a good chocolate chip cookie or mint chip ice cream cone. I really learned the importance of fitness and wellness after I had my first son. I gained 70 pounds during my pregnancy without ever indulging in normal pregnancy cravings. This was a huge deal since I had always had a fast metabolism and weighed 118 pounds prior. I thought for sure I would lose the weight easily after birth and that was not the case. The first 20–30 fell off quickly and then the next 15 slowly melted off with breastfeeding but the last 20–30 pounds were tough even though I was working out doing cardio 4 times a week, hiking and eating a clean diet. During this time is when I truly realized that working out was to keep your body and bones strong and that wellness was more than a physical activity. It is doing things for your mind, body and spirit despite the positive physical looking effects… a very big AHA time for me. Also, at this same time, my mom was in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s Disease and eating well and exercise were crucial to her health even though there was no cure for her. I watched her walk a mile a day until the day she passed, it was incredibly inspiring. Since then I have been very dedicated to overall wellness even though life can be chaotic with a new baby boy and working.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
I would say that my whole life I wanted to be a red carpet reporter…and when the opportunity presented itself in a major way, I intuitively and quickly said no. I surprised myself with that reaction. I thought I would feel like I was on cloud nine and I felt completely the opposite. In that moment I knew it wasn’t quite my calling but it had prepped me for my calling.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?
I wouldn’t say I’m an authority but a mom that hopes to inspire other moms to take a moment to reconnect with their wellness and fitness practices pre-kids. It’s hard to make the time but we have to in order to be better moms. On social media I try to share what I’m doing to stay active and with a 7 month old…it’s stretching, some core and mostly getting my 10k steps in. I share that I don’t always get it done with my step count on my iPhone/Iwatch and that resonates with people, but I try and that’s the most important thing.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I think it always takes a village to be successful in life. I’m grateful to my mom and dad for being a good example and my hubby for always reminding me that with every failure you are one step closer to success.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives? The three main blockages that prevent us from taking action are:
- Change is hard. It is hard to break old habits and form new ones
- We try to take too BIG of a step to wellness. Itty Bitty baby steps that we can easily integrate into our lives are more sustainable. As we accomplish one baby step, we can add another and before you know it we have made that BIG step, just broken down into little tiny ones we could easily check off. Try one life change at a time.
- Not having an accountability partner. Having someone to check in on your goals with on a regular basis is key.
Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)
- Play: Make time to play, laugh and have FUN with your kids, your partner and/or friends. Laughter is truly the best medicine
- Get outside: It can be a quick solo walk or maybe a walk with the family or dog…fresh air is an instant mood booster
- Shop and Prepare 80% of your meals: Knowing exactly what you are putting into your body is so important. Preparing your own food gives you the opportunity to really balance your meals correctly and eat the right portion. I say 80% because it’s too much pressure to always prepare your own meals; sometimes it is nice to take a night off and get takeout or dine in
- No phones during meal time: this is the time to check out of work or social media and check in with yourself and your family. Scheduling screen free time is crucial to your mental health
- Give yourself grace.
As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain? Exercise is good for the mind, body and soul. When you exercise you kick up your endorphins, which is an instant mood booster.
Exercise helps keep your bones strong, especially as you get older.
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
Hands down always walking, planks and the cat/cow stretch
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
Eckhart Tolle…the power of now. So many times we get stuck in the past or waiting for the future…but the now is incredibly powerful. Why do we waste so much time wanting to be somewhere else other than the present. Let go of the ego, let go of the past and start living in the moment. I struggle with this sometimes and listening to Eckhart and Oprah’s podcast A New Earth is a good reminder for me
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
Cooking at home with your kids! Cooking with kids is the best way to get kids excited about eating veggies and more nutritious foods…it’s messier but fun and everyone gets excited about meal time. I’m a huge advocate of cooking with kids. It also gives them the life skill to cook as they grow into adults.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“Run your own race” I love this quote because it reminds me that I am on my own journey in this world. My life is running at its own pace. I cannot compare my life and my life’s timeline to others because we are each running our own race with our own hurdles and our own successes.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)
Michelle Obama for sure! She has a way with words that constantly gives me an AHA moment. She is real, raw, relatable and inspiring. She seems to be able to move past injustices and make them into learning moments. Even after her time in the White House she continues to be a changemaker from her book to creating a Netflix show for kids. She is a mom I would love to meet.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
You can find me on Instagram/FB at @veenacrownholm or own my website www.veenagoelcrownholm.com
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!