Nicki Anderson [nicki]
What is your specialty? What does your work consist of?
I write about health and fitness for REAL people. I don't believe in diets or exercise programs that guarantee 20 pounds in 20 days. I write for people that simply want to find health at any stage of life simply to improve the quality of their life. I'm a health and fitness columnist for Sun Times Media and Tribune Company. I've been writing for over 20 years, and focus on practical strategies/stories for the average Joe or Jane.
Can you provide a link to a site where we can get to know more about you or the activity you carry out?
What types of clients do you have? Why do they come to you and what can you offer them?
I freelance so I typically write by request. Given that my focus is health and wellness, much of my work is focused on current issues, as well as personal, relevant stories that people can connect with.
What is your definition of health, and of a healthy life?
Strong body, mind and spirit. The ability to be optimistic, and embrace natural challenges as they present themselves. A strong, healthy body and mind enable one to experience life more positively.
What are some basic rules for those who want to live to be 100.
Laugh a lot. Get a minimum of 30 minutes of activity/exercise every single day. Eat whole, nutrient dense foods. Understand the value of moderation as it applies to nutrition, exercise and daily life. Have friends that are a positive influence on you. Find a spouse/partner that brings out the best in you and realize that life isn't perfect. However, you have the choice of making each day great.
Happiness and health: how much do they have in common, and how much myth is there in their relationship?
A happy life is a healthy one. I believe they're synonymous.
Conventional medicine and alternative medicine: what is real and what is superstition?
That's a slippery slope. Conventional medicine certainly has it's place and can indeed save lives. However, in the states, conventional medicine has become a racquet, more of a money proposition than a life saving one. In the states, we don't put much emphasis on prevention, more treatment. So I believe that alternative medicine allows people to learn about prevention and life a lifestyle that doesn't support medicine, rather supports a high quality of life.
Can the mind cause or cure illness? What evidence do you have on the matter?
Mind/Body connection is powerful. I'm a big believer in ones ability to create /change physical maladies, mental issues or tough circumstances with the mind. We really underestimate the power of the mind, and I feel there is more research pointing in that direction.
Do you recommend Vitamins and nutritional supplements? Do you believe their benefits have been proven?
I'm far from an authority on supplements, however I do take a whole food multi and based on my unique situation I take a couple of other vitamins to offset my personal deficiencies. I don't like companies that push a one size fits all supplement. It's a billion dollar business and personally, I think a lot of people end up taking things they're body doesn't need or utilize.
Every day there is a new product to stop aging. Is it solace that we are really buying?
As a 50 year old woman I really dislike the "Anti-aging" campaigns and the push to "fight" age. The truth is that we age, that's the natural course of life. It's my responsibility to take care of myself and understand what I can prevent and what I can't. To spend thousands of dollars changing my face is denouncing the full life I have led. I really wish more women would jump off the anti-aging wagon and instead seek more happiness, better relationships, regular exercise and good food. Those are all the "secrets" to healthy aging which is more than enough.
Obesity, insomnia, and depression, are epidemic. What does that say about our way of life? What must be changed at the social level?
Again, I think our country is pill happy. We prescribe a pill at the drop of a hat. We don't look at prevention, simply treating the symptom. I feel that media, reality shows and technology have robbed people of their ability to appreciate life. We're led to believe that being rich, skinny or perfectly beautiful is the only way to experience happiness. Everyone is trying to get rich quick or make a fool of themselves in order to become a tv star. And most important, many have overlooked the value of a face-to-face conversation. We're so disconnected, and it's taking it's toll on the general well-being of our country.
The patient/doctor relationship is part of the success of treatment. What should it be like?
Big box medical practices need to go. Insurance companies need to be re-evaluated. Dr.'s work under the hand of big business and therefore the quality of care has rapidly declined. Between insurance issues and overbooking of medical practices, doctor/patient relationships have declined. An example, after having 4 children delivered by the same doctor, a year after my last pregnancy I went in for an annual exam and he didn't know who I was. Relationships are key, but doctors don't seem to have the time. Caring bed side manner has dissipated, unfortunately.
How do patient beliefs or superstitions effect recovery?
It goes back to an earlier question posed, the power of the mind. I think if you're beliefs are sacred to you, they can play a powerful role in recovery.
Is the best preventive medicine teaching someone how to live?
Without question. But I'd add on, teaching someone how to live a healthy lifestyle.
What are the most frequent errors of slimming diets.
They don't work. They're temporary, unrealistic and generic.
If someone consults you, what is your recommendation regarding cosmetic surgery and implants?
Buyer beware. Pay attention to the mental as well as the physical reasons for getting the work done.
Of the thousands of beauty products on the market, what percentage has a significant effect?
I'd have to do the research to find out. But, I'm sure for many, they're simply a placebo.
How many times have you guessed what was wrong with a patient only by looking at his/her face?
I was in the fitness industry for 25 years and I could certainly tell depression, obesity and an eating disorder. Other than that, nothing else.
What areas of health or of medicine are you most interested in devoting yourself to in the next few years?
I'm a health and fitness writer, so I'm all about prevention.
Would you change your profession for any another?
For now, I'm happy where I am but would like to write more to inspire people to change their lives and develop a healthier lifestyle.