Discovering a Wynn-ing Strategy for Life: A Conversation With Maisha Wynn
Aug 26, 2013 11:06AM
● By Carrie Jackson
Media personality and lifestyle specialist Maisha Wynn, whose tagline is, “Live To Wynn,” is used to hard work and high expectations, but the standards she holds for herself are even higher. The former national advertising director for a luxury lifestyle publication states, “If you want to stand out in life, don’t be different, be the wynn-er you were destined to be!”
As a former size 20 who now maintains a size 4 through exercise and eating right, Wynn knows firsthand how difficult and rewarding it can be to transform your life. Wynn also has a radio show on Chicago’s WVON weeknights at 9 p.m., where she is known as the Downtown Diva. She believes in the African proverb, “It takes an entire village to raise a child,” and serves on the board of the Primo Center for Women and Children, speaks at schools around the nation and was recently the keynote speaker at the Westwood College 2013 commencement ceremony.
What made you decide to change your lifestyle?
I grew up on the south side of Chicago, in a community surrounded by fast foods spots like Harold’s Chicken on every corner. In my house, when you opened the fridge, food would fall out because it was so full. Eating was comfort. I was a very large young lady and the other children would pick on me, but it wasn’t until later that I fully realized everyone around me—my mother, my cousins, my aunt—was obese. I saw the impact that obesity had on their physical health, including diabetes, blood pressure and high cholesterol. I told myself that their existence would not be my existence. Today I have a clean bill of health from my doctor and I feel wonderful.
How do you stay on a workout schedule when you’re traveling so much?
I’m self-motivated, and exercising is just part of my lifestyle. When I don’t work out, I don’t feel complete. I try to exercise in some way six days a week. I’ll box with a trainer, do interval training or go for a brisk walk. However, when I do go on vacation, I do not work out. That is my time of rest, which is just as important. You have to let your mind rest, as well as your muscles, in order to reach your full potential.
Many diets involve supplements or quick fixes. How do you determine what’s real?
You have to do research. We live in an age where you can get on your smart phone or laptop anywhere. Research is key when it comes to diets. You shouldn’t try to lose weight just for a vacation or family reunion. When you change your health to make it a lifestyle, it’s more impactful. You should have energy to walk up a flight of stairs instead of taking the elevator. It should be about having the ability and energy to live life completely.
How do you convince parents to raise their children to eat right?
I embrace the biblical scripture, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” As parents and mentors, we need to be mindful about how we raise our future leaders. Parents need to know the facts. Childhood obesity has doubled in the last 30 years, and leads to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and many other ailments. Give parents the facts and encourage them to make the right decision.
What natural products can people add to their beauty regime?
I love coconut oil. I use it as a moisturizer for my hair, face and whole body. I get the extra virgin kind, because it has not been bleached or refined. I also love aloe vera juice. I take it twice a day to keep my digestive system moving and to ease my muscle and joint pains from working out.
What one thing do you do every day that keeps you feeling centered?
I’m a very spiritual woman. I believe in giving thanks to the creator, and I take time to read the Bible. Every day, before I even get out of bed, I say, “Thank you Lord for giving me another day.” There are so many people who don’t have that opportunity. It’s also important to nurture yourself. Once a month, I get a facial or body treatment to restore and nourish myself. My “wynning” motto is: “You’re no good to others until you’re great to yourself first.”
Carrie Jackson is an Evanston freelance writer and blogger. Visit her at speakingofcare.blogspot.com.