Staying healthy may be the best present we can give to ourselves this season. Our blogger Jeanne Simpson talked to an old high school chum who happens to be a successful multi-talented artist about what keeps her connected to what matters most. Get to know Lisa Loeb a bit better with this exclusive interview.
If the holidays stress you out, a great way to soothe yourself is with music. One of my personal go-to artists for stress relief is singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb. Lisa’s talent has been rocking my world for several decades because I was lucky enough to know her in high school, long before she racked up all her hits and Grammy nominations. I first knew her as a precocious peer strumming her guitar in the hall by our lockers, wearing her school uniform paired with those iconic cat-shaped glasses. But now I know her as the world does—as a touring artist, author, and philanthropist who started her career with the platinum-selling Number 1 hit song “Stay (I Missed You)” from the film Reality Bites. Ever the trailblazing independent artist, Lisa was the first pop musician to have a number one single while not signed to a recording contract. She followed that remarkable feat with hit singles as well as two certified Gold albums.
Lisa continues to craft irresistible pop songs for the 21st century, while designing a line of signature eyewear, writing children’s books, and supporting non-profit causes. The Los Angeles-based mother of two is well known to parents and kids for her albums Catch the Moon (with Elizabeth Mitchell) and Camp Lisa (with sales benefiting the Camp Lisa Foundation). She published her second picture book-CD for Sterling Children’s Books: Lisa Loeb’s Songs for Movin’ and Shakin’, in 2013. Her song “Disappointing Pancake” became a hit in concert and on SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Add to this a slew of film and television development and appearances—she’s a busy woman. Oh, and Lisa recently released Lullaby Girl, a collaboration with Larry Goldings, in October 2017 and just received a Grammy nomination for the album.
On behalf of Nokia, I asked Lisa to share how she stays healthy while working non-stop and mothering, and what some of her health wishes for herself and others are in the coming year.
What is something you do to stay healthy?
Lisa Loeb: I focus on my sleep habits. I find that when I get enough sleep, which for me is about eight hours in bed, I don’t get sick, I can think straight, and I can be really present for my family, my creativity, and my work. I also try to make sure I make space in my schedule for proper sleep when I’m traveling or at home, and if I don’t get enough sleep, I make space for naps.
What’s something you should do more of to stay healthy, but don’t?
LL: I really should stop eating so close to bedtime. I have focused on it throughout the year, but it’s a habit that doesn’t stick. In general, I believe that a person can eat anything at any time if they’re hungry. I don’t think the time of day that you eat impacts your weight or even digestion. That being said, I think my eating late at night, especially the ice cream and chocolate chips and the chips and tomatoes or hot sauce don’t help my sleep. I wake up at night, and I think the less I can eat and drink before I go to sleep, the better I sleep through the night.
If you could somehow give the world one health gift, what would it be?
LL: Other than asking everyone to respect one another and world peace, healthy food for everyone and shelter and love, I’d say people should spend more time outside walking and talking with friends than spending time in front of the mirror loading on makeup or at the mani/pedi place for hours instead of dancing. Although I think being well groomed, having clothes that fit, and a basic amount of makeup that makes you look/feel awake is somewhat valuable, I think that moving and spending time with friends and family should take priority over so much of the very time-consuming superficial stuff.
What health advice would you give your younger self?
LL: I would have locked into intuitive eating earlier than I did. I tried all kinds of diets that focus on my body and counting calories. I never have been super overweight, but I’ve definitely been one to two sizes larger than I feel comfortable being. I liked Weight Watchers: it put food in perspective and it eased my tendency to overthink about food by focusing on the qualities in some foods, like fiber, healthy fat, protein,and most importantly, portions.
What really stuck in the end is Intuitive Eating—eating when I’m hungry and stopping when I’m full. It takes a lot of focus on how you feel with food in your stomach, and not getting too full or too hungry; that way I can stay moderate about my eating, and it really works for me no matter what time zone I’m in, what time of day it is, and what I’m eating. I go for what I feel like eating, stop when I’m full and make the best food choices I can, which usually include a lot of cooked and raw veggies as well as things that I like, including pizza, fried chicken, cake, and toast with peanut butter and jelly. Three great books about our relationship with food and eating are Intuitive Eating, A Revolutionary Program that Works by Eveylyn Tribole & Elyse Resch, Making Peace with Food by Susan Kano, and When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair, by Geneen Roth.
Do you have a favorite form of exercise? How often do you do it?
LL: I love to walk outside and also do strength training. These are both moderate forms of exercise that I have been able to maintain for over 30 years—since high school. Sometimes I walk on a treadmill, but I prefer walking about 2 miles outdoors with a little warmup and a little stretch afterwards. I use balls, bands, light weights, some machines and my body weight for my strength training. I love working with a trainer who can help me keep an eye on my form and introduce me to new ideas about balance, strength and flexibility. I can also change my workout to match where I am that day, both physically and emotionally. I have also finally added on some dancing to my workouts. It’s just so fun! I’ve also started looking for Zumba classes, which are a little more like exercise aerobics class, but still are dancing and fun, and I end up sweating! I love it. And you, my friend, teach musical theater dance that I try to go to once a week.
What, apart from the usual suspects like diet, exercise, doctor visits—do you believe keeps you healthy?
LL: I think spending time with my friends and being present with my family, including my young kids, makes me feel really alive and connected. Singing and creating and performing also keep me connected with others. These things make me feel ageless and magical.