Kamaria Mason, MS, MPH, RDN, LDN
Family, including pets: My parents recently decided to join me here in North Carolina. I have 3 brothers, 1 sister, 4 beautiful nieces and 1 nephew. No pets, I’m allergic to most furry animals, but I use to have a Beta Fish name Maddison.
Where are you from originally? Detroit, Michigan
Favorite way to be active: Skyrobics, which is an aerobics class on a trampoline. I also enjoy Zumba and walking the North Carolina greenways and trails.
What motivates you to eat smart and to move more? My mother’s weight lost journey and hypertension management motivate me to eat smart and move more. I am a firm believer that you can control your own destiny when it comes to chronic illness and disease. Just because my mom has hypertension it doesn’t mean that I’m doomed to have hypertension too. I have a choice, and I choose to work towards maintaining my health by eating nutritionally dense foods and being physically active.
If you could tell participants one thing about the program, what would it be? Really make a diligent effort to try new foods, exercises and different strategies throughout the 15 weeks. Some things you may not like, other strategies you may love! Now is the time to figure out what works best for you and I am here to support you in your wellness journey.
Why do you do what you do? I teach Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less because I enjoy helping people reach their wellness goals. I mentioned my mother’s condition earlier, she inspires me to be healthy and encourages me to help others adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Steph Bryant, MPH, RD, LDN
Family, including pets: I live with my husband and 9 backyard chickens who give us fresh eggs every day! We also have a renter who has a wonderful cat named Max. We like to think of ourselves as his step parents.
Where are you from originally? I was born and raised in a town just outside of Boston, MA. I have lived in NC for almost 10 years.
Favorite way to be active: Definitely running! Most of my friends are runners, so I most of my social time with them is spent on our feet. I also love to hike, and I try to commute by bicycle whenever I can.
What motivates you to eat smart and to move more? My dad was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes before I was born, so all my childhood memories of him include his struggle to be healthy. His diabetes impacted almost every part of his life, and he passed away when I was 18 years old. I am motivated to eat smart and move more so I don’t follow the same path as my dad. I want to be a good example for the rest of my family and friends.
If you could tell participants one thing about the program, what would it be? Small, manageable changes are the key to being successful! It is so easy to get bogged down by all the ways you can change your lifestyle. Set yourself up for success by working towards one goal at a time.
Why do you do what you do? Like I mentioned before, I lost my dad too early in life. I pursued a career in nutrition so I can help people make meaningful changes to their health, so they can be around longer for their own families. I also love to teach and coach. Being an instructor for Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less is the perfect way for me to combine all of these components into one role.
Marjorie Lanier, MPH
Family, including pets: My husband I live in Wilmington, NC and have two boys, 3 and 4. Our third son is a black and white cat named Simon.
Favorite way to be active: I love most any group exercise class. Indoor cycling, yoga, sports conditioning, barre, TRX, Zumba, water aerobics are some of my favorites. (I think that’s MOST group exercise classes!) The music and variety makes it fun. I also look forward to the encouragement I feel from others in the class.
Favorite Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes lesson to teach: Keep your Commitment is my favorite because it provides participants an opportunity to celebrate successes—both big and small– and identify next steps that can help them improve upon their progress and make eating smart and moving more a way of life.
Favorite moment teaching: I don’t have a single favorite moment, but I always enjoy when participants share the seemingly small steps they’re making towards achieving their goals. Things like walking during a lunch break, choosing water over soda, or calling a buddy for a new recipe, may seem insignificant to them, but small steps add up to big changes. It’s a joy to see their excitement when the numbers on the scale start to prove that.
Do you have a bucket-list item you’ve checked off in your life? I was always fascinated with the idea of scuba diving, but had significant fears about the potential dangers. About 10 years ago, I had the opportunity to take a scuba class. It helped me overcome my fears and build my confidence. I’ve been on some amazing dives since and they’ve become some of my most favorite memories. It made me realize that doing things that scare you can also be the things that make you feel the most alive.
Heidi Schoeppner, MS, RD, LDN
Family, including pets: Me and Mervin (my cat)
Favorite way to be active and why: Yoga! It’s awesome, I feel calmer and stronger after every session.
Favorite Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes lesson to teach and why: Rethink Your Drink! Participants are amazed at how many calories they may be consuming from beverages alone. Many of my participants have had great results by cutting out or back on sugary beverages –small changes can equal big results! (And big improvements in health!)
What motivates you to eat smart and to move more? I have a family history of Type 2 diabetes and obesity, I am trying to prevent that for myself. Not to mention I have met some of my best friends and favorite people through being active!
Why do you do what you do? Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes presents a healthy lifestyle into realistic and achievable behaviors. The program focuses on specific habits with a real life approach (sometimes life happens to all of us!), that I feel resonates with participants (and with me)!
Jenelle Wass, MS, RD, LDN
Family, including pets: My family includes my husband, my daughter, a dachshund named Ruby, and a Westie named Penny. My daughter just started walking and I can barely keep up with her! Every night, no matter what, we have our family dinner. We all sit down and enjoy our meal together. Even the dogs hang out under the table, hoping for the toddler to drop something. No screens are allowed. It’s my favorite time of day.
Where are you from originally? I was born in a teeny, tiny town in Michigan (Go BLUE!), but I grew up in Asheville. I love the mountains and try to get back as often as I can.
Favorite way to be active and why: I am a runner. I’m not fast. But I’m a runner. Before taking time off during pregnancy, I was a mentor for new runners, looking to run their first 5k, and a coach for Girls on the Run. Now, after having my daughter, I’m like a beginner again. It’s harder now. My body isn’t the same and I don’t have much free time. But now I run for more than just weight management. I run for my health, to be a good role model for my daughter, and for myself. It’s my “me” time. Running is an individual sport but has a strong, encouraging, motivating community. I usually run by myself, but I never feel alone. I also love that you can do it anytime, anywhere, at any pace.
What motivates you to eat smart and to move more? My family motivates me. Most of my extended family is overweight or obese. Many suffer from related chronic diseases. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with health, nutrition, and food because I myself struggled with my weight and because I wanted to learn how to help my family members live healthier lives. Now that I have a family of my own, I’m even more driven to be healthy and serve as a positive role model for my daughter. My husband and I have family activity goals. We try to walk at least 20 miles a month as a family in addition to our individual training.
Meredith Fine, MPH, RD, LDN
Family, including pets: Husband – Johnathan, Son – William, Cat – Bama
Favorite way to be active: Anything outdoors! Hiking, biking, walking the trails where I live, swimming….
Favorite Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes lesson to teach: Re-Think Your Drink – I love showing the amount of sugar in common beverages and the seeing how surprised participants are to learn what they are drinking!
What motivates you to eat smart and to move more? Feeling well overall – physically, emotionally, mentally – motivates me to live a healthy lifestyle.
Favorite moment teaching: Not sure that I can pick just one moment – this is my 7th year teaching the class and I’ve seen many participants over the years transform their lives for the better from what they have learned in this class!
If you could tell participants one thing about the program, what would it be? If you genuinely try the strategies discussed each week, you will see results!
Why do you do what you do? I am passionate about helping people learn how to live a healthier life! It is very rewarding to see people change their eating and exercise habits and feel better overall!
Christopher Minor, NASM-PES, CF-L1
Where are you from originally? Born in Alaska, Moved all over the US (dad in military) But I claim North Carolina.
Favorite way to be active: I love working out because lifting weights make me feel stronger than anything else. I also love to hike because it allows me to see so many different places of beauty, especially in CA.
Favorite Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes lesson to teach: I really love teaching the lesson Check the Facts. I love this lesson because before I was an instructor, I too struggled with understanding the food label and knowing what to do look for and what to avoid.
Favorite moment teaching: The moment when a participant has an “a-ha” moment. Whether that be tracking, an entire lesson, or a simple strategy, I love when a participant says “I had no idea but now I get it!”.
If you could tell participants one thing about the program, what would it be? Stick with it! I know it’s hard to get the tracking down right from the start but do the best that you can and keep giving it your all and you will get it! Just stick with it and have fun!
Do you have a bucket-list item you’ve checked off in your life? Ran a marathon with absolutely no training, went sky diving and enjoyed it, moved to California.
Becca Wright, MPH, RD, LDN
Family, including pets: 3 kids, Eaden (6.5yrs), Elsa (4yrs), Mabel (1yr).
Where are you from originally? Born and raised in Chapel Hill
Favorite way to be active: Run because it is freeing and fun. It’s also a quick way to get a really good workout. Running always makes me feel better all day long.
Favorite Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes lesson to teach: Make your commitment because participants are excited and motivated and I get excited to think about how I get to join them on their journey.
If you could tell participants one thing about the program, what would it be? It’s Great – so many simple, realistic strategies to help you live healthier.
Why do you do what you do? Because I really like teaching and helping people become their best.
Lauren Kruse, MPH, RD, LDN
Family, including pets: I have been married to my husband Travis for 12 years and we have 3 kids – Connor (9), Molly(7) & Emery(5)
Favorite way to be active: Running is my favorite – it makes me feel free, energized, and accomplished. I also love to go to group Boot Camp and TRX classes. I really look forward to the group dynamic of exercising. I have met some of my best friends through exercise, plus it always makes working out more fun!
Favorite Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes lesson to teach: Make Your Commitment is my favorite because I love introducing a new way of setting goals to my participants. Most people are not used to making such specific goals. It is wonderful to see what each of my students is working towards, what is important to them and what motivates them.
Do you have a bucket-list item you’ve checked off in your life? Races and traveling are the biggest items on my bucket list. This year hopefully I will be checking The Boston Marathon off my bucket list.
Why do you do what you do? I became interested in nutrition in college. Ever since then I have found that I love helping people help themselves. I truly enjoy working with individuals on a personal level to achieve their goals and become healthier, happier people.
Raina Goldstein Bunnag, MPH, RD, LDN
Family, including pets: My husband Raj and our three cats.
Where are you from originally? Maryland
Favorite way to be active: Walking, because I can do it almost anywhere and it really helps me de-stress.
Favorite Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes lesson to teach: Enjoy More Fruits and Vegetables – This is my favorite lesson, because I’ve always loved eating veggies and fruits. I think they taste great and they make me feel my best. I enjoy helping people figure out easy ways to include more produce in their diet.
What motivates you to eat smart and to move more? Feeling my best both for myself and my family.
Favorite moment teaching: I enjoy when the class is supportive to each other, whether it is helping another participant to brainstorm solutions to a barrier or congratulating them when they have achieved their goal.
Why do you do what you do? I enjoy helping people find ways to take control of their own health through slow and steady lifestyle changes. It just takes commitment and a good support system! This program will help you find both.
Jenni Albright, MPH, RD, LDN
Family, including pets: Husband Stu, sons Brett (age 5) and Cason (3)
Where are you from originally? Gastonia, NC
Favorite way to be active: I love hiking because it’s refreshing and good for the soul!
What motivates you to eat smart and to move more? Gratitude for a healthy body – just trying to take care of what I’ve been given.
If you could tell participants one thing about the program, what would it be? The power is in the accountability and the peer support.
Why do you do what you do? I love to interact with others; I love to talk and learn about health; and I make healthier choices when I’m held accountable… and if I “instruct” a class of 30 people to do something (e.g., stick with a healthy behavior), then I know that I very well better make sure that I’m doing it as well!