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CW 106: Kathy Parry

In this episode Kathy Parry, Corporate Energy Expert is going to help you personally Power UP! As we looked at in her first episode with BTG, a fully functioning circuit needs to have a power source. What is going to give our teams the ENERGY they need to show up, power up and serve? But in this episode, it is time to look at your PERSONAL energy levels.

As a former wellness and nutrition coach, Kathy shares insights on why we are drained of energy and how to best build that energy back. Especially after a couple of long and tiring years. AND listen to the end of the episode when Kathy shares her top two tips to stay personally energized.

To learn more about Kathy, visit and subscribe to her YouTube Channel JUST for senior living professionals – Power UP Senior Living.

Welcome to Bridge the Gap Contributor Wednesday. I’m Kathy Parry, corporate energy expert. And if you wonder what that means, I help organizations identify what they’re powering. What are your goals? And where are the energy drains that might be keeping those things from happening. This could happen at a leadership level, organizational level, personal level, and then how to keep your team members productive and engaged. So in this last session of Power Up & Perform, I’m going to be talking about your personal energy drains throughout my last five sessions. I’ve talked a lot more about organizational energy drains and how to power up those things with goals. And I talked about the five Cs, but really in order to make any of that stuff happen, we have to be personally powered up. So if you followed along in my past episodes, we’ve walked through the circuit.

I talked about the circuit that you learned about in junior high or whatever science class you may have been in. And I want the circuit that you are powering to make that work happen, serve your residents and meet your goals, but you can’t do all that professionally if you’re burned out, worn out, and maxed out. So, in today’s episode, I’m going to help you with your personal energy crisis so that your own circuits can power up and stay until the end of the episode, because I’m going to give you my top two tips to stay personally energized. There’s a whole bunch, but I’m gonna pick two. 


So I’m actually a former wellness and nutrition coach. While I majored in business in college, I also minored in food management cause I had a love for food. The first book I wrote is titled The Ultimate Recipe for an Energetic Life. And I worked in corporate wellness and coached many professionals to help them stay engaged and productive. But it was my journey with my youngest child that got me hooked on helping others live their most energized lives. And if you listen to my first Bridge the Gap Contributor Wednesday episode, I shared part of that journey and why I’m so committed to helping senior living professionals. I was a caregiver for my daughter for 20 years. Merritt Joy, my youngest of four children had a mitochondrial dysfunction. Now, I know many of you probably listening to this might have some medical background. You might be directors of nursing or in the nursing field. And you know that the mitochondria in the cell are called the powerhouse. And so 90% of her cells did not properly turn food into energy because of this mitochondrial dysfunction. So it was in her journey that I learned how the body actually stays energized.

I went on to get a certification in plant-based nutrition and wellness coaching certificate. Although we have been talking about powering up your organization’s leadership and teams, today, we’re going to talk about powering up you and how that energy within you works. 


Well, recently I had the opportunity to pair with two other Bridge the Gap ambassadors. We were wanting to do a little bit more with women in senior living. And we reached out to one another and thought, well, how could we best reach? And Kelly, who’s also a Bridge the Gap ambassador, she’d already started something like a women in wellness webinar series and wanted to really bring together people. So if you want more information on that, contact me at the end, cuz we’re trying to do that quarterly. 

So she said, will you please lead a bit of the discussion? You’re a speaker and trainer. I said, well, absolutely. I kind of have a couple ideas because everywhere I go, when I’m speaking at conferences or for corporate organizations, I hear about this personal burnout and fatigue. Should we do that as a topic? Well it’s funny, almost before I could finish my sentence, there was a resounding yes. So I know this is an issue that many people in senior living suffer with because we are stretched. And if you’ve listened to my other podcast, I talk about this stretch as far as like resilience and we wanna stretch so that we have that energy from the things that keep us going. But if we stretch too far, we snap. Although I could talk about this subject for hours, because I do, we only have a brief time. So in that time today, I will use that to share more about how we create energy in our bodies. What that actually looks like. Three ways we drain ourselves of that energy. And then my two tips at the end to stay personally energized. 


So to kick all this off, I’d like to start with a one minute science lesson. Now I know it shouldn’t be any more than a minute. I’ve done this a bunch of times. And if we start getting too technical, that’s when we lose people, and you really don’t need to fully understand all the physiological effects of the body to re-energized, but this one’s kind of important. And the one minute science lesson looks like this. 

You have about 75 trillion cells when you’re born, and as we age and get older and we have some bad habits along the way we lose cells, they just die off. But those 75 trillion cells have to power you and every organ. So you have heart cells, you have liver cells, every organ’s made up of different types of cells.

And within the cell we create energy and we do that by fueling the cells with food. And in the cell, the mitochondria, that is what my daughter had an issue with, the mitochondria in the cell, in this process, converts food to energy and turns that food into energy, so the cells can do the jobs they’re supposed to do. That’s your one minute science lesson. Cells make energy because of what we eat. But every day we mess this up, and we aren’t as energized as we should be. 

Let’s get into those three ways that we actually do mess it up and, and keep staying on. Don’t get discouraged by this. I know we all do these things, but there are ways to re-energize. So stay, so I’m gonna give you some of those tips, but how do we mess this up?


Number one, we’re not eating the right foods. Well, I’m gonna tell you a little story about vitamins and minerals and how this works in our body. About 90% of us are deficient in vitamins and minerals that we need to turn that food into energy, in the cellular level. So we’re deficient. We just don’t have what we need. And that’s because we are stressed. We’re not eating the right foods, but out of the Harvard school of public health comes a term for this and it’s called triage nutrition. Now, many of you have to triage throughout your days because things come in that are emergencies and you have to take care of ’em and, and you have to prioritize what’s the most urgent and who needs my attention the most? Well, this happens in your body too. See, 9 out of 10 of us don’t have what we need.

So your brain then starts to go into this triage role. So it says, okay, I have 75 trillion cells and the liver cells need vitamin D today. And the heart needs vitamin D today, but I don’t have enough vitamin D to get it to all 32 organs that need it. So bones, you’re just gonna be deficient in vitamin D today because I can keep this body alive with just, you know, brittle bones, not that important. Or how about the thyroid thyroid could use a little vitamin D, but it’s just not gonna get it today because it’s not that important how the signaling happens in your body and whether your temperature’s regulated. So when we are deficient in vitamins, minerals, plant-based nutrients, our cells aren’t getting what they need to power us up. And unfortunately, it’s just so easy to make those quick decisions with food and pick up things that might not be nutrient dense.

So what I’m encouraging you to do is really think about what you are powering your cells with, cuz you need not only the vitamins and minerals, but you also need the phytonutrients and the flavonoids that come from plant based food. Now don’t walk away from this podcast thinking, oh my, Kathy wants us all to be vegetarians. I will say my daughter, who I kept alive for 20 years, even though her life expectancy was only two years, was a vegan. When I did a lot of the studying, I realized that in order to energize the cells the most efficiently, having a diet high in plant based foods is very important. So if you aren’t currently doing that, if you go to your refrigerator, and you open up that veggie drawer and it’s looking a little slim, I would encourage you to think about adding in more of those whole real foods and many of them in the form of plants.

That’s where we get those energizing nutrients is mostly from our plants. Yes, we need our proteins. And in this country, we eat a lot of meat. We eat probably double to almost three quarters, more protein per day, than we need to actually power up. Now, this podcast I just recorded right after the Kentucky Derby, and to watch those thoroughbred horses run and that beauty, that of their muscles. And then to think that that animal is a vegetarian kind of gives you time to pause and think, okay, maybe I don’t need quite as much animal protein as I’m eating. And maybe I don’t need as many carbs in the form of white flour carbs or corn based carbs. And instead could find a way to work in some of those plant based nutrients. So that’s the first way that we kind of mess up this energy cycle in our bodies. We’re not getting the right nutrients for the mitochondrial to convert into energy. 


Well, the second thing we do, and especially in America is, we eat a lot of sugar and a lot of chemically based foods are what I call fake foods. Let’s talk about sugar, real briefly. So the average American, according to the world health organization, not just American, the average human, can safely process between 25 and 30 grams of added sugar per day. When I say added sugar, these are sugars that are not from fruits, not natural based sugars. White sugar corn syrup, those are all added sugars. Well, that’s what we can safely process. But the average American takes in about 100 grams of added sugars per day. So almost two to three times more than our bodies can safely process. Well, we know in this country we have an epidemic of rising type two diabetes.

In the next 15 years, the health effects and the demands on our healthcare system because of this huge influx of type two diabetes, and all of the things that happen because of it, are really going to take a hit to our healthcare systems. And those of us serving in that capacity as our aging residents, more and more come to our facilities with that type two diabetes, it’s gonna make an impact. Sugar in this form only decreases energy in our bodies. When we take it in, we might get that sugar rush, that hit, and it feels so good. And we’re like, yeah, I have energy, but it’s a false sense of energy. We can’t process it as quickly as our body would want us to because we’re taking in so much. So all day long, we’re having sugar spikes and sugar spikes and sugar spikes and our systems can’t keep up.

Our pancreases can’t make enough insulin. And pretty soon, you go to the doctor and the doctor says, Hey, your sugar number’s high. Well, what that means is you just aren’t processing it as efficiently as you should because too much is coming in. Systems wear out. The pancreas starts to break down. You can no longer keep up. 


I used to, when I taught classes, I’d equate this to what I call the three baby, the third child rule. So the first child, you know, if you are a parent, you know how this works. But the first child comes and the child cries, the baby cries, and you immediately run to it and you give it all the attention it needs. Well, that’s how your pancreas is working when you’re young and everything’s going great, and you can process sugar. 

Well then the second child comes along and it starts crying. You’re like, well, I’ll get over to the child. It’s probably not that urgent. And it just takes you a little longer to see what they need. This is what starts to happen when we don’t metabolize our sugar well, or we’ve been taking in too much. Our systems just don’t work as quickly. 

And then finally, you know, if you have a third child and it starts to cry, you just kinda look around and say, can someone help that baby? Can you go see what your brother needs? You’re just not able because you’re dealing with your other kids and everything else going on. So that’s what it sort of looks like in your body. You just slow down in response to that urgency. So, I know this is really difficult and I’m gonna give you, at the end, a couple tips of how to work with that sugar.

And then the second thing that we’re taking in too much of is what I call those fake foods. So many of the foods that we love because manufacturers of those foods keep us addicted to them. I like to pick on a few well known snack brands that have very expensive super bowl commercials. The reason that they want to produce these foods with all the chemicals is so that you keep buying. They are not concerned about your health. You might say yes, but the FDA would not allow these chemicals in our food. If they weren’t safe. Well, about every 5 to 10 years, we remove a new chemical from our food supply because it is deemed unsafe. The other thing the FDA doesn’t look at is what I call your personal chemical soup. So you take in chemicals all day long through the air, through the skincare products you use, through what you put on your hair, through the food, and you have a chemical soup going on inside your body.

Well, no one knows, like how the reaction from all those different chemicals, what it will be on your cells and how it might be damaging cells. The reason this drains you of energy is because your body has to detox all these chemicals out. So your liver does extra work. Your skin is a detoxer. It does extra work. Your digestive system is doing extra work. See, all that work that is going just to detoxing your body is robbing you of energy to do all that great stuff you wanna do each day. So that’s the second thing we’re doing. We’re just eating too much sugar and too many of those chemical filled foods. 


And the third thing that we do to mess up our energy levels is we’re not sleeping enough, and sleep is a tough one because you can’t just automatically turn off those stress responses every night. You might toss, you might turn, and maybe you had sugar late at night, and that’s keeping you up. We’re not great at sleep in this country, but it’s so important because when we do get that magic seven to eight hours of sleep, the repair and restore functions that happen when we sleep, start to kick in. And we need those repair and restore functions to stay energized throughout the day. If we’re just not sleeping, they don’t happen. Besides just that, we’re tired the next day, and it becomes a vicious cycle. 

So tips on this are, get into a routine, limit any caffeine or sugar to earlier in the day, so it’s not disrupting sleep. Come up with some methods. Now at the end, I’m gonna tell you a little bit more about a YouTube channel that I’ve started just for senior living professionals. But I do have a couple videos on there about getting that sleep and some tips to do it. 


Well, I know all this stuff is hard to make happen. We’re busy. Our jobs are demanding. Our families take time, but it’s so important to take care of you, so you can serve the people who need you. Be there for your family. Live your most vital and engaged life. 

You’re in senior living for a reason. It’s because you care about other people. But through this episode, I’m really hoping that you move yourself into that category, as someone who needs to be taken care of. We can’t do all the great stuff we wanna do, if we are personally not energized. Well, now , as I promise my top two tips for increasing energy, these are things you probably already know. You could Google any of it, but again, as a former coach, I know that accountability is what makes wellness goals happen.


So my first tip to increase energy is to make a plan. Prioritize yourself, whether that is with getting with a coach, whether it’s saying each week, I’m gonna take one little step closer to a wellness goal. When I worked with people, it was one goal a week. We only worked on one thing. The worst thing you can do is try to do everything, like I’m gonna quit sugar, cold turkey. I’m gonna eat 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, which is probably too many. But we go all gung ho, and then we wear out. So my first tip is, think about the thing that you really think you wanna concentrate on. Is it adding more real whole foods? Is it moving and exercising a little bit more? Is it reducing sugar? Is it working on that sleep? Pick one and then make a small goal? So that’s the first tip. 


My second, if I could encourage anyone who is listening, please take a look at your relationship with sugar. Sugar by the American dietetics and the American diabetics associations has been listed as the, in the top three causes of degenerative disease. We just have a very unhealthy relationship with sugar in this country. Again, in my last tip, I said, don’t think about quitting this one, cold turkey. Sugar is an addictive food. It hits our dopamine receptors in our brain. It lights them up, so we feel good. If you try to quit it cold turkey, you’ll probably go wrong. It’ll probably just be feeling deprived. I know, I went through this. I kicked a sugar habit about 25 years ago. And when I decided I was gonna portion out my pieces of chocolate for the day, because that’s how much I should have, I went into deprivation mode and I thought, well, this isn’t fun. And then, of course, you just wanna eat more chocolate. 

Think about where your sugar is coming into your day. That’s the first step in making any plan or any changes, is the assessment. So if you get nothing else out of sugar and a plan, the first thing is assess. Look at where it is, turnover labels. How often are you using it and really become familiar with where sugar enters into your diet. Then you can begin setting some goals around that. 

Now there are a lot more steps to take, and I don’t have time in this podcast to cover all the science and the methods to stay energized. But as I mentioned, my book is available on Amazon, The Ultimate Recipe for an Energetic Life. Also, I work with organizations live or virtually to create custom plans, to help teams power up, whether that be at the organizational level, team level, or even individuals.


So it has been my absolute pleasure to be a contributor for Bridge the Bap, and I wanna thank Josh and Lucas and Sarah for the opportunity to connect. And if you wanna stay connected, look for that YouTube channel I mentioned, Power Up Senior Living with Kathy Parry, or I’d love to connect with you on LinkedIn, or even better, in person. If you wanna work with me in person, I have all kinds of ways to make that happen. 

And finally, you can also meet me at VIP Ignite Dream Again conference this summer. I will be there. I’m so excited to spend time with so many other Bridge the Gap enthusiasts and contributors. So I’d love to connect in Nashville. So thank you so much for listening to this week’s  Bridge the Gap Contributor Wednesday, please connect with me at the ways I just stated, or at 

This is Kathy Parry, corporate energy expert, until we meet again, keep burning bright and live your most energetic and engaged life.


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CW 106: Kathy Parry