What I Learned at the Virtua Women’s Health Symposium

Posted on: November 14th, 2013 by

We received admission to the 9th Annual Virtua Women’s Health Symposium as part of a
program for New Jersey bloggers. We appreciate their support of Jersey Family Fun that
allows us to share useful information with you.

Demos of Zumba and Piloxing were going on throughout the morning.

Demos of Zumba and Piloxing were going on throughout the morning.


If you haven’t been to a Virtua Women’s Health Symposium, I highly recommend getting your girls together and checking it out next year. Breakfast, lunch, a chance to win prizes (like a pair of designer denim) and a day of shopping, plus entertaining, informative speakers without kids or husbands. What more could a girl ask for?



Here’s a great video recap from the folks at Virtua Women.


I attended the 9th Annual Virtua Women’s Health Symposium this past weekend, my first, and left feeling impressed and motivated to make a few positive changes in my life.

virtuaAmyI spent the morning, after breakfast, exploring. Virtua had an entire room dedicated to the services they offer. Many of the tables included eye-opening displays about the fat or sugar content in beverages and foods. One table included an interactive game, where people matched the amount of tennis balls , representing fat, in a jar to foods like a 5 Guys burger and fries, bagel with cream cheese, apple pastry with cappuccino, and 2 slices of pizza with wings. Most people, including myself, didn’t get them all correct. The apple pastry actually had the most fat. Zumba and Piloxing demonstrations had attendees saying, “That looks so fun!” and “I can do that!”. The biggest take away for me, was the 10-pound backpack you could wear to feel that 10 pounds makes a big difference and see the benefits of losing just 10 pounds could make on your health. Start small and take baby steps. It was a theme that resonated throughout the day.


A display where attendees had to guess the amount of fat in each meal.

A display where attendees had to guess the amount of fat in each meal.

Vendors lined the halls with opportunities to win, get a jump on holiday shopping, play a game, or relax with a chair massage that attendees could explore before and after the entertaining and informative speakers. Jay Ann Intimates was on hand to measure and let you know if you were on the right track with the way your bra fit. Standing there discussing how to measure and choose a bra, the older women behind me in line chimed in and I got a few great lessons about where to go to get fitted, where to shop for bras, and how a bra should fit. I also realized the importance of women sharing wisdom and knowledge with each other across generations. The rest of the day I spent learning from the entertaining and informative speakers.

John Gray, Phd, the author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, and many other books on relationships.

This guy is amazing. He talked about how women’s stress levels are 2 times higher at work and 4 times higher at home these days because we are not living the way we were designed to live. We are not involved in a community of women. In indigenous societies, women are happy because they are surrounded by a community of other women. Women build up oxytocin and then release it when they give. When surrounded by women who are always giving, you are always receiving too. The audience laughed as he shared personal stories and examples, giving us insight into how men’s brains are wired differently than women’s. Men are designed to sacrifice, to solve problems in the most efficient way possible so they can rest and build up testosterone. When you want to talk about your day, to feel connected, he just hears the problem and offers solutions, even if you weren’t asking for them. Cut him some slack, his brain has 9 times less connective tissue than yours. Teach him that you just need him to listen, not answer you or solve anything, just listen and when you need something, just ask. I’ve never read his books, but his humor made it easy to understand and relate to his examples and he made a lot of great points.

If you’d like to learn more about John Gray you can visit his website or connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

After his presentation, John Gray stuck around to chat and answer questions, and the attendees divided up into one of four available breakout sessions. Each attendee was able to attend two.

Living Mindfully, presented by Alene Brennan

I think that living mindfully is such an important topic for mothers. This presentation was a great introduction and I left feeling encouraged that I could start to implement it in my daily life.

  • We practiced mindful breathing and learned ways we could incorporate it into our busy lives, such as mindful walking, mindful driving, and mindful eating.
  • She reminded us that multitasking is actually less effective than focusing on one task at a time.
  • When you find that “to do” list running through your head with no way to act on it, drop it and focus your senses on something in your environment.
  • She also encouraged us to drop any judgement of our own thoughts and use our senses to connect to the present moment rather than spend 47% of our day lost in thought.

If you’d like to learn more about Alene Brennan you can visit her website or connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.


Andrea Beaman’s presentation, Gussy up your Greens

Who would have thought a presentation about vegetables could be so entertaining and informative! We learned that:

  • Certain vitamins like, A, E, and K are fat soluble, so you need a little oil or butter for your body to absorb the nutrients and get any benefit from eating them.
  • You should steam or blanch vegetables first, THEN saute or season.
  • Roasting is another great cooking method because it caramelizes and brings out the natural sweetness, just be sure to roast no higher than 375 degrees.
  • It’s really important for our health and strength to eat seasonally, so that our bodies are in tune with our natural environment.

If you’d like to learn more about Andrea Beaman you can visit her website or connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.


At lunch, I connected with other women as we discussed what we learned at each of the morning’s breakout sessions. I found that most of the women at my table attended the same two and it was great to get everyone’s perspective, again confirming the importance of connecting to a community of women as John Gray emphasized.


We wrapped up the day with Goldie Hawn!

The final presentation was set up interview style with questions audience members had submitted ahead of time. There were some fun questions about leading actors and working in the public eye, but what stood out for me was Goldie’s work with The Hawn Foundation and it’s signature program, MindUP™. It is the result of 10 years of collaboration to bring mindful awareness training to children in schools around the world. Goldie Hawn is on a new path and feels it’s her life’s work to bring children the tools they need to survive and thrive in these stressful times. Her message, that a successful project needs 100% focus and the biggest most important project you could have is to grow little children, really hit home with me.


I left feeling energized and excited to implement the things I’d learned during the day and will definitely recommend attending a Virtua Women’s Health Symposium in the future.


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