RebelWell Offers 10 Steps to a Healthier You in 2018

RebelWell is here to help you reach your health goals in 2018. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

The new year is here, which means new goals are being made! Here are some tips from RebelWell to help with goals that will lead to a healthier you!

  1. Make you goals smart.This means that they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Instead of “I will work out every week,” say, “I will walk or jog for 30 minutes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the next month.”
  2. Make basic alterations.Making a drastic goal of losing 30 pounds by March is unrealistic and can lead you to becoming discouraged and giving up. Making small changes will add up! These all do not have to be made at once, but changes in what you eat, when you eat and how much you move will ultimately help you lose weight. This is not a temporary change or a quick fix; this is a lifestyle change.
  3. Have someone to hold you accountable.Focus on one or two goals/areas and team up with a friend, relative or personal trainer who will make sure you stick to your plan. It’s much easier to go for a walk at 6 a.m. every day if you know a friend is waiting for you.
  4. Make your goals known!Telling others, especially those you encounter daily, about your goals not only will help keep you accountable, but can even help avoid temptation. If you tell your co-workers that you are limiting high-sodium foods to lower your blood pressure, instead of ordering pizza for the department lunch, they might choose a healthier option.
  5. Keep a diary.Writing down everything you eat or drink – even that little piece of candy – and logging all your exercise will help keep you accountable of the foods you eat. Studies show that people who keep a food diary end up eating 15 percent less than those who don’t keep a food diary.
  6. Make peace with trigger foods.Banning your favorite treat – whether it’s chocolate, soda, Frappuccinos, chips or French fries – is bound to backfire. Instead, remove the temptation from your home or work environment and allow yourself to indulge only once or twice per week.
  7. Find a physical activity you enjoy.Finding a gym you really like is a good start but remember that signing up does not mean you are on your way to losing weight. Instead, first figure out what type of physical activity you enjoy and then work on your specific goals.
  8. Measure you progress wisely.It’s important to check your progress to see how far you’ve come. For example, if you are working on managing your weight, weigh yourself once a week to keep track of your progress. If it’s difficult to measure your goal without proper equipment, use benchmarks to track progress until you have access to the equipment again. For example, to track improved cardiovascular health, you can monitor how far you can walk or how many stairs you can climb.
  9. Ditch the “all-or-nothing” thinking.The idea that you have to either do everything correctly or do nothing at all can set you up for failure. It’s important to know that if you do have a day that you missed your workout or ate more unhealthy foods than you had planned, it doesn’t make you unsuccessful. Instead, recognize your capabilities and move forward to reach your goals.
  10. Be prepared.As stated before, having setbacks does not make you a failure. But having a plan in case of setbacks and obstacles will help you overcome them. This is not an excuse to cut corners, but will help keep you prepared for events that are beyond your control. If you are unable to go for a walk outside due to weather or construction, have a backup place to walk that shield you from these things.

Mariana A. Jurss is RebelWell’s registered dietician. 

Top Stories on Ole Miss News in 2017

Year-end review reveals significant, widely-read headlines

The Ole Miss softball team celebrates a huge win over LSU on May 13th, 2017 in the championship game of the 2017 SEC Tournament in Knoxville, Tennessee. Photo by Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics

As 2017 draws to a close, we are pleased to share highlights of stories from Ole Miss News.  While we would quickly run out of room if we tried to share the more than 600 stories we produced in 2017, here is a nice sampling of great things that happened across our campuses: 

Be sure to check out our year in review in photos to see all these stories, plus so much more. 

Well, that’s it for 2017! Happy holidays and be sure to continue following us on Ole Miss News to stay up-to-date on all the exciting things happening at the University of Mississippi!

‘Sorts-Giving’ Volunteers Do Dirty, but Important, Work

Sorts-Giving volunteers Michael Newsom (from left) and Mariana Anaya sort through recycling items to collect cans and plastic. Photo by Marlee Crawford/Ole Miss Communications

There were cans. So many cans. There were plastic bottles, paper plates and a “Fins Up” button. There were the bones of so many fried chickens, Mississippi’s unofficial state bird.

Among the refuse piles of Ole Miss game days past, there have been high heels, a Brooks Brothers umbrella and even a discarded DVD about fixing a broken marriage, report volunteers with the University of Mississippi Office of Sustainability’s “Sorts-Giving.” The volunteers, who sort game day recycling every year during the university’s Thanksgiving break, have seen just about everything slide down the conveyor belt.

When Ole Miss football fans pack the Grove to tailgate among the oaks, the good times there lead to tons of trash. The Office of Sustainability collects the green bags, which are found throughout the Grove, and sort the cans and plastic from the garbage at the Oxford Recycling Center with the help of volunteers.

I decided to participate in Sorts-Giving this year to help with the leftovers from the Ole Miss-Texas A&M game festivities. It wasn’t my first time. It won’t be my last. I might never eat fried chicken again, though, after seeing what it looks like after being rained on and sitting in a bag outdoors for two days. This is probably a good thing for me. I’ve turned over a new leaf. 

Other than changing some of my eating habits, there’s the rewarding sense of doing something important with my time that I get from it. It’s also kind of fun to get out of the office and spend an afternoon with people who believe in a common goal and work together to accomplish it. As we stood out there ripping bags open so we could pull out the treasures, we took turns inventing little stories about how the items got there. I still can’t come up with a good reason why someone would leave her shoes. If you can think of an explanation for this, please let me know. 

Besides being a fun, but kind of dirty, diversion, Sorts-Giving makes you think long and hard about what you throw away. Recycling is important work. There’s no federal law that establishes it; city or state governments handle any legislation related to it. There’s the U.S. law, called the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which creates a framework for management of hazardous and nonhazardous solid wastes, but other than that, it’s basically left up to us.

IT IS UP TO US – the citizens and our local governments – to do something about the strain on our landfills excess waste causes each day. We make lots of garbage as a nation. That’s why I help out with Sorts-Giving. It’s why others do it, too. People like us have made a difference throughout the country, but we still have too much trash that isn’t being repurposed. 

“Despite the high quantity of waste being discarded in over 1,900 landfills across the United States, the country’s recycling rates have been increasing since the 1960s,” the Environmental Protection Agency reports. “In 2014, about the country generated roughly 259 million tons of municipal solid waste.”

The Mississippi Recycling Coalition reports Mississippians annually spend approximately $70 million to dispose of recyclables, which are worth $200 million. 

Sortsgiving volunteers work at the Oxford Recycling Center to collect items to be recycled from Ole Miss game day rubbish.Photo by Marlee Crawford/Ole Miss Communications

And there’s room to grow when it comes to making this a priority. A PEW Charitable Trusts survey on environmental issues found perceptions about the issue can vary widely among communities. Only three in 10 Americans said their community strongly encourages recycling and reuse. One-fifth said most people in their area don’t really encourage recycling and the remaining half said they live in places where norms around recycling are in the middle of the survey range. So in short, it’s still not really a big deal to most people.

But, we’ve made strides at Ole Miss. Sorting is part of the university’s Green Grove game-day recycling program, which is usually done by students, many of whom are out of town on Thanksgiving break. The Green Grove program was established in 2008, in collaboration with Landscape Services and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Four student interns in the Office of Sustainability, a team of Green Grove ambassadors and hundreds of volunteers manage it annually. 

Last year, more than 400 student volunteers helped out with the Green Grove program, both through engaging tailgaters on game day and by helping sort the collected recyclables, said Lindsey Abernathy, associate director of sustainability and Sorts-Giving maestro.

“Green Grove has grown to be one of our most popular sustainability programs among students,” Abernathy said. “We’ve still got a lot of room to grow, however.

“Our diversion rate is about 3 percent, so there’s a lot of opportunity to increase that number. We try our best to make it easy, convenient and fun to recycle on game day through Green Grove.”

In 2015, when Sorts-Giving last took place, UM employees diverted 1,400 pounds of recyclables from the landfill. As of this writing, the numbers for the 2017 event were still being tallied, but you can bet the total was likely just as much, maybe more.

Ian Banner, university architect and director of sustainability and facilities planning, sums the importance of Sorts-Giving up well. 

“A primary focus of the Green Grove program is to provide an engaging and educational volunteer experience to continue to build the recycling program on campus,” he said. “This is an opportunity to have a direct impact on the university’s waste reduction efforts and to learn more about the recycling process in Oxford.” 

I heard that, Ian. 

UM Alumna Finds Creative Inspiration in Hometown Support

Taylor Wilkinson

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi alumna and Oxford-based jewelry designer Taylor Wilkinson teams up with Cicada Boutique this weekend to showcase her jewelry line, Taylor Wilkinson Designs.

Wilkinson’s designs will be on display 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday (Oct. 27-28) and will be available for purchase at the store, at 307 South Lamar Blvd.

“It’s always thrilling to show in your hometown,” Wilkinson said. “There is a tremendous amount of support from not only personal friends, but the entire community. Oxford rallies around their hometown people.”

Wilkinson, who was recently featured in an alumni profile by the Ole Miss Alumni Association, turned personal meaning and her family heritage into inspired pieces of bold, geometric jewelry.

The trunk show will feature rings, bracelets, earrings, charms and necklaces from her latest jewelry collection. Wilkinson uses sterling silver, 18-karat gold vermeil and pave diamonds in her pieces.

Wilkinson’s inspiration comes from within the community not only with her pieces, but with everyday life.

“The underlying creative current in this town has always inspired me,” Wilkinson said “The ‘boost’ Oxford gives me is a personal one. My children attend our public schools. My husband’s own business is here.

“I’ve watched this town grow over the years, and even when I’m traveling, there is always the longing to get home.”

For more information regarding Taylor Wilkinson Designs, visit or follow her on Instagram @taylorwilkinsondesigns.

UM Alumnus Helps Produce ‘Same Kind of Different As Me’

Movie opens Oct. 20 in select theaters

University of Mississippi alumnus Stephen Johnston produced and helped raise $15 million for the movie “Same Kind of Different as Me,” which opens in theaters this weekend.

The movie was filmed in Jackson.

Based on the New York Times bestselling book of the same name, the film stars Academy Award winners Renee Zellweger and Jon Voight and Oscar nominees Greg Kinnear and Djimon Hounsou. It is based on a true story.

The story focuses on wealthy art dealer Ron Hall (Kinnear) and his wife, Debbie (Zellweger). The two are unhappily married, but their lives change when they befriend a homeless man named Denver (Hounsou).

The film has earned an 83 percent positive audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, and Oxford residents can check it out starting today (Oct. 20) at Malco Oxford Studio Cinema on West Jackson Avenue.

Johnston, a Jackson native, graduated from Ole Miss in 1993 with a degree in managerial finance, and banking and finance.

Homecoming Week to Feature Variety of Fun Events

Activities begin Monday on campus

Homecoming week will feature a variety of fun activities for UM students, faculty, staff and alumni. Many events this fall will be staged on the Galtney-Lott Plaza. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – It’s that time of year again when University of Mississippi students, faculty, staff and the LOU community will unite to celebrate the Ole Miss Rebels.

A week of fun-filled events will lead up to the annual Homecoming game at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 14, when the Rebels will go head-to-head with the Vanderbilt Commodores.

Here is a list of events to look forward to during this year’s Homecoming Week:

Monday (Oct. 9)

Mechanical Shark – 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The Galtney-Lott Plaza will have a mechanical shark that daring people can ride. Be honest, how long have you been waiting to ride a Landshark?

Free Popcorn – 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Another event sponsored by the Student Activities Association on the Galtney-Lott Plaza. I don’t know about you, but I can smell the butter already.

Presentation: Frank King – 7 p.m. King, a comedian, writer and suicide prevention expert, is set to speak at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. He will touch on his lifelong battle with depression and thoughts of suicide, as well as the importance of fighting stigmas, in an engaging, clever and thoughtful dialogue with his audience.

Tuesday (Oct. 10)

Sno-Biz – 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Stop by the Galtney-Lott Plaza to get a snow cone.

Silent Disco – 9-11 p.m. This dance party is one the likes of which you’ve probably never experienced. So come by the Grove Tuesday night to dance like no one’s listening. In case of rain, the Silent Disco will be held in the Tad Pad.

Wednesday (Oct. 11)

Games in the Circle – 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Come by the Circle to play a number of games that are sure to make lasting memories, and no, we’re not just talking about a neverending game of Trust Fall.

Wheel of Wow – 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Come one, come all and spin the wheel at the Galtney-Lott Plaza for a chance to win various giveaways for students. This event is sponsored by the Student Activities Association.

Trivia and Pizza Night – 6:30-7:30 p.m. This event will be held in the Grove, and to avoid any cheesy pizza puns, it’s a great chance to meet new people over some trivia. 

Thursday (Oct. 12)

Free Waffles – 8 a.m. They’ll be serving free, yes free, waffles Thursday morning on the Galtney-Lott Plaza. So get up and at ’em because the early bird gets the waffles.

Meet ‘n’ Greet the Homecoming Court – Noon-1 p.m. Come to the Circle to meet the ladies and gentlemen on the Homecoming court.

Rebels Got Talent – 7 p.m. The Grove Stage will be graced by students of many talents Thursday night. So come and cheer on your friends! It’ll be like “America’s Got Talent” except better because Domino’s Pizza will be providing free pizza. I wonder what Simon thinks about that?

Friday (Oct. 13)

Coffee with a Cop – 8 a.m. Come enjoy hot, fresh coffee with Oxford police officers on the Galtney-Lott Plaza. Ask them questions about their jobs, lives and/or experiences, because what’s less scary than seeing a cop at 8 a.m.? Sipping coffee with a cop at 8 a.m.

Homecoming Parade and Pep Rally – 5:30 p.m. Get ready to rally folks, the parade will begin at the Circle and continues to the Square Friday evening.

Everybody’s Formal – 8:30-11:30 p.m. The Jefferson will host this year’s Everybody’s Formal where – get this – everybody’s invited. Dress in a semiformal attire and get ready to dance the night away.

Distinguished Alumni Awards Reception – 6 p.m. The Inn at Ole Miss will host a reception honoring the winners of the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards.

Distinguished Alumni Awards Ceremony and Dinner – 7 p.m. Following the reception is the ceremony at the Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom followed by dinner. Please note that this is a ticketed event.

Saturday (Oct. 14)

Annual Meeting of the Alumni Association – 9:30 a.m. Come to mingle at the Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom at The Inn at Ole Miss with the Alumni Association.

Tailgates – Join alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends for a pre-game tailgate.

Black Alumni Reunion Kickoff Tailgate – 11:30 a.m., along the Student Union construction site in the Grove.

English Department Alumni Tailgate – 11:30 a.m., location to be announced.

Meek School of Journalism & New Media Tailgate – 11:30 a.m., Farley Hall lawn

School of Education Tailgate – 11:30 a.m., north lawn of the Triplett Alumni Center

School of Engineering Tailgate – 12:20 p.m., Brevard Hall lawn

Homecoming Game – 2:30 p.m., Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt

Halftime – Introduction of the Alumni Awards Day recipients and Alumni Association President Hal Moore. Crowning of Homecoming Queen Christina Lawler by Alumni Association President Hal Moore. Performance by the Pride of the South Marching Band

Sunday (Oct. 15)

Miss University Pageant – 5:30 p.m. Come to the Ford Center to celebrate the end of Homecoming Week and to practice your best pageant wave as you cheer on participants in this year’s pageant.

Ole Miss’ Gerald McRaney and Jack Pendarvis Take Home Emmy Awards

Jack Pendarvis. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

For those of you who missed the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards show Sunday night on CBS, it was yet another night of witty banter, none of which was directed towards politics.

The Emmys is in the same family – think: Uncle Oscar, Uncle Tony and, of course, sweet Grammy – that recognize some of the most talented members and contributors to entertainment. The award that looks like an angel holding up a Hoberman ball smothered in real gold, you ask? Yes, precisely.

University of Mississippi alumnus Gerald McRaney and former faculty member Jack Pendarvis were amongst the list of winners Sunday night.

You may recognize McRaney as Dr. Nathan Katowski, aka Mandy Moore’s lady doctor on the hit show we love to love, “This Is Us.” This was his first Emmy Award in his nearly 50-year acting career, for Outstanding Guest Performance in a Drama.

McRaney, from Collins, married actress Delta Burke in 1989. Burke was part of the popular show “Designing Women,” in which she played a young woman who graduated from Ole Miss. See folks, love is clearly where the Grove is.

Pendarvis,who came to Ole Miss as a Grisham writer-in-residence, took home his second Emmy Award on Sunday for Outstanding Short Form Animated Program, celebrating his work on “Adventure Time,” an animated series on Cartoon Network that’s been on air since 2010. Pendarvis’ first Emmy win was back in 2015, followed by two nominations in 2016.

The creative vision of Pendarvis’ writing has been sure to touch the hearts of even the baddest-of-the-bad college students who claim they’re too cool for cartoons. Hint: he’s yellow, square, giggly all over, and if he attended Ole Miss, he’d be ready every time. That’s right, Pendarvis is a former “SpongeBob SquarePants” writer, having written 10 episodes for the series during Season 9.

Both McRaney and Pendarvis have made great strides in the world of entertainment. I think a hearty “HYDR” are in order for these two Ole Miss talents that prove if you work hard and have passion for what you do – you can do anything.

GreenServ Airing Again on ‘World’s Greatest’

Greenserv, a medical waste company, and its employees will be featured on ‘World’s Greatest’. Submitted photo

Oxford business GreenServ Inc. was featured last month on “World’s Greatest,” a television program that highlights the best companies, products and services around the world.

The medical waste and compliance firm, started by University of Mississippi alumnus John Alford and business partner Will Fountain, have seen an overwhelmingly positive response from the community and potential customers since the show aired July 10.

“I have had dozens of people who have commented on the program both locally and nationally,” Fountain said. “The show seems to have given us some legitimacy in market for our young business that is rapidly growing.”

The company services Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee, but this program has spread the word about GreenServ’s national mail-back program, allowing them to service the entire United States and Alaska, Fountain said.

The filming was completed in just one day and viewers of the program get to see both the success of a local business and the process of medical waste sanitation and disposal.

“Having someone else acknowledge that what you’re doing is not only working, but working well, boosts company morale and confidence and self-esteem of us and our employees,” Fountain said. “God continues to bless GreenServ with great employees, customers and opportunities.

“We will be able to utilize this program for morale and marketing purposes for many years to come.”

In case you missed the first airing, the “World’s Greatest” episode featuring GreenServ will air again at 5 a.m. Monday (Aug. 28) on DirecTV channel 305 and Dish Network channel 350.

UM Alumnus Featured on ‘American Ninja Warrior’

Episode airs at 7 p.m. Monday on NBC

Josh Butler, pictured with is wife Katie, son Braxtel (right) and photograph of their son Dewey. Butler will compete on American Ninja Warrior on NBC Monday night. Submitted Photo

University of Mississippi alumnus Josh Butler will showcase both his athletic ability and inspirational story Monday (Aug. 7) on NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior.”

Butler, a 2010 Ole Miss graduate originally from Jackson, has trained for the challenging obstacle course program over the last three years and auditioned three times before being asked to compete in the show’s ninth season.

“I have obstacles in my backyard that I built, I’m a member of a rock climbing gym and I’m a member at a regular gym, too,” Butler said. “I have always been active, though, and participated in pretty much every sport.”

However, Butler and his family have conquered many other obstacles over the last three years. In 2015, his wife, Katie, gave birth to their first son, Dewey, but he was born with an unbalanced translocation of chromosomes, causing breathing problems.

After 132 days in Vanderbilt’s Children’s Hospital, their son died.

The Butlers then decided to help care for other children. In 2016, they fostered their now-adopted 3-year-old son, Braxtel, who was born with chronic respiratory failure and breathed through a ventilator until recently.

The Butlers are also foster parents to three other children, who they hope to make permanent members of their family later this year.

“My wife and I are a team, and having a home health nurse at the house most days of the week helps us have a ‘break’ for things like training,” he said. “I wake up before everyone else to exercise and train. I also use my lunch breaks to fit in a workout.

“While Dewey was alive and in the hospital, it was a hard decision to leave his NICU room to train, but I knew that I needed to take care of my own health, too, to be the best dad to him.”

Butler said it has been his dream to compete on “ANW.”

“I love that the show showcases the whole person, not just the athletic side, by including their inspirational back stories,” he said. “I also want to share how faithful God is even in the midst of tragedy. He has a plan, and we trust him.”

Tune in to NBC at 7 p.m. Monday to hear more about Butler’s inspiring story and watch him compete for a $1 million prize.

Miss University to Compete for Miss Mississippi Title

Leah Gibson and 10 other Ole Miss students vie for the crown this week in Vicksburg

Miss University Leah Gibson and 10 other Ole Miss students will compete for the title of Miss Mississippi this week in Vicksburg. Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

By Saturday (June 24), judges will have worked their way through 44 contestants and crowned the 60th Miss Mississippi.

Miss University Leah Gibson and 10 other Ole Miss students are among the contestants. The diamond anniversary of the 2017 Miss Mississippi pageant begins Wednesday (June 21) with preliminary competitions throughout the week in Vicksburg.

The top 10 advance to compete for the crown beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Gibson will represent the University of Mississippi as reigning Miss University. A 2017 graduate, Gibson earned her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism in May.

Ten other Ole Miss students will also vie for the crown: Miss All-America City, Asya Branch; Miss Parade of Beauties, Blair Wortsmith; Miss DeSoto County, Charley Ann Nix; Miss Tupelo, Dana Wesley; Miss Riverland, Joy Addison; Miss Amory, Kasey Pearson; Miss Pine Belt, Lizzie Wicks; Miss Rolling Hills, Macken’z Smith; Miss Heart of the South, Mary Katherine McCaa; and Miss Southern Magnolia, Mary Margaret Hyer

The final round will air live on WLBT in Jackson, WTVA in Tupelo, WABG in Greenville, WGBC in Meridian, WLOX in Biloxi and WMC-TV in Memphis.

Be sure to tune in to cheer on all our Ole Miss contestants!