by, Stephanie Stephens
December 29, 2014
Congratulations to Mark Steines and Cristina Ferrare on completion of your 500th episode of Home & Family, airing each weekday at 10 a.m. ET/PT on the Hallmark Channel! I’m so excited to hear from Mark in another special holiday edition of Mind Your Body, and I know you’ll enjoy his answers delivered with characteristic wit, humor and likability. No wonder we invite him into our homes so often!
Mark co-anchored Entertainment Tonight for 17 years, has racked up his share of Emmy nominations and wins, hosted a long list of television specials, and made guest appearances on plenty of other great TV shows. He’s also an accomplished voiceover artist who got his entertainment grounding in the famous Groundlings school of improvisation in Los Angeles.
Maybe you didn’t know that Mark, who’s originally from Iowa, attended college on a full football scholarship and then worked as a TV sports reporter. His breathtaking photography wins rave reviews, and he says he wants to do more in a future life. He’s also an acknowledged do-it-yourselfer who aptly demonstrates his skills on Home & Family. A single father of two boys, he brings the same devotion to family values and fun to his show that he practices at home.
Let’s get to it with Mark, as we look forward to 500 more informative and inspiring episodes of Home & Family. If you’re considering New Year’s resolutions around your diet and exercise routines, Mark is sure to motivate you here. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter at @MarkSteines.
Oh, and Mark, because I’m active in feline rescue, thanks so much for what you and the team do for cats. The kittens in this house—and their mom—can’t wait for Kitten Bowl II on Feb. 1. Meow for now!
Mark, first, what do you eat that helps you Mind Your Body?
I start my day with a green smoothie: spinach, one apple, non-fat Greek yogurt, flax-seeds or chia seeds, almond milk, and frozen green grapes.
Oh, and about that cooking on the show. That can be tempting with fabulous guest chefs. We try to cook healthy but that is not always the case. I look at it this way. It is only a 7-minute segment and I am ‘TV eating.’ That means I need to take small bites because I still need to ask questions and not have food falling out of my mouth on camera!
How do you keep from overdoing it?
I have learned that the best way to prevent the ‘ice cream dish dive’ at the end of the day is to manage my sugar levels—which means small meals throughout the day. If I let myself get really hungry I know I am in trouble. I try to eat when I am not hungry because it helps me make better choices.
Now, since you were among the ‘25 Fittest Men in America’ for Men’s Fitness magazine, what exactly do you do now? You’re a great example of why we should work out.
I change things up. I cannot beat my body up like I used to. Recovery time is not what it used to be. I try to stay ahead of the bulge by doing something every day. It can be small and quick, but it needs to be focused. If I am doing an exercise, I want to know its purpose, even if it is stretching. Taking the dog for a walk can work for me. I add a few lunges into the walk and use that as one of my ‘down days.’
Please ‘fess up: What good health habit would you like to ditch?
Having to do flexibility training. I have to force myself to stretch. I don’t care for it, but I know it’s so important for me as I get older. I also would shelve the ab workouts, but boy does core training pay off. It really helps me with my back issues.
How do you maintain a good outlook and your mental health?
The short answer is sleep. A rested body is a rested mind. I think I have done a pretty good job managing stress in my life, and let me tell you I have had my share. When things get tough I try to remind myself that ‘this too shall pass.’ I’m a perfectionist and I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself at times. I need to remind myself that I am a work in progress.
Doing a daily show is all-consuming. Sure, it’s fun, but how do you keep yourself focused and not fatigued?
It’s like working a muscle. The first few months were tough, but after a while you get used to the demands. I have also found my shortcuts and what I need to focus on exactly, because the rest is usually out of my control.
You’re a very accomplished photographer. Your photos of nature are spectacular—with so much clarity.
I think the precision of my photography is a reflection of my ‘perfectionism.’ My art is very important to me in a therapeutic way. When I am observing the world around me, I see the imperfections in nature which is exactly how it’s supposed to be—like me and imperfect. I learn to accept more of myself and all my flaws when I see spend the day looking through my lens.
Acting or hosting, hosting or acting: Which is your favorite, since you do them both well (along with improvisation and voiceover!)?
I prefer hosting because it comes easier to me. However, I am always interested in a challenge. What I find intriguing about acting is the process of discovery. I like to hunt down the clues in a script and use them to build a character and then step into those shoes and attempt to bring life to that role.
How does being in the public eye—in entertainment—influence your health choices?
I would be lying if I told you it didn’t affect me but it does. I have been blessed to have a career in front of the camera for nearly three decades, but when I ask people to watch me, I feel I need to give them something to look at. I always look for meaning at the core of my job, for stuff that will inform and educate people about their world, whether it’s entertainment, a DIY project or a cooking segment. After that I remind myself that television is a visual medium and I am on stage every day. I don’t think this is as a bad thing. I have grown up acknowledging the expectations and demands of this profession, and if anything, it has kept me in pretty good shape.
What do you think slows the aging process? Or can anything?
Attitude, perspective, balance and a healthy meal plan with exercise. These are the things I try to hold on to, but as soon as somebody finds the fountain of youth, let me know. I’ll be jumping in!
Anything you want to tell us that I didn’t ask? Go for it!
You forgot to ask me if I had the key to life? I do, but since you didn’t ask I’ll save it for next time!
And we’ll be waiting!
Stephanie Stephens, M.A., is a spokesperson and host for the active, mature female demographic—midlife and boomer. She writes, produces, and hosts her multimedia channel, Mind Your Body TV, featuring timely health and lifestyle blogs, podcasts, and videos—also seen on YouTube and syndicated by AOL/On