When Maria Menounos discovered that she had a brain tumor, she never imaged that this would become the wake up call of her life. Although she has been an advocate for healthy eating and living, with two bestselling lifestyle books, there was a major component missing. Since her successful surgery, she says that the tumor was “the best thing that happened to me.”
Now, the popular television personality and entrepreneur has given up a lot of her “Type A” lifestyle, and substituted it with other, slower living habits. What has she done for her own healthier lifestyle, and could you implement these same habits to help cut out dangerous behaviors?
Five months after Maria Menounos became engaged to her long-term boyfriend Kevin Undergaro, on the Howard Stern show, her beloved mother Litsa was diagnosed with Stage IV brain cancer.
Speaking to Women’s Health, she explained how during this time, she began to have her own very troubling symptoms, which she “shrugged off as stress.” Besides, she was too busy to even go to the doctor to check it out. In fact, she was so fast-tracked that she did not even have a primary care physician for over eight years.
When she had to tell people that she had a brain tumor, including her inner circle that includes Tony Robbins, Vin Diesel, and Wilmer Valderrama, they thought she was trying to give them the good news that she was pregnant. They hardly expected her news, but they gave her a lot of strength and insight into who she was to them.
Wilmer especially surprised her by telling Maria that she was “a mama bear,” and always focused on taking care of others, never herself. Maria found that to be a revelation. She was always trying to “be perfect.” What she really was doing was shortchanging herself.
“I got to see the things that people never get to see, right? Like what they mean to people. You know, usually we’re dead when we get to hear what people really think of us and I got to hear it at 39 years old.”
After surgery, she realized she didn’t need to “work 20 hours a day.” She then realized that she could not continue to overwork for a boss that was not going to appreciate it. She quit E! News, and reduced a lot of her extra workload.
Now she looks at her own life and periodically asks herself some really important questions.
“When you look back, have you really lived? Have you enjoyed your life? Or were you on your phone the whole time?”
What sorts of changes has Maria made now? When she goes out, she leaves her smartphone at home, and instead carries a Light Phone, with only 10 programmed numbers. She is no longer preoccupied with her phone, “no texting, emailing, no nothing.” She no longer wishes to be interrupted, and is instead is “much more present in life.”
She also realized that she never even shared a beer with a friend at her beautiful place because she was always working. Now, she says “yes” to friends and invitations to connect. This significant change has happily surprised everyone. This includes taking time to hang out with her mom, leave work early, have dinner with her and watch Dancing with the Stars.
Although she admits that previously she only knew two speeds, “fast and faster,” now, when Maria is “not feeling well,” she touches her scar to remind herself to slow down. She also believes in positive thinking.
“The mind controls so much, so whatever you believe will be.”
When she found out she had the brain tumor, she realized she had “no control over this,” but now focuses on what she can control, including doing the right things to slow down.
“I realized how important it was to be still. To be still so you can listen to your body”