How I made Healthy Living a Career

The road to well-being was a narrow wilderness when I was growing up but I always felt it was a play ground to be discovered.


Most days, you can catch me enthusiastically promoting the benefits of exercise for the Center for Healthy Living at Kaiser Permanente. As a Lifestyle Educator, I am happy to bring a lifetime of experience in fitness and healthy to the patients and employees there.

My parents diligently pursued the narrow path to health and brought up their nine children on whole foods that were not processed. My father developed a passion for health early on because he was sickly as a child. So, I was raised on a plant-based diet… no sugar or white flour. When I brought whole wheat bread to my school lunch room, it was not cool! Mind you, this was back in the 50s, 60s and 70s, when most everyone ate white bread.


The Alberici Family were pioneers in healthy living and eating a plant-based diet.

The value of exercise was in-grained in me by my parents example. There were many books on Yoga and body-building around the house and I loved to read them and imitate the illustrations. This was way before You Tube, fitness videos and CDs.

This healthy way of living led me to being the first woman to win two national fitness titles in one year.

It makes my heart smile to know that my daughter Marianna follows a passion for being fit and motivating people as a certified fitness professional.


Maria Lauren, AKA Maria Elena Alberici – Riccio


“You are the Architect that reconstructs your body, mind and spirit. You are the Chemist that mixes your own formula for success. You are Scientist that creates your own method. You are the Mathematician that makes your life count.” – Marianna Riccio


No matter where I traveled… I brought fitness and health with me. There was a big chunk of time where I worked as an Entertainer but I always made exercise part of my daily routine.

Most of my showbiz adventures were shared by my sister, Linda. We (Alberici Sisters) wrote a book about it! Beyond Our Wildest Dreams, captures backstage stories of the entertainment icons with whom my sister and performed.

My Kaiser Permanente Journey… started over fifteen years ago in Los Angeles at the Sherman Terrace location. At this facility, I taught body/mind techniques to patients in pain medication rehabilitation.

Then, I brought fitness to the Kaiser Permanente location in Woodland Hills, where I taught the nurses working the night shift. Word got around and I was easily persuaded to teach a variety of exercise classes to the patients and other employees there.

Presently, I am leading fitness classes at the Panorama City, Mission Hills and Santa Clarita facilities. Here, I am proud to be a part of a wonderful team and the members in my classes make my day! We share a sense of family and for this I am grateful.

Hope your Holidays are full of grateful moments.

Be well and be fit,

Maria Lauren, AKA Maria Elena Alberici – Riccio

Your Powerful LIFE blog

My Website

you_got_the_power_logo_maria_lauren_riccioThis is a blog about LIFE: Living, Inspiration, Fitness, Entertainment. It is produced in my own time and solely reflects my personal opinions. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of my employer, past or present, or any other organization with which I may be affiliated. All content is copyrighted.



Motivational Interviewing for Positive Change

flowers_ Zuma_beach

Focus on the flowers, not the weeds. 

At Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Healthy Living, we use motivational interviewing with our patients to make changes for a healthier lifestyle.

What is Motivational Interviewing?

It’s a Conversation… 

~ That is collaborative  

~ That respects people’s language of change 

~ That allows people to talk themselves into change

~ That helps people resolve ambivalence…

  • Help me understand?
  • How important is this to you? 

Ambivalence – Mixed Feelings  

  • Is normal 
  • Occurs throughout the change process 
  • Reflects cost and benefits of change and the status quo 
  • Is uncomfortable 
  • May become chronic 
  • Is resolved by the patient –  Bem’s Self-Perception Theory  
  • Get others to talk. When we hear ourselves talk we change. 


Stages or Circle of Change 

  • Pre-contemplation (no problem) 
  • Contemplation (maybe a problem) 
  • Determination (decision to change) 
  • Action (takes time) 
  • Maintenance (new habit) 
  • Relapse (perhaps)


Thomas Gordon’s 12 Communication Roadblocks 

  1. Ordering, directing or commanding 
  2. Warning or threatening 
  3. Giving advice, making suggestions or providing solutions 
  4. Persuading with logic, arguing or lecturing 
  5. Moralizing, preaching or telling clients what they “should” do 
  6. Disagreeing, judging, criticizing or blaming 
  7. Agreeing, approving or praising 
  8. Shaming, ridiculing or labeling 
  9. Interpreting or analyzing 
  10. Reassuring, sympathizing or consoling 
  11. Questioning or probing 
  12. Withdrawing, distracting, humoring or changing the subject 

Are you getting Weeds or Flowers in your communications? 

If you’re getting weeds, what questions are you asking?

Make your questions, open questions.

Closed question: Will get a yes or no answer or specific answer. 


  • Are you journaling? 
  • Are you exercising? 

Open question: Tell me about… 


  • How are you getting along? 
  • What concerns do you have? 



What is on your helpful and not helpful list when communicating?

Not Helpful…

Condescending, Judgmental, Put downs, Ulterior motive… 


Positive attitude, Supportive, Listening, Empathy… 



Motivational interviewing has been very useful in my practice as a Lifestyle Educator. It creates a comfortable atmosphere as we all work together in partnership to pursue well-being. It puts the power in the hands of those who are asking for help.

It is a blessing to be a part of a team that leads Healthy Living Programs at Kaiser Permanente in Panorama City.

For your health,

Maria Lauren, AKA Maria Elena Alberici -Riccio

Your Powerful LIFE blog

My Website

you_got_the_power_maria_lauren_Riccio_alberici_your_powerful_life_blogThis is a blog about LIFE: Living, Inspiration, Fitness, Entertainment. It is produced in my own time and solely reflects my personal opinions. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of my employer, past or present, or any other organization with which I may be affiliated. All content is copyrighted.