Globe Northwest People

Concord therapist releases weight loss CD

Darlene Keenan-Taylor and daughter, Brianna. Darlene Keenan-Taylor and daughter, Brianna.
By Cindy Cantrell
March 1, 2009
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COMPASSIONATE WEIGHT LOSS: Jean Fain of Concord learned a healthy respect for nutrition and exercise from her father. After her sophomore year of college, however, she took a year off to "travel and eat" and returned to school overweight.

"I know how it feels to hate your body," said Fain, a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist in private practice in Concord who now counsels clients with eating issues. "They've tried everything and nothing has worked. They're just miserable, which only fuels emotional eating."

Inspired by research demonstrating that individuals make healthier eating choices after being encouraged rather than berated following a setback, Fain has released a new CD titled "Compassionate Weight Loss."

"Most people think they need more discipline to eat better, but the opposite is true," said Fain, who teaches hypnosis and behavioral medicine at Cambridge Health Alliance, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. "People actually need to be kinder and gentler to themselves."

In fact, she admits to turning to food for comfort occasionally in times of stress herself. "I'm not as mindful at every moment of every day as I might want to be, either," Fain said.

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DISTINGUISHED TEACHER: For his enthusiasm in teaching Advanced Placement Environmental Science, Brian Palm of Boston has been dubbed the Green Gadfly by his colleagues at Brooks School in North Andover. As it turns out, he had a great teacher himself.

"My grandmother has always been a big presence in my life, and I grew up watching her reuse and reuse and reuse tinfoil," Palm says of Fitchburg resident Rosemary Kemp, who is 90. "I feel like I'm furthering the ideas she always had."

Palm, who is head of the school's science department, is one of 50 teachers nationwide - and the sole representative from Massachusetts - to receive the 2009 Siemens Award for Advanced Placement Teachers. The honor recognizes excellence in dedicated teaching, as well as extra time spent instilling a love for learning in talented students.

Palm, who has taught at Brooks School since 2003, embraces software and other technology in the classroom while encouraging students to apply their knowledge in real-world situations. Last year, the school stopped using disposable trays in the dining hall after his class identified a substantial reduction in waste and budget savings. This year, he has assigned them the task of identifying correctable inefficiencies around the school. Palm said his ultimate goal is to engage the entire school community in sustainability efforts.

"These kinds of activities empower kids," he said, "and as energy becomes more expensive and resources become more limited, we'll need more problem-solvers like them in the world."

ANIMAL INSTINCT: After earning her degree in veterinary science in 1985, Darlene Keenan-Taylor of Shirley found she preferred working with large animals to the small animals in which her veterinary clinic specialized. Although she changed her day job to caring for people 13 years ago, the award she recently earned as a registered nurse is helping her provide more sophisticated treatment to the sheep her family raises and shows at area competitions.

Keenan-Taylor was one of three nurses at Emerson Hospital in Concord to be recognized with a Rina K. Spence Award, which provides up to $1,000 for employees to increase knowledge and competence in an area of interest outside their ordinary job responsibilities. Liz Nonis of Ayer will use her share of the funds to further her interest in nutrition through cooking classes, and Cecilia Novak of Stow will study French.

Keenan-Taylor raises Tunis sheep on the Half Pint Farm in Shirley with her husband, Jerry; 15-year-old son, Brandon; and 12-year-old daughter, Brianna. The family currently has eight sheep, but is expecting six lambs by the end of March.

Keenan-Taylor, who regularly uses her professional training to dispense medication to the animals, is using her share of the award to purchase lambing equipment such as heat sources, emergency items, and a "creep pen" to give lambs an area away from the adults.

"Raising and showing sheep isn't something most people know about, but we enjoy doing it as a family," said Keenan-Taylor. "It's a big responsibility to help bring new life into the world. I think that knowledge and respect for animals makes for a better person."

People items may be submitted to Cindy Cantrell at

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