I am blessed to have smart, active, interesting, and inspiring friends and family. Last month, as I pondered what my 2013 was going to look like, I thought I would seek their advice on a topic that has always bedeviled me: personal health habits. I have yo-yoed in my weight and I have only erratically practiced healthy eating habits. But recent studies have shown that our network of friends can powerfully shape our habits )
So, I decided to turn to my friends and family to crowd-source my fitness motivation. I posted this question on Facebook: “What is the single best healthy living tip you would share with us?”
Wow, did my friends and family respond. They gave me great advice that I’m finally getting around to compiling and working into my personal habits. Here’s a digest.
The #1 piece of advice was exercise, coming up in some form in eight different responses. Yes, it’s obvious. Yes, I’ve written about it before. Even so, it is often the case that we need the encouragement from our friends and family to get out and move. Walk, jog, cycle, swim, garden, yoga, team sports. Physical activity in some form is plain good for us on so many levels. As I see how many of my friends are physically active, my mind subconsciously says “that must be normal – better get moving”. My friends, you help me greatly.
This theme was interesting – one person advocated plant based while another said to eat more meats and good fats. The more general running theme was to “eat real food”, meaning avoiding heavily processed food-like products (such as “Funyuns”, Chicken Nuggets, Hot Dogs, etc) and opting for real food (fruits, vegetables, fresh meats). One person put it this way “Keep it simple. Keep it pure.”
The old “everything in moderation” catchphrase was brought out a few times. I lump it in along with the various “cut back” recommendations: cut back sugar, cut portion sizes by 1/3.
It bears noting that to balance the self-control theme, there were a few “indulge” recommendations – “have a small glass of red wine at lunch and another at dinner with a long walk in between.” “Eat pie with everything. If you sit at the table long enough, someone will bring you some.” And of course the tongue in cheek “Drink until you don’t care about your weight.”
My friends and family also reminded me that healthy living is more than a matter of eating and exercising – it is also a matter of attitude. They gave some great tidbits here:
- Play with Kids
- Learn to say no, even to yourself
- Never act your age
I’m thankful for all the input I received on this question. It inspired me. Now, dear blog readers – the comments are open. What about you? What healthy living tip to you have?
Soli Deo Gloria