Two years ago, I decided it was time to get off the roller coaster of weight loss and gain and join my wife in making some permanent changes toward improved health. I wrote quite a bit about it in half a year. Despite continuing in that journey, I have written little since.
Recently, my oldest daughter Betsy asked me to contribute to a series she is starting on her blog called “50 habits of skinny people.” So I am using this as a motivation to write more regularly on habits we have adopted toward good health. Here goes.
Health Habit 1- Decide to adopt health habits
The first “habit” I would like to focus on is the fact that healthy people eat and live differently “habitually” then those who do not. If you are reading this as a person who wants to be healthier and esp. thinner, the answer is not so much in making temporary changes in what you eat (dieting), but to adopt new and long-term ways of eating and living that are more healthful.
It is no secret that Americans “diet” like no other culture and yet, as a people we continue to gain weight. Why? Because we change for a while and then return to our old ways, leading us back to the condition in which we started.
My wife and I have both been on the weight roller coaster before. Eight years ago, my wife lost 35 pounds and she has kept it off. Two years ago, I took off 20 pounds and have kept it off. The difference this time was adopting lasting changes to our diet and finding ways to add activity to our lifestyles.
So as you read about habits we have adopted to improve our health, I encourage you to give them serious consideration as potential ways to improve yours. Adopt those habits you can “live” with. Small changes that are applied consistently over years can make a big difference (as long as you don’t use them as an excuse for more excess elsewhere).
Don’t believe those that say you cannot lose weight and keep it off. It is not true; you can, but only by making changes in the way you think and what you do. Keep reading.
The goal is improved health. Improved health has meant more energy, improved sleep, a better outlook on life, more physical capability, freedom from medications, less illness, and the promise of not only a longer life but a better quality one as well.
Don’t let anyone tell you there is no sacrifice, it is. But it is worth it. Read on.
Health Habit 2 – Walk more
There are two principle ingredients to improved health: eating better and being more active.
There are many ways to be more active. I will discuss the benefits of a regular exercise program in future habits but let’s start with just walking more. Over the last two years I have returned to jogging, but I started with walking.
I walk every day, twice a day, with our two dogs: Bingley and Bear. We walk no matter what the weather (ok, if the wind chills is -30, we shorten it a bit but we still go). We walk a mile in the morning and another mile about supper time. It does them good and it does me good. Another way I walk regularly is by parking about 7 minutes from my office (where parking on the street is available) rather than in the parking garage across the street. It saves me the $60/month for parking and gives me a bit more walking time.
In addition to improving health, walking gives me time to pray, unwind from a busy day, or give consideration to some matter that needs some time away from other distractions. My wife just got me an iPod for Christmas. So now the menu of options while walking includes listening to books on tape.