Friday, April 26, 2013

7 Habits of Healthy People

As I approach the third anniversary of my lifestyle change, it's become obvious to me that there are certain behaviors and certain things that healthy people do that we could all stand to follow.  Some of these I do, some of them I should do more of.

So with apologies to the late, great Stephen Covey, I present to you the 7 habits of healthy people:

1.) Healthy people eat all the time. It's true, I've seen it in action...and now I do it.  Healthy people realize that the body is a machine and the machine needs fuel.  You can't treat your body like a car, driving around on E all the time and only filling up at the last possible minute. If you don't eat often, then you become very hungry and desperate, which leads to poor decision-making and binge eating on unhealthy foods.

2.) Healthy people are prepared.  You have to eat every day, several times a in and day out, week in and week out.  Healthy people stock up and have food on hand. My health and wellness coach at the gym I go to sits at his desk eating peanut butter out of the jar with a banana. He wouldn't dream of not packing his lunch and neither would I.  The food has to come from somewhere and healthy people don't get it from vending machines, the drive-thru or the pizza delivery guy.

3.) Healthy people don't kill themselves in the gym.  The people I know who stay in shape do not work out 4 hours a day in the gym 10 times a week.  They have a regular schedule where they go 3 or 4 times a week, about an hour a day. Nothing crazy. This allows the healthy person to maintain a healthy weight, stay in shape and not burn out.

4.) Healthy people work exercise into their daily routine. Whether it's taking the stairs, parking far away from the store entrance, going for a walk or something else, healthy people integrate physical activity into their daily lives somehow. That way, "working out" is not the only source of physical activity. The healthy person does not drive around the Walmart parking lot for 20 minutes waiting for the magic parking spot by the front door to open (which I used to do.)

5.) Healthy people keep it simple. I love technology. But in my observations, most healthy people I know don't scan bar codes into their phones at the grocery store or walk around with a tracker all day long adding up their movements.  You don't need a special machine to work out and you don't need a smartphone app to track how much you eat. I use a pen and paper.

6.) Healthy people don't avoid the doctor. I did it for years.  I would never go to the doctor until the last possible minute.  I was always flirting with disaster and my stupidity almost cost me my life.  Healthy people go to the doctor, get checked out, get treated for any problems and keep it moving.

7.) Healthy people grocery shop a lot.  Every healthy person I know, whether it be a personal trainer, a running enthusiast or a body builder...they load up at the grocery store once in awhile. The healthy person realizes that there is nothing healthier than the food they prepare themselves, because they know what's in it.  Since healthy people get most of their food from the grocery store, dining out becomes the exception rather than the rule.

Got some to add to the list? Send me an e-mail.