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Setting the Healthy Example

Posted Aug 16 2010 12:00am

Hello bloggy peeps!  I hope everyone thoroughly enjoyed their Mondays. I have such mixed emotions about Monday. On one hand, it’s the end of my weekend freedom, but on the other hand, it’s a fresh start to get back into a healthy routine. Tell me, do you have a positive or negative outlook on Monday?

Last night, I started to feel a little itch in the back of my throat. You know, the kind that lets you know that you’re going to get a sore throat and be sick in two days? I promptly decided that I needed to take quick action this morning. This was an emergency. Enter: Emergen-C !

I’ve had great success before in adding Emergen-C to Green Monster smoothies. My only gripe would be that the citrus flavor of the shot completely over empowers all the other fruity flavors. This morning, I sought to combat that by making sure I had plenty of strong flavored fruit that would also be able to shine.

The blender has quite a few handfuls of spinach stuffed down, fresh strawberries, pineapple, half of a frozen banana, Emergen-C, and almond milk. Do you believe that I forgot to take a picture of the finished product?? Just trust me when I saw that it was very green, very tasty, and my immune system thanked me later.

For part 2 of breakfast, I packed an orange (I had to make sure I got in as much vitamin C as possible!) with half a slice of carrot bread.

For part 3 of breakfast, also known as lunch, I packed a veggie sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich. It’s been too long since I’ve had one of these (by too long, I clearly mean only two weeks).

For an afternoon snack, I brought along another item that’s been too long (I know for sure that it’s definitely been more than two weeks!) since my last consumption: a sliced apple with peanut butter!

For dinner, I took the easy way out, also known as cheating, and made some sort of Italian dish that came together in a minute and a half flat.

I covered some Italian meatballs with a little bit of sauce and a slice of swiss cheese and popped it in the microwave for one minute until the cheese got melty. I guess this was like a deconstructed meatball sub.

Are you a healthy example to others in your life?

In college , I knew I wasn’t doing my body any favors by eating fast food, sometimes as often as five times in one week. Somehow, I managed to turn practically every situation into an excuse to overindulge or eat processed foods high in sugars.

“I need this insanely large Starbucks frappucino to help keep me up so I can study for my test.”

“I only have a half hour in between classes – better pick up something quick from McDonalds.”

“How often do I eat out at restaurants? There’s no harm in eating all of the bread, appetizer, large pasta entrée, and dessert. I hardly ever get to do this.”

“It feels good to sit back, relax, watch TV, and not think about school work. Oh, I should reward myself for this break with a whole bag of chips.”

I think you get the point. Meeting up with friends, doing well in school, doing bad in school, any extreme emotion, being over stressed, being too relaxed… every situation became a chance for me to either “treat” myself or cut corners with fast food. I knew it wasn’t the best lifestyle, but it seemed that everyone else around me in college was doing it. It was so easy for me to stay in that routine since there wasn’t any motivation to change, nor did I look for an example of how I should be eating and living.

Even though I know better now and live a much healthier lifestyle, sometimes making the healthy choices that I know are right for me can be hard when I find myself in a group setting. Sometimes it’s a sense of peer pressure, or the fear that someone might judge me, or draw wrong conclusions about me trying to lose weight, or sometimes it’s just the old feeling that I should let myself over indulge as a treat. I’ve had a box of doughnuts shoved right under my nose during a group meeting with someone insisting that I take one. I’ve lost my resolve to order a salad when I hear that all of my coworkers are ordering the burger and fries. These situations alone aren’t necessarily a problem, but they can add up if they happen too frequently.

What I’ve found with my coworkers though is that sometimes they are appreciative of me making healthy choices. This has all led me to realize is that I don’t have to be a food/health follower. I don’t have to let my eating habits follow someone else’s. I can be strong in making the choices that I know are right for my own health. And maybe, just maybe, my coworkers will respect me for that and I can be the one to set an example.

Here are some of my tips in forging your own path and setting a healthy example:

  • Bring a healthy treat –  In my group, we are on a weekly rotation to bring in treats for our group meeting. The norm is usually doughnuts. A fresh fruit platter or mini muffins are a nice healthy break from the ordinary.
  • Have an opinion – Don’t sit back and say that you don’t care where the group goes to lunch. Take an initiative and offer up a restaurant that you know has healthier food options. Don’t be judgmental and don’t be offended if they don’t like your suggestion. You can’t win every time.
  • Move – Suggest taking the stairs, walking to your destination, or taking an afternoon break to stretch or walk around. If they decline, just reply, “ok, I’ll meet you there then!” and take the stairs or walk anyway (unless you’re in an area where it might be dangerous for you to be on your own).
  • Share your food – If someone comments on what I’m eating, I always take the time to answer their questions, share recipes, and offer them a taste. They’re usually surprised to find that it’s not gross and it does have flavor!
  • Talk about it – discuss what you ate last night, what sort of exercise you did, or the recent health article you read. Others will be inspired to be part of the conversation, and who knows, you may find a new fitness partner!
  • Guilt free – Most importantly, you can’t judge others. Everyone is on their own path with health and what works for one person doesn’t always work for another. Don’t give someone the guilt trip for a food or fitness choice they made – that’s not your place.

I want to know, are you a healthy example to others? What are your tips for setting an example?

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