Become a Healthy Leader
Be the Person You Want Around You
Have you ever been pressured by your friends to do something unhealthy? To drive when you could have walked. To eat junk food instead of a balanced meal. To drink more alcohol instead of some water. Don't worry, you're not alone.
For better or worse, we tend to look and act like the people we hang out with. It's easy to relent to peer pressure, but it can be devastating if that pressure is always pushing you toward harmful decisions. It's time to stand up for yourself.
Take control of your health by becoming the good example you wish your friends would be. Don't blindly follow their direction, take the lead. Here are steps you can take to become a healthy leader.
Write down a few simple things you're going to do. I like to call it a health list. Then put that list in your wallet or purse and carry it with you everywhere. The act of putting something down on paper makes it real. Having it nearby when temptation arises, gives you something to take out and look at when will power is weak.
Choose things for your list that are SIMPLE and SPECIFIC. Here are some examples.
DON'T write down that you're going to "get more exercise."
DO write down that you're going to walk your dog, play Pokémon GO or ride bike at least 15 minutes a day, instead of driving.
DON'T write that you're going to try and "eat healthier."
DO write that you will cover three-quarters of any plate of food with vegetables, and only fit meat in the last quarter. That doesn't mean you can use larger plates! Try and fit it all on a 9-inch platter.
DON'T write that you're going to watch less television.
DO write that you're going to set a timer every time you turn on the television. After one hour, you will get up and do something active for at least 10 minutes before you allow yourself more TV time.
DON'T write that you're going to eat fewer snacks.
DO write that you're going to limit snacks to twice a day. When you do eat, formally set the table every time. You want to slow down the impulse to grab and go. The act of setting the table will make you consider what you're about to do and cause you to eat less.
Once you have a list, share it with all your friends. Let them know that you'd like their support. Invite them to join you in making healthy decisions. When you make your desires known, it gives the people around you a chance to help out.
Stand strong in your actions. Making better choices isn't about sacrifice, it's about improving your life and expanding your capabilities. Healthier people can do more things for longer periods of time. The choices you make today determine how your life will be tomorrow.
Set a time, once a week, to reflect on and update your health list. You might find some things are working, but others not so much. Reconsider what's helping you weekly and write down the changes.
Don't let the list grow to more than five or six items. If there are too many things to do, it'll quickly become overwhelming. I keep something on the list until it becomes a habit and I couldn't imagine doing anything else. That can take 3-9 months. Once it's a part of my life, I take it off and add a new challenge.
Share your successes with friends and family. It's not bragging. You need to let them know you're serious and you're seeing results. Over time the people in your life will come to accept you, or they won't hang around anymore. Some may even like the changes they see in you, and ask you to help them do the same. That's when you share these tips and create more health leaders.
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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.