Nothing worth doing can be done alone. Phil Caravaggio
Start looking for your "pit crew" — all the people who can support and help you in your journey around the track of health.
Start recruiting your supporters
The people around us — family, friends, co-workers, roommates, etc. — can influence what we do. Make that work in your favour.
This week try building your social support network by recruiting some cheerleaders and helpers for Team You. You don't have to dump all your friends and only find new ones at boot camp or Kalefest.
Rather, look for ways that you can incorporate health, fitness, and good nutrition into your daily interactions with the people you know and love.
Along the way, you might have to have some tough, honest conversations about what you need.
You might have to negotiate some changes in your household routines.
But you'll probably nd that most people are rooting for you and want you to be healthier and happier.
Team recruitment 101
The more people you recruit for your team, the better your chances of succeeding will be. No matter how you do this:
• Buddy up. Don't be a lone wolf all the time.
• Look for opportunities everywhere. Be creative. Have fun.
• Be patient, but persistent. Not everyone will come around to your new healthy habits right away. That's normal.
• Figure out what YOU need to be your best self and ask for it. Remember: You need to put your own oxygen mask on before helping others.
• Focus on what you can control.
You can't control other people. You can only be the boss of you. You're in charge of your actions and your attitude, and you can do lots of things to improve your environment.
These are just a few ideas. "Grab and go" with the ones that suit your needs and your life. Even little changes add up.
Healthy living for the whole family
If you're a parent, you have a lot of power. You do the grocery shopping and organize family activities.
You're also a role model. Your kids are watching what you do.
This is a great chance to set a healthy example in your household and to provide the structure that kids need.
Healthy living is another opportunity to bond with loved ones. Cooking dinner with your partner (sibling, parent, etc.) or taking an after-dinner stroll together can help you both unwind and connect.
Here are some ideas that previous clients have shared with me.
Take your kids shopping "Let them pick out a vegetable that they like. Read labels together — if my seven-year-old can't read the ingredients, I don't buy the product. Talk about why you chose Product X instead of Product Y. Try new food together."
Cook as a family "Often picky eaters will become more open to new tastes and foods if they've been involved in preparing those foods. My little ones can mash potatoes or avocado for guacamole, snap the ends off green beans, set the table, wash vegetables, peel tangerines or boiled eggs, tear up lettuce for salads, and do a variety of other small tasks in the kitchen."
"Bonus: The earlier you can teach them to cook, the sooner you have some skilled kitchen helpers!"
Eat together as a family "Even if it's only one or two meals a week, find a time where you're not rushing or over-scheduled with activities. This is an important time to connect over a good meal."
Figure out healthier versions of family favourites "If I wouldn’t eat it, why would I let my kids eat it? I’m going to buy or make healthier snacks for them and keep the sugary granola bars out of the house."
Involve the household in planning "We all plan meals for the week on Sunday together, so we don’t have to think about what to make during the week. Then we make our shopping list from that schedule. And everyone feels included."
Schedule outdoor or other active family time "Kick or throw a ball around in the yard. Play tag. Walk the dog. Get on the playground with your kids. It doesn't have to be fancy."
Include activity in your family outings and vacations "Try a day of hiking — carrying a little one in a backpack is a great workout. Learn to surf together. Go indoor rock climbing (kids love this). Check out farmers' markets together. Look for destinations with lots of things to do."
Add a new veggie and new fruit of the week "We’ve been doing this as a family for 5 years. Now, my child is away and married and she still calls so we can discuss our “new” discovery of the week."
Use dietary displacement — healthy stuff first "I use the "plants first" option. If my kids want a treat, they have to have a piece of fruit or a vegetable first. Most of the time, after they finish a banana or an apple, or have chewed their way through some baby carrots, they've forgotten about the other thing."
Make healthy eating part of your normal routine "At first, new tastes or changes to food options might not y well with the kids. Stay patient and keep making nutritious stuff available. Remember, you're the parent. It's up to you to keep your kids safe and healthy."
(Here’s a little extra motivation: Research shows that kids who eat healthily and stay active are happier, sleep better, learn and focus better, and have fewer behavioural problems. Who wouldn’t want a calmer, smarter kid?)
Healthy friends and coworkers
You never know who might be a great running partner or food maven who can help you with healthy recipes. Start looking around for your fitness and food buddies. Cast a wide net.
You can use some of the same strategies to recruit support as you did with your family.
Get together for an activity Play a pickup game of whatever. Take a class with someone. If your buddy needs a sounding board after his recent breakup, try doing it during a walk in the park instead of over pizza.
Do a dinner party challenge Pick a theme. Un-crate the fancy china. Surf online for recipe sites. See who can make the healthiest version of a comfort food favourite, the tastiest kale chips, sneak the most veggies into chocolate cake, or come up with an all-plant-based menu. Have fun experimenting, sharing healthy food, and swapping cooking tips.
Have healthy conversations Whatever your situation or environment, at some point you'll probably have to ask for what you need to succeed. Keep the communication lines open throughout your journey.
Talk about your journey Many of my client's find that assignments and lessons are great conversation starters.
• "OK, kids, here's a taste test. On the right is a tomato from our garden. On the left is one I bought at the store. Take a bite of each and let me know which you like better."
• "Hi, dad. I know it's been a while since I called... but... how do you cook a roast chicken?"
What to do today
1. Notice how the people around you affect your decisions. Who are your cheerleaders and helpers?
What parts of your social network foster healthy living?
Regardless of who or what is around you, focus on what you can control: Your actions and attitude.
Check out our questions below for ideas.
2. Find small ways to build health and wellness into your social interactions. Try making little improvements to your regular routines with family and friends. Look for opportunities everywhere.
3. Negotiate. Talk things through. Ask for what you need to be your best. Solve problems creatively and look for win-win outcomes. Work with your team of family and friends so that everyone wins.
4. Have fun. Healthy living is for life. Get creative and enjoy it.