June 4th, 2015
I just returned from giving a keynote presentation at a Wellness conference, so wellness is on my mind more than usual. In addition to being a life, leadership, health and wellness coach, I’m a health enthusiast. Some would even call me a health nut. I track food intake, steps, sleep, and heart rate variability, among other things.
I am excited to report that my family is on board with me for embarking on a 7-day challenge that starts tomorrow (June 4) and will last for a week. We’re giving up a lot in the interest of deepening our connections, being more active and mobile, being less distracted and more in tune with each other and our surroundings, and in reaping the benefits of feeding our bodies healthy foods.
We are giving up all television, movies, video games, social networking. We’re giving up cars and transportation, with 3 very limited exceptions (see below image of our family’s signed “contract” for details), and we’re giving up processed foods. We’ll shop only the perimeter of the grocery market to ensure we’re buying and consuming healthy, real foods. We’ll walk and bike everywhere. We’ll spend our free time together biking, hiking, fishing, walking, playing board games and visiting our community’s playgrounds.
Disclaimer: As a matter of fact, we are already an extremely active family, and we’re quite health-conscious. We hike and play outside a lot, and from Monday through Thursday there are no processed foods consumed at our house, and we watch no television or video games from Monday through Thursday. We made all of these changes about 12 months ago. But there is more we can do. We often drive places that are only blocks away. The wheels come off to an unhealthy extent when it comes to “treats” and foods the kids eat on weekends, and we’re all a little too distracted by our screens. So there is much room for improvement, and this challenge will not be easy.
Here is a video that includes bits from me, my husband, and each of our three sons, as we get ready to embark on this 7-day Epic Health Challenge:
In addition to being a health enthusiast, I’m a voracious reader. Many of the books and articles I read are related to health and wellness. I am very much inspired by Dan Buettner’s Blue Zones work and research. In fact, I highly recommend his latest book, The Blue Zones Solution, Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People. The Blue Zones are the five places in the world where people live the longest, with the least disease and the most vitality. In researching these areas, and in interviewing centenarians, Buettner and his team of experts came up with 9 common denominators – otherwise known as “The Power 9” – that are common in areas where people live the longest, healthiest lives.
The Power 9 are: Move naturally (live in or set up an environment that nudges you to move naturally throughout the day) Purpose (people in the Blue Zones have something to live for beyond their work), Downshift (do things to remove/release stress), 80 percent rule (eat ’til you’re 80% full), Plant Slant (eat mostly plant foods), Wine @ 5 (people in the Blue Zones often drink wine in late afternoon), Right Tribe (the world’s longest-lived people choose social circles with healthy behaviors), Community (research shows that faith-based services are a common facet in Blue Zones communities), and Loved Ones First (successful centenarians put their families first.)
This 7-day Epic Health Challenge we’re embarking upon aims to bring some of the Blue Zones ways to the Johnson household. I will be blogging here about the experiment once it ends, and also for a blog at Barlean’s. I hope you’ll check back to see what we learned from the experiment!
As usual, thank you for your time, and for reading this. I really appreciate it.