I've read a few different articles lately on what people perceive as being healthy/healthful and the barriers that they identify. One article in particular (Children's Perceptions of Healthful Eating and Physical Activity, Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice, Vol 71, No 1, Spring 2010) involved interviews with Manitoba boys and girls ages 11 and 12. They were knowledgeable about the importance of eating healthy and being active, but as we know knowledge doesn't mean we change our behaviours. There was a disconnect between their knowledge and the actual choices they made on a daily basis (especially away from home).
These children found physical activity to be more pleasurable and easier than healthy eating. They knew that some foods were higher in fat or sugar and should be limited, but also tasted good! I think the key to remember is that we know when we put our bodies in motion (walk, run, bike, yoga, etc.), but we only give ourselves credit for healthy eating when we try to eat healthy 100% of the time. A balanced diet can fit all foods when physical activity is also a part of the lifestyle. I dream of a world where we 'treat' ourselves to healthy foods (vegetables, fruit, whole grains, lean proteins) and bring children up in a world where those foods can be part of celebrations like birthday parties. My favourite words (VARIETY, MODERATION, and BALANCE) are key here, but behaviour change needs to happen for us to create such healthy habits.
A few questions from the article interviews are:
1. What does being healthy/healthful mean?
2. Which is easier: eating healthy or being physically active?
3. What makes it hard to eat healthier? To be physically active?
4. What would make it easier to eat healthier? To be physically active?
So, for Q's Day please feel free to respond to any (or all) of the questions.
What does being healthy mean? What makes it easier/harder?
Share your comments, answers, questions, ideas, etc. Identifying what makes it easier or harder may help you see a pattern and find a new area to focus on to create a new habit. Support each other with your successes and challenge!
Steph (Wheler) Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching