Some of the techniques we discussed that we can implement ourselves to ensure we eat happily and healthily are: Menu-Planning for the Week, Stocking Healthy Snack Items ie. trail mix, fresh fruit, greek yogurt, etc. and keeping them in various places to stave off turning to junk foods, and no longer using food as a reward for a job well done, even Journaling has been proven to have positive effects on overall Health!
But the real interesting facts come into play when we look at the impact Social Support Networks have on overall health. In a report completed by the Public Health Agency of Canada, they found that access to Health Services and the quality of care provided did not contribute to the overall health of the General Public as much as Social Support Networks (it was ranked #2 in the list of Key Determinants). This report made references to a study done in California that found that for both men and women the more social contacts an individual has the lower their premature death rate was. Social Environments was listed as Key Determinant to Overall Health as #5, and this factor alluded to the Community at large which we belong to (and its' social mores and values) playing a strong role in our Overall Health too. Personal Health Practices & Coping Skills were also listed as #7 on the list of top determinants for Health of Canadians (Health Services was ranked #10 right before Gender and Culture!), which demonstrates our need to support our own goals too!
For more info from this report please refer to this link: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/ph-sp/determinants/determinants-eng.php
So how can you build more Support Networks, if you find your current ones lacking or (God forbid!) non-existent? Here are a few things you can try, (though I am sure you can come up with some neat ideas of your very own too), you can involve your family and friends in healthy menu-planning and food preparation, join or start a walking/exercise group or Healthy Living group (with other like-minded folks), or invite some friends over for a Healthy Potluck Night (maybe even make a regular event!). Stay tuned for pics and recipes from my own Vegetarian Potluck coming in the next post! Or if you have a budding Yoga practice, invite a few friends to join you in a 'Yoga Studio Tour', and that way even if you don't end up with one of your existing friends becoming your 'Yoga Accountability Partner' you will hopefully find a studio that suits your needs and also meet others who could become your new 'Yoga Buddy'!
Establishing bonds with people who are like-minded or have similar long-term goals for their own Health will help to motivate you, inspire you and these people will build you up when you need it most AKA those dark times when you are feeling blue and want to hoover an entire bag of Potato Chips..instead of doing that you can call up someone from your new Support System and go for a brisk walk together in the Sunshine to boost your Spirits!
Eat Healthy, Be Happy!!
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