Saturday, March 24, 2012

It's A Group Thing!

There are a lot of components to a healthy life style. Eating healthy is probably the most obvious. Exercising, staying active, is also an obvious component. However, there are a lot of less obvious components that people tend to forget about or not prioritize, as well. Making sure your body is getting plenty of rest, staying properly hydrated, meditation, proper stretching and muscle care, avoiding toxins both physical and mental, the list goes on.

While participating in the Select 55 Weight Loss Challenge, my best tool for losing weight was by far my team. We emailed, texted, and called each other almost every day. It was so motivating to hear about their successes through the week. It made me want to push myself more. I wanted to also be successful, have them all be proud of me, and not let them down.

We made a pact that no matter what happened during the challenge, we were all in it for the long run. No one scolded me or made me feel bad if I had an off week. Instead we all encouraged each other to keep moving forward and keep trying. Really, that's how it has to be in real life outside of a weight loss challenge. Everybody has bad days or weeks but the most important thing is to keep working toward your goal of a healthier you. We all have our eyes on the big prize: long, healthy, happy lives.

Even though the challenge is over, we all still 'check in' through the week. We all weigh in once a week and we are all still committed to reaching our goals.

What's gonna work? Teamwork!
(If you have small children, you've probably heard this and will now have it stuck in your head all day... sorry.)

Here are some of the important benefits I have received by working with a group.

1. Accountability: It's much easier to make excuses and give up if there is no one to answer to but yourself.
2. Encouragement: Sometimes a few positive words can make the difference between giving up or pushing on.
3. Support: Having people going through the same thing will help keep you motivated and sane. If you are having a difficult time, you can count on your group to help get you through it. You can take comfort in knowing that you are never alone in your battle.
4. Fun!: Exercising is always more fun with a group. Get out of the gym and hit the trails together for a run or hike, go biking, register for a race, partake in some group sports such as softball, volleyball, etc. The list is endless. My group actually has a fun trip planned for this summer!
5. Positive Results: When you surround yourself with positive people doing positive things in their lives you will get positive results.

I've often heard the quote, "Show me your friends and I will show you your future." Number 5 on my list of benefits goes hand in hand with this quote. Pay attention to your relationships and make sure you are not harboring any which may be unhealthy to you.

I hope you find this post helpful! If you don't currently have a group, find one. If you can't find one, start one. Check your local running community, check with your friends, check with your church, check with your gym/fitness club, check with your mom's bridge club. Whatever it takes. Your life, your health, is your responsibility but you don't have to make the journey alone. Make every effort to do something good for yourself.

Don't just take my word for the awesome benefits of a support group. Check out this article regarding a study done by doctors and researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Peace, love, happiness!

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