We’ve all heard the adage “start with yourself before you can change someone else” and that is certainly true.  However I have observed that many people are motivated to make changes when they know that someone else cares if they make changes.  Getting other people to do things differently can be a struggle, but research supports that by making personal choices that are healthy, like a virus (in a good way!), it spreads to your friends and family.  Health and wellness is very social, and when you keep that in mind it’s easy to find fun ways to spark a mini-wellness movement in your circle.  Here are the 5 easy ways to spark a wellness movement with your friends, coworkers, and family:

1) When you eat out, see if you can place your [healthier] order first.  If possible, talk about what you want to order prior to the wait staff arriving to the table.   Confidently place your healthier option order, and note that it looks/sounds really good.  It’s important to remember that taste is king, so the primary factor people consider is how the food will taste and whether it’s safe – only after that are they thinking “is this good for me?” so try to focus on flavors and taste when you are placing your order.

2) Or, ask if anyone would like to share a heartier entree.  Sharing is caring.  Since many entree meals contain 1000 calories or more, splitting an entree is the perfect solution to having a tasty meal but not going overboard.

3) Order a beverage that is health(ier).  Water, mineral water, iced tea (unsweetened), milk, etc.  If you are ordering wine or alcohol with dinner, stick with lower calorie options such as red wine, light beer or “skinny” mixed drinks.

4) Have a small group meeting at work?  If it is a meeting of 2-3 people, ask your coworkers if they’d be willing to have a standing meeting or even a walking meeting. Just standing instead of sitting burns more calories and reduces the risks of being sedentary.  Walking is even better, if you have that option.  If you have conference calls where you are the listener, that’s another good time to multi-task and walk while you listen.  It’s much more fun than just sitting and half-listening while going through your email.

5) Whenever possible, try to eat your meals sitting down and with other people.  Besides the fact that it’s more enjoyable, research supports that slows you down, causing you to eat slower and allows you to feel more satisfied with your meal.  The goal is to eat your meal in 20 minutes or more, because it takes that long to start to feel satiated (or full).  Eat quicker than that, and you could easily wind up eating more than you needed.

And there you have it!  How do you like to make small changes in your health and wellness routine?  Have you noticed how other people respond to what you order at restaurants?

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