food for thought

Food for Thought: My friends and I gathered for pie and treats to discuss health. Yes, we know what irony means.

Disclosure: I was compensated to host this in-home discussion party, but all ideas are completely my own.

When I was asked to host an in-home discussion with a few friends about what we consider healthy living, it was hard to say no… It seemed like the perfect excuse to have friends over for a good conversation, fun food, and some much-needed cocktails. I limited my invitees to women in my direct neighborhood, figuring we all know what each other’s schedules are like and what we do (if anything) for exercise. What I got out of the conversation was in some ways to be expected (we were a mix of everything from former high school athletes to total bookworms who hate to sweat) but in other ways fascinating. Here are five takeaways from our discussion about What’s Your Healthy.

1. We all believe our kids are healthier than we are and than we were as kids. No matter what we all felt about our own status of health (which with the exception of weight was generally positive), we all unanimously felt that our children are not only healthier than we are, but that they’re growing up healthier than we did. Statistically, this is not true across the board, but the seven women at my dinner table felt despite less recess time in school than we had, our kids are involved in more organized sports (including soccer, running, tennis, dance, basketball, lacrosse, swimming, and gymnastics). My one good friend also brought up the fact that we tend to be more careful about what we feed our kids than our parents were (several of us remembered having white bread, deli meat and mayo sandwiches for lunch as a kid). But just because we are careful about what our kids are eating, and how much time they are spending in front of screens (one friend allows ZERO screen time Monday-Thursday), we don’t all take care of ourselves with the same diligence.

2. No one wanted to work out or exercise with their kids. Because we were all so confident about our kids getting the amount of physical activity they do in their own teams/programs, no one wanted to incorporate exercise into their parenting relationship. My one friend who’s in excellent shape and runs nearly every day said running is her “sacred time” — and the last thing she wants is to have to exercise with her three kids. This was a resounding “No way” from the group. Whether it’s yoga or walking or running or water aerobics or exercise videos, everyone wanted to work out sans children.

3. Everyone DID, however, want to exercise with friends. Everyone agreed that having someone to go to the gym with, meet for a run or long walk, or attend classes with is a huge boost to wanting to work out. The runner friend explained how if she didn’t have her running partner, it would be that much easier to skip running on days she didn’t feel like doing it. But knowing her dear friend is waiting and counting on her makes a huge difference. We talked about various apps like MapMyWalk, MapMyRun, MapMyRide that help keep track of the miles we’ve logged. No one wanted it uploaded to Facebook, but everyone felt the apps would be helpful to meet personal goals. My friend who belongs to the Y with me invited me to take old-school step aerobics with her. We vowed to get our grapevine on together!

4. Weight is not the only indicator of health.  Many of my friends are already at an “ideal weight,” but that doesn’t mean they don’t struggle with staying on top of their health. Whether it was not getting enough sleep, not finding time for physical activity or not eating well enough, everyone had other issues beyond weight that concerned them about ensuring lifelong health. We discussed iTriage and other apps that could help us with diagnosing  health problems and figuring out when it’s time to head to the doctor and what’s just part of approaching 40 or 50.

5. New year, new health goals. All of us were interested in making personal health goals, but at this point of the year, it seemed easier to wait until Jan. 1 like the rest of the world. How will you  manage your healthy in 2014?