Column: You’ll Get By With a Little Help from Your Friends (or Not)
My new motto: if you can’t nail a #50DayWellnessChallenge, at least surround yourself by people who can. There is a good chance their success will rub off. It’s called “lifestyle contagion” and right now, it’s my best hope.
If you started the #50DayChallenge on October 3 and plan to end with a grand celebration, social Trade Show and a Slow Food inspired feast at the Wellness Gathering on November 22, you’re now in the home-stretch. Let me cheer you on.
As for me, I suspect my 50 Days might never be done.
I began at the chin-up bar. Start. Stall. Start. Stall. Got to almost 20, then missed a day. Then two.
Who knew the hardest part of doing few chin-ups would be psychological?
In need of reassurance, I sought inspiration from Dr Art Hister, an ultra endurance athlete I interviewed recently, and JP Auclair, (because thinking about the other #50DayWellnessChallenge participants just made me feel like a dud.)
Dr Hister was brought to Pemberton by the Winds of Change and the Pemberton Rotary last month.
Zoé Martin distilled his Speaker Series presentation into a post for the Wellness Almanac blog. She took away some interesting points, “including the fact that women in Canada live 5 to 6 years longer than men. What did Dr Art put this down to? Women generally have greater support systems and they tend to talk to friends and family about their health concerns. Men keep their concerns to themselves.” Dr Hister also speculated that women deal better with stress and are more inclined to listen to their bodies, their doctor or their family and friends.
Women don’t have a monopoly on wellness. Kevin Calder-Becker has just turned 50 and is on his way to Hawaii to compete in Ultraman, alongside his wife and fellow competitor, Kat. Ultraman is a seriously intense invitation-only “triathlon” that is more than double the length of an Ironman and involves 36 hours of competition over 3 days.
I asked him what advice he has for people wanting to get up off the couch… remembering that just 15 years ago, he and Kat got started on this path because he’d quit smoking, packed on 65 pounds and didn’t want to be that way.
He said, “Have a goal. Always put something on your agenda, so you’re not just training for nothing. Have fun. And finally, don’t be too hard on yourself. We’re not all perfect. It’s okay to have a bad day. Let it go.”
Calder-Becker’s positive approach is a reminder that it’s better to be doing something than nothing, something I first heard from the late, much loved, skier JP Auclair, as he was editing his famous street segment for Sherpas Cinema’s All.I.Can. He was talking about the environment and climate change, but the sentiment applies a lot more broadly. “We feel like we need to be doing less of this, less of that, but I don’t think it’s about doing less, I think it’s about doing more. The better potential for progressive change is not just to do less and feel bad all the time. That is just too counter-creative.”
A few years ago, a New York Times magazine article called “Are Your Friends Making You Fat?” spoke to the idea that happiness, wealth, smoking, or fitness can spread as virally as a disease. Your friends “infect” you – with their good or bad behaviours.
“Staying healthy isn’t just a matter of your genes and your diet, it seems,” the article reported. “Good health is a product, in part, of your sheer proximity to other healthy people.”
Instead of a physical, maybe your best measure of wellness is relationship check-up.
So, come by the Wellness Gathering from 1pm-7pm on Saturday November 22. Meet like-minded folks. Mix it up. Mill about. Who knows what or who will rub off.