journalLRWelcome to our healthy lifestyle challenge lead by our program dietitian Vicki Bovee and her husband, Bill. Because we can always do better to live a healthier lifestyle Vicki and Bill decided to work on a weekly challenge together to provide support and accountability for each other and hopefully inspire you to make healthy changes. Follow along with them as they tackle a variety of challenges to eat better, eat more mindfully, and improve physical health and emotional well-being. Vicki and Bill invite you to participate and accept the challenges to improve your lifestyle too. Some of them may be difficult and please feel free to modify the challenges to accommodate your dietary needs and physical abilities.

Challenge #29 Feel Good Week
It is said that happiness is a state of mind. I believe that to be partly true but I think happiness also comes from how you live your life which in turn affects your state of mind. Whatever the case, we do have control over our happiness.

Researchers have determined a happiness formula with three contributing factors:
1. 50% is a genetic set point so you actually can be born happy or unhappy
2. 10% is your life circumstances, such as your health, age, or marital status (Happier people are healthier, ages 50-70, and are more likely to be married)
3. 40% is the intentional activities we choose to do

And so this week we focused on the 40% we have control over. The kind of happiness that comes from buying something or eating a particular food is short-lived. We can seek and achieve lasting happiness by living a meaningful life. I teach “Happy Class” in our non-surgical Health & Lifestyles program that includes strategies for living a happier life. Bill and I picked two intentional activities, or strategies, for this week. We were excited to begin this challenge because we knew we were going to be doing something to give us a more positive attitude.

You’ve heard the phrase, “Practice random acts of kindness.” We decided to do a good deed every day. Giving something of yourself or practicing compassion makes one feel better about oneself. Our good deeds were simple…picking up trash while taking our walk, returning stray shopping carts to the store lobby, watering our neighbor’s plants.

Our second activity was keeping a gratitude journal. I did this journaling years ago but that habit got lost over time. Throughout the day we would write things we were grateful for and at night we would reflect on our day together with our gratitude lists. There isn’t a magic number to write down but we chose to write five each day. There is plenty of information available on the internet about this strategy and its benefits. You can get an app for recording but we just wrote ours down in notebooks. Again, most of things we were grateful were simple things in our everyday life.

Vicki’s observations:
• I didn’t go looking for my good deed. I just figured if I worked at being a good person a deed would present itself and it did. We can all be nicer to each other and you can’t have too much kindness in your life.
• Some of things I was grateful for I was aware of but I never wrote them down. Writing them down brought them to the forefront to remind me of how thankful I was for: being home during daylight hours, not having to pack my lunch, having Bill clean the house (and thanking him too!), having a reliable car, having a job I enjoy, taking a walk and seeing buds on the trees, my good health…..
• The challenge week is over but I continue with this because I like to stay positive and live a happier life.

Bill’s observations:
• It is so easy to go through the day and even the week and not realize that you have done some good deeds or that you really have many things to be thankful for. Taking time to think about your day and to write down your thoughts helps you understand that your life has many things to be thankful for and that your actions do bring happiness to others.
• The days go by so quickly and ours lives are filled with so clutter and it is nice to just sit back and reflect on the good things in our lives.
• I really enjoyed this challenge and it is one I continue to do. Just like eating with small utensils, this one is a keeper.

We all have many things to be thankful for. Sometimes when we get in one of our “valleys” it’s difficult to see our way out. It’s easier to start and maintain strategies to be happy than to dig ourselves out of a black hole. Connect with happy people and you will be more likely to be happier too.

We’re taking field trip next week and moving out of our food comfort zone. (Some foods are an acquired taste.) Come along and enjoy the adventure and create your own.

Eat Smarter…
Vicki Bovee, MS, RDN, LD

Want to catch up on what you’ve missed?
The road to success is always under construction.
Challenge #1 Eat everything sitting down.
Challenge #2 Eliminate cheese as an ingredient.
Challenge #3 Walk sideways in your home.
Challenge #4 Include a fresh herb in your daily meal plan.
Challenge #5 If there is food in your mouth there should be nothing in your hand.
Challenge #6 Eat the MyPlate recommendations for fruits and vegetables.
Challenge #7  Stand (and walk if possible) while talking on the phone.
Challenge # 8 Don’t eat out of the package. Put your food on a plate or in a bowl.
Challenge # 9 Keep a food record.
Challenge # 10 Power down while eating.
Challenge # 11 Eating to reduce inflammation.
Challenge # 12 Eating to help our environment.
Challenge # 13 Switch it up.
Challenge # 14 The road to success is still under construction.
Challenge # 15 Little bites.
Challenge # 16 Drink your water.
Challenge # 17 Count your chews.
Challenge # 18 The 100 Bite Diet.
Challenge # 19 Start your day right.
Challenge # 20 Holiday moves.
Challenge # 21 Limit TV time.
Challenge # 22 The Paleo Diet: Eat Like a Caveman.
Challenge # 23 Sweet dreams.
Challenge # 24 What color is your plate?
Challenge # 25 Six month reflections
Challenge # 26 Retro-walking.
Challenge # 27 Gimme a high fiber
Challenge # 28 The Half Plate Rule

WBI blue



Vicki Bovee is the Registered Dietitian for Western Bariatric Institute and leads the non-surgical weight loss program, “Health and Lifestyle Program.”