ACTivity/ Drink And Lead


Ubud, 26 September 2017 — If you are you carrying too much weight as you work on developing your leadership, investing in a healthy lifestyle may be the right challenge to take on.  

Among the leaders I work with—of all ages—I am often asked how to release weight and start a healthy lifestyle. This is a challenge for many, and understandably so.

In today's urban culture, when you are always on the go and spending hours in traffic, it can be a challenge to find healthy food at the right time and place. And when you get home, you may be pressed for time as well to prepare a healthy meal.

Or perhaps it's a more basic question of whether you take into account your health when you make your food choices, or if you let your eyes decide.

A Healthy Lifestyle

Over the years, I have paid more and more attention to practicing a healthy lifestyle. And I discovered from my own experience what a good challenge this is for leadership development. 

Almost a year ago, I wrote about Starting a Body Dialogue after I gained the awareness that I was carrying too much weight around and that my blood sugar and cholesterol levels had increased. After I wrote and talked about it, several emerging leaders echoed their support and decided to start their own Body Dialogue.

After six months of practice, releasing a good 13 kgs of weight and growing into clothes three sizes smaller, I followed up with a second post Growing Into Small. And today's post Drink And Lead adds to the series. 

The good news is that I have seen more and more emerging leaders around me—and some experienced leaders too—invest themselves into a more healthy lifestyle, with better quality food.

What I keep hearing is that, as they make progress, their step-by-step achievements become a big source of motivation to continue and make even more changes in their life. It accelerates their growth as leaders.

Leadership always starts with Self-Leadership, and creating a healthy lifestyle is a key part of it, with all the changes and habits that involves.

Better food is an important pathway to better health. As Dr. Axe, the well-known online health expert says: Food is Medicine. You may have also come across the adage that You Are What You Eat. There is truth in that as well.

While there are more good examples nowadays who can serve as role models, I still meet many aspiring leaders who look as if they would do well to grow into a smaller size and take up a more healthy lifestyle. 

A Leader's Challenge

Of course, good intentions abound. And let's be honest, getting started on a healthy lifestyle is tough when the positive energy of your good intention wears off after a few days (or hours). 

Keeping going with perseverance as the days stretch into weeks and months is also tough. Especially when the people around you are not yet persuaded to join you, and they keep eating unhealthy food in close proximity. How tempting those unhealthy comfort foods can look at times!

Here is where I realized that adopting a healthy lifestyle, exactly because it's tough, is a powerful challenge to take on as part of self-leadership and growing strong habits to support it.

Our development as a leader is most effective when we embrace the 70:20:10 Rule, which tells us that 70% of our results come from taking on challenges. So, all those hours watching videos about a healthy lifestyle contribute just 10% of the result you want to get.

I wrote earlier that embarking on a lifestyle change is much easier when you do it with a partner or partners. To get there, we need to influence others, which is another valuable challenge to take on. Think of starting to influence your family members, roommate or life partner now to join you in adopting a healthy lifestyle, including changes in your daily food choices. 

Taking on a new challenge, and persevering with practice, is what leadership is all about. And staying on course, and persevering in your practice requires building strong habits.

Adjusting your diet through a Body Dialogue is a good habit and, therefore, a good challenge to take on, with the results being easy to measure and monitor. It's a good starting point for taking on more leadership challenges.

Using Lemongrass for Health

In today's post, I'd like to share a further update on my own practice with a healthy lifestyle.

For the past half year, I have introduced lemongrass into my daily diet. Boiling fresh lemongrass stalks, sliced in rings (see the photo) and drinking it in water is reported to generate a good number of health benefits.

No less than 18 health benefits of lemongrass are highlighted in this article by Dr Axe which I recommend you take a look at. Some other sources point to an even larger number of benefits.

Of course, lemongrass has been a well-known ingredient in Asian cuisine for centuries, with a great natural taste. It is available in (super)markets in many countries, and fortunately at a low cost.

You too might benefit from lemongrass. Start by reading up on its properties and benefits, and work out how you can integrate it into your healthy lifestyle, as you see fit. 

If you cannot get fresh lemongrass where you are, you might be able to buy lemongrass essential oil in a health shop and use that in your food and drink (see the article by Dr Axe for how to do this). Make sure to buy a quality brand of essential oil—often higher priced—as it will give you the comfort of knowing that you will benefit from original quality ingredients.

Drink and Lead — As I continue my Body Dialogue, drinking lemongrass water helps me maintain a healthy lifestyle, as my doctor noted when he saw my results. Persevering with the challenge of choosing healthy foods keeps empowering me to become a better leader.

Have you already started your healthy lifestyle challenge?

Food is medicine.
— Dr. Axe