The Well-Being Journal

Top 5 Tips to Better Eating

Jennifer Rudloff

Though some people gain weight by stuffing themselves too full, most of us gain 10 pounds every 10 years by eating just a little bit too much every day without even thinking about it. Here are easy ways to cut back on calories and eat more mindfully.

  1. Downsize your dinnerware. The size of your plates and glasses can actually cause weight gain. Try using 10” plates and tall narrow glasses to consume significantly less – without even thinking about it.
  2. Soup’s on! Nutritious soups with fiber-rich veggies leave you feeling full and satisfied, and can boost your health and weight-loss efforts too.
  3. Snack on nuts. A handful of nuts give you a dose of vitamins, minerals, and heart-healthy fats. Studies have shown that eating nuts may reduce your risk of heart disease and could even increase your lifespan.
  4. Eat an early, light dinner. By eating a light dinner earlier in the evening, you’ll give your body plenty of time to digest the food before bed. This practice not only promotes better sleep, but can even lower body mass index (BMI). To learn more about a healthy BMI, visit
  5. Slow down and be mindful of your food. Instead of eating on the run or in front of the computer or TV, sit down at a time to enjoy your food. You’ll learn to savor a meal, become aware of what you’re consuming, and as a result, eat less.
Topics: Healthy Living Tips to Cut Calories Weight Loss Blue Zones Project

Live on Purpose

Jennifer Rudloff

Beep...Beep…Beep…it’s your alarm clock. Time to wake up – but what is it that gets YOU out of bed every morning? More than just that first cup of joe – it’s your purpose. When your gifts, passions and values align and are expressed in how you live your life every day, you are living on purpose.

Living on purpose is one of the keys to living a healthier and longer life. In fact, research from the Blue Zones Power 9™ indicates that people who have a purpose live seven years longer than those who don’t. And it’s not just about years in your life, but life in your years, as a recent MetLife study based on the work of best-selling author Richard Leider attests. This study found that people with a “sense of purpose in their lives are more likely to report being happy and describe themselves as living the Good Life”.

So we know that purpose is a critical element to well-being – now what? As business leaders, how do we help our employees discover their purpose? How do we connect an employee’s individual purpose to something bigger – whether that’s an organization or their community?

The answer lies in first creating a work environment that focuses on the whole person. At Healthways, we’re committed to enhancing all areas of our colleagues’ well-being – their physical, social, community, career and financial well-being. What drives these well-being domains is a sense of purpose. We believe it’s our responsibility to give our colleagues the tools to awaken their purpose as part of our commitment to their total well-being. So, in partnership with Richard Leider’s Inventure Group, we have unveiled the Power of Purpose Workshop, both at our corporate office and in communities as part of our Blue Zones Project By Healthways. During this two-hour workshop, participants:

  • Connect the importance of purpose to overall well-being
  • Reflect on their lives as a life spiral to develop a sharper picture of their past and a clearer vision of their future
  • Identify their gifts, passions and values
  • Begin drafting a purpose statement
  • Develop a plan to “live” the purpose statement and to hold themselves accountable

When participants uncover their gifts and achieve a clarity of focus on their purpose, they are more aware of how they “show up” in all aspects of their lives – whether that be with their families, relationships, work and community. It’s as if a whole new world of possibilities opens up.

At the end of our colleague workshops, we challenge participants to identify how they are living their purpose in their daily work. We ask, “How are you bringing your gifts, passions and values to our overall organizational purpose?” -- “How can you live your purpose by helping our organization achieve ours?” Sometimes that requires even tougher follow-up questions – “If there is a lack of congruency, why?” -- “What could you do/we do differently to ensure an alignment?” Opening up these conversations enables our colleagues and our leadership to ensure we are leveraging the gifts of our talent and giving them the tools to take charge of their own well-being.

The same thing can happen in the communities in which these workshops are being held as well. When citizens have a greater sense of their individual purpose, they can look at their immediate community as a place to offer those gifts. Connections are made and communities grow stronger.

Living on purpose is never a destination – rather, it’s a continual journey. The Power of Purpose Workshops are just the beginning. What’s next on the horizon? Purpose Moais. From the Blue Zone of Okinawa, the term “Moai” translates to “coming together for a common purpose”. These Purpose Moais will bring together a small group of workshop participants to regularly meet and support each other as they all strive to live on purpose. What a great way to enhance community well-being, as well as strengthen participants’ connections to their purpose?

That alarm clock is still ringing…time to wake up to living on purpose.

Topics: Healthy Living Richard Leider Blue Zones Project Purpose Well-Being

5 Ways to Get Moving Without Thinking About It

Jennifer Rudloff

Blue Zones® research shows you don't have to run marathons to be a well-being super-star. In fact, many of the world's oldest and healthiest people engage in low-intensity activity on a daily basis. If your busy schedule keeps you away from the gym, here are some simple ways to get moving without even thinking about it.

  1. Move for the fun of it! Build activity into your life by doing what you love. Ride your bike to work. Walk to the store. Play basketball with your kids.
  2. Inconvenience yourself. Take the stairs at work. Park at the far end of the parking lot. Get up to change the TV channel instead of using the remote.
  3. Start walking. Walking is easy to do and free to everyone. It also invites company and can relieve stress after a hard day.
  4. Strengthen your social connections. Make a regular time to walk with your "moai" - a group of lifelong friends - and build social connections while you take steps to improve your health.
  5. Grow a garden. Gardening is a great way to be physically active daily and even helps reduce stress. Improve flexibility, strength, endurance, and balance, all with the benefits of fresh homegrown vegetables.

What are your favorite ways to move naturally each day?

Topics: Healthy Living Exercise Move Naturally Blue Zones Project

Iowa's Healthiest State Initiative: Blue Zones Project

Jennifer Rudloff

Reposted from The Exchange: Iowa Public Radio with Ben Kieffer

In October, Iowa began a process to become the healthiest state within five years. As part of that effort, ten Iowa communities will be selected to participate in the Blue Zones Project. Blue Zones are places in the world where people live longer, happier, and healthier. Join host Ben Kieffer as he talks with the author of “The Blue Zones,” Dan Buettner, and with representatives from three Iowa communities that want to be a part of the effort.

The Exchange is Iowa Public Radio's talk program that focuses on the news, issues and events in our state. This national award-winning program goes beyond the headlines of breaking stories, frames community problems, and fosters conversation.

Topics: Iowa Public Radio Dan Buettner Community Ben Kieffer The Exchange Iowa Blue Zones Project Healthiest State