The 8 Best Habits I adopted for Healthy Living

Split Screen Matt

The big fella on the left is me in 2007 before I finally got my act together. The picture on the right is me today.

Author’s Note: This is the first of a series of stories I want to write about healthy living. It’s a theme that’s especially important to me as I prepare for my first 150-mile fundraising bike ride in support of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. To learn more about the ride or support my fundraising effort with a donation, click here

I seem to have piqued the curiosity of my facebook friends this week when I posted a blurb about my impending drop through the 200-lb. barrier. The fact that I haven’t been at 199 or lower since I was 15 years old prompted a number of my friends to ask me how I’ve done it. 

I shouldn’t be surprised, I guess. I’ve battled my weight since I was eight years old and have spent 30 years absorbing any information I could find about how to fight it off. That’s what we do. If somebody scored a victory against obesity, no matter how big or small, we all want to know how they did it.

So, I’m going to share what I’ve learned and what’s been successful for me in posts over the next several weeks leading up to the bike ride of my life. They aren’t secrets, but admittedly, some of what I’ve built into my routine isn’t publicized as much as the dieting fads that grace magazine covers everywhere you look.

I won’t make you wait to find out what I don’t do. I don’t have any magic bullets, don’t adhere to terribly restrictive diets or partake in extreme workouts. I eat everything you eat (except celery…yuck!).

Every exercise I do has been around since at least the 19th century. I don’t go to bed hungry, I don’t take pills, do drugs or smoke cigarettes. I don’t waste any money or calories on salads unless they are loaded with great foods. I’m not afraid of carbs.

Most importantly, I’m not a doctor, nutritionist, certified personal trainer or in any way qualified to tell you how to lose weight. This is purely for entertainment purposes. I’ll back up what I’ve done with facts or studies when appropriate, but again, I’m telling you what worked for me, not guaranteeing it will work for you.

I’ll finish this entry with the one thing I have found to be a universal requirement when working towards a behavioral change as challenging as weight loss and fitness. Resolve.


You know what I’m talking about. You’ve known (or been) someone that got fired up to make a change around New Year’s Day or a traumatic event or whatever, but after a few tough weeks, the effort is abandoned. Better health was only a wish, not an actual goal.

This successful run for me has been a six-year effort. There have been some ups and downs, but I never quit. I accept that I’m in this fight for the rest of my life. I workout even when I’m tired. I work to find a healthier option over more-accessible junk food and I do not hide from my truth (I’ll talk more about that last one in my next post).

Very little of what I’m going to write will resonate with you if you lack the resolve to live a healthier life. It will seem too hard, too time consuming, too inconvenient. I’m not being critical because I’ve been there myself. I’m just warning you, resolve to live a healthier life is the foundation you build on. Without it your effort will crumble.

I welcome your feedback and invite you to share your own stories as we go along.

Thanks for reading.

About Matt DeMargel

Public Relations Flack, Health-Conscious Cyclist, Personal Finance Nerd, Global Wanderer and slightly deranged fan of St. Louis and Mizzou Sports. I only write when I have something to say, but I talk constantly!
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6 Responses to The 8 Best Habits I adopted for Healthy Living

  1. Steve says:

    Hey Matt,

    I knew you in high school and I have to say, I’m very impressed with your transformation — and I can tell through your FB posts and blog entries that you’re much more energized these days. What worked for me — which may not work for everyone, I’ll concede — is giving up all wheat products (not gluten-free, per se, since GF food replacements – i.e. corn pasta, GF
    “bread” – are usually not healthy at all). I don’t crave snacks all the time like I used to.

    Keep up the great work!


  2. Kathy Mair says:

    Hey, Matty-D! I’m so proud of you. I’m struggling mightily right now and look forward to your insights. And your humor. I miss your humor and our television talks!

  3. Allison (Phillips) Bain says:

    Nice to see you doing so well these days! I remember the 2007 Matt, but knew that you had the determination and drive to be where you are today. I have enjoyed reading your blog ever so often, and I look forward to the follow-up posts to this one…

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