Exercise, Family, Leadership, Running

Healthy Lifestyle Inspiration

October 23, 2011

Have you ever had that moment where you stumble onto a perspective that makes everything feel right?  Something that all of a sudden makes somewhat difficult tasks seem easy?  My grandfather helped me find this perspective when I started to make some sustainable changes to my eating and exercise habits.  We called him “Poppy,” and he was a passionate man full of energy and life.  He was a picture of health well into his 80s (see below). He and my grandmother cooked almost all of their own meals, and they taught us a lot about great healthy snacks like peanut butter on apples along the way!


Poppy took us to the gym and always wanted us to run with him (even if we weren’t terribly excited about it; see below).

However, he never forced us to do anything we didn’t want to do with our exercise. He just simply told us how much he loved the YMCA and running, and would love it if we came. It made us feel like we were really making the decision to get involved with our fitness. And look at that smile on his face!

Poppy was one of the first people I thought of after college once I started to shed some of the old “offensive lineman” frame.  I was doing fine with numbered weight loss goals, but I wondered where does it end? How much do I need to lose?  I had been struggling with not really getting any lasting satisfaction from these numbered weight loss goals. Then finally it hit me one day when I was back home in Florida with Poppy.

While I know Poppy loved the energy and happiness he gained from leading a healthier lifestyle, I think he fully committed to those habits because he loved making an impact on the people around him. He was the guy still going to the YMCA and running into his 80s. He was still out throwing footballs with his grand kids and playing golf with friends. He continued to connect with so many people in his life which in my mind gave him lasting fulfillment. And I too want to be in control of my health, so I will have all these opportunities as I grow older. He passed away a few years ago, but I still keep his Men’s Over 60 10K medal up on my wall as a reminder of the way he lived his life.











Harold “Poppy” Schurig created a much larger perspective than just looking good and feeling good, but instead, he found a unique way to be healthier for his friends and family. I will always love and cherish my grandfather for helping me see this vision. I never feel obligated about my nutrition and exercise now, because I know it is much bigger than me. The happiness, energy and fulfillment I gain from a healthier lifestyle helps me connect better with my family, friends and colleagues. These thoughts bring purpose and authenticity into this aspect of my life. And maybe one day I can inspire someone like Poppy did!

Whether you are trying to find motivation to exercise or lose weight do you think it would feel different if you took a larger perspective with you? Sure, the numbers are nice to have as a measurable but try creating a “noble goal” that makes you feel authentic and genuine. Aside from my grandfather, another example came from a friend who told me recently that exercising became easier for him once he realized that if he didn’t get serious about his health and back problems, he wouldn’t be able to pickup his kids anymore.  It might take some time but search for a reason, person or group that would make your healthy lifestyle about something more than you. It sure makes 1 + 1 > 2 for me!

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  • Reply hungryhealthyhilary October 24, 2011 at 12:01 am

    That’s so great that your grandfather could be such a fitness inspiration for you. I personally didn’t have this with my grandparents, but I look forward to leaving that legacy to those I leave behind some day.

    • Reply Elements2Lead October 24, 2011 at 4:25 am

      Thank you for the kind words. I love that you are out there leaving a legacy with the people close to you. With that kind of attitude, I am sure you are inspiring others even when you don’t know it. It comes natural when you have a larger perspective.

    • Reply Carole Levy October 26, 2011 at 12:40 pm

      Jon, this is a beautiful post. A very touching tribute to your grand-father and a very compelling statement of faith of how you want to leave your life. Please, keep going posting!

      • Reply jon October 26, 2011 at 9:11 pm

        Thanks Carole. I am so excited you got to read it! Tomorrow is a scheduled writing session like we talked! You helped me move forward with all of this!

  • Reply Minced October 24, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Terrific post. Your grandfather sounds like a good inspiration to us all. I look forward to reading what comes next from Elements2Lead!

  • Reply Brenda Guinand October 26, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Inspiring post! Poppy sounds like an amazing person. I love this perspective on a healthy lifestyle. So often women just focus on the numbers and latest diets, but this is truly an inspiring way to look at health and fitness. Sort of the same way we should look at our relationships with family and friends and our spiritual lives too!

    • Reply jon October 26, 2011 at 12:41 pm

      Thanks Brenda! It was really nice to hear your perspective. I don’t really believe in the word “diet” but I do believe in finding a comfortable, sustainable, healthy lifestyle like you mentioned. I need to be able to eat plenty of goat cheese with you still! ha.

  • Reply Carole Levy October 26, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    PS: the presentation of you blog is also beautiful.

  • Reply Hunter Davis October 26, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Great post man! I am so proud of you starting this new chapter in your life by creating this blog. I hope it blossoms into a worldwide craze and you get to write your first book. Your an inspiration to me and I can only hope to achieve my goals in life. With your help, I feel that this is possible. Keep up the good work!

    • Reply jon October 26, 2011 at 9:14 pm

      Thanks Hunter. Your words mean a lot and you inspire me too as you reach your goals. We will continue to challenge each other. If not, Brooks will make us run! Ha.

  • Reply Conni Pelley October 27, 2011 at 8:09 am

    Good job Jon! Hal would be proud. Didn’t he have the best smile? Looking forward to reading many more of your posts.

  • Reply Renee Smith October 27, 2011 at 8:53 am

    This is so beautifully written! What an inspiration Poppy has been to you and now to each of us?!! I am so proud of you, and look forward to reading more posts.

  • Reply Erin Pedigo October 27, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Truly inspirational. As a woman who’s struggled with her weight all of her life I found your story to speak a great deal of peace. In my world of counting calories, weighing food & endless diet fades I would always end up bigger then when I started the “diet”. I realized that food was no longer my problem & the only thing standing in the way of my goal weight was me. Today I might not be the ideal size the Dr say I should weight, but the peace I’ve found in my daily exercise & whole foods lifestyle has brought me a life full of peace. Thanks again for sharing your story.

  • Reply jon October 30, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    Erin, thank you so much for sharing and you brought up a really important point in your reply. I would also blame food, traveling or even a perceived lack of time for why I couldn’t eat something healthy. When the only problem was me and I was getting in my own way! It sounds like you have developed a very balanced perspective to healthy living and that is fantastic. It is so nice to hear the peace you have found with your exercise & whole foods lifestyle. Talk to you soon.

  • Reply Greg Zahn October 31, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Jono – good stuff brother. As always it was great seeing you this past weekend. You have definitely captured your energy and passion with this page and I am looking forward to our next conversation and your next post. Great job.

  • Reply Liz Seymour January 17, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    So true! I’m insane about working out (and getting there with healthy eating) since having Will. I want to be here to watch him grow up. I love playing basketball with him, going on bike rides, etc. I try not to take for granted that I got a second chance! We try to enjoy something active every day…since I missed so many days there for awhile.

    • Reply jon January 18, 2012 at 9:54 pm

      Liz, what a wonderful perspective. You found a larger perspective around your health that I talk about in my Creating Meaningful Goals post. You mention that your health is more about being such a great example for your son and connecting with him. That is very inspiring and thanks for sharing. I bet it makes things a lot easier, and you sure have so much to be grateful for. You might like this TED video about a similar subject that I have been watching once a week http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXDMoiEkyuQ. And the healthy eating sure is a journey about finding balance that works for you. It sure is something I remind myself everyday, bc I love food. It sounds like you are doing so well and great to hear. Say hi to the family for me. Talk to you soon.

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