Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Women's Health

Font Size

Elizabeth Gilbert: Eat, Pray, Roll Camera

As her best-selling memoir hits the big screen, the globe-trotting author tells WebMD what it's like to be played by Julia Roberts (!), plus her best and worst health habits.

Q: What's your healthy-living philosophy?

A: I have a list of 10 things, which I have found keep me happy and healthy, that I try to do every day. I can't say it's a prescription for everyone, but this is what works for my particular organism - - mind, body, and soul. When I take care of these things, everything else takes care of itself. Here is the list:

1. Take a walk.

2. Write something.

3. Read something.

4. Don't eat too much.

5. Spend some time in silence.

6. Stretch.

7. Send a message of love to somebody.

8. Drink water.

9. Mess around in the garden.

10. Floss.

Q: What's your best health habit?

A: Walking. I come from a family of passionate walkers, and I bless my parents every day for instilling the love and habit of wandering into my bones. I don't think a day goes by in my life where I don't head off on some exploration of my habitat on foot -- wherever I am.

Once in a while, I'll go for a jog to try to stay in better shape, but I'm not sure I believe in running. Certainly my knees don't believe in it! I think everything you need for total heath (cardio fitness, muscle stretching, blood pressure reduction, meditation, interaction with beauty, time to reflect, a pause for problem solving, spiritual reflection) can be found at some point during a long walk.

I love the feeling of moving at a human pace -- the pace at which our bodies were designed to move -- and experiencing weather, animals, new cities, familiar faces, all from the vantage point of my own two feet rather than seeing the world zoom past from the window of a speeding car.

I specifically decided to live in a small town (designed in the middle of the 19th century, with no suburban sprawl) in which everything can be reached on foot. And so I spend most of my life walking from place to place. Whole days go by when I never go near a car, and I love that. I love my small and human-scaled town, and my small and human-scaled life. My dog loves it, too: He comes with me everywhere.

Q: Your worst?

A: Overeating whenever I am in the company of other people. Celebratory bingeing, I guess you could call it. I seem to always get overexcited when I'm around the festivities of sharing meals with others, and I lose control of my fork. When I'm alone, I have no trouble eating small portions of healthy food and never crave anything more. When I eat with my husband, I eat about twice as much food as I would eat alone. Add a few family members and friends into the mix and I really start to pack on the calories. It does seem to be a mathematical equation for me that the more people who are at the table, the more I stuff myself. I've never been quite able to figure out how to control this, but I'm working on it.

Today on WebMD

hands on abdomen
Test your knowledge.
womans hand on abdomen
Are you ready for baby?
birth control pills
Learn about your options.
Is it menopause or something else?
Couple with troubles
Bone density illustration
Young woman being vaccinated
woman holding hand to ear

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Blood pressure check
mother and daughter talking
intimate couple
puppy eating