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Women's Health

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.
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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.

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