11 Of The Best Health Lessons We Learnt From Our Mums


Because mum knows best, we ask our Vitality contributors – from Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill to Dr Hazel Wallace – for the best wellness wisdom they owe to their mothers.

She’s often the first person you call when things go wrong and her wealth of life experience means she can help with everything from self-esteem to first aid. She’s a pro at bolstering our physical and mental health and she’s especially influential when it comes to food – more than half of us credit out mothers for our culinary skills.

Though no one’s relationship with their mum is perfect, she’s often one of our biggest influences. In celebration of Mother’s Day on, our Vitality contributors share the best motherly health advice that really made a difference…

1. Try not to compare yourself

“Mum always instilled self-belief in myself and my sister. She would always tell us to believe in ourselves and that we could achieve anything we set our minds to. When I was competing, she would always say to me, ‘don’t let the big girls intimidate you!’”

Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Olympic gold medallist and author


2. Forget the scales

“My mum discouraged us from using weighing scales. She was very body-confident and taught us not to talk negatively about our bodies. She said, ‘how much you weigh isn’t a measure of your health.’”

Dr Hazel Wallace, doctor, author and founder of The Food Medic


3. Be kind

“My mum always said: ‘make sure you’re always kind and treat people with respect.’”

Joe Root, Captain of the English Test cricket team


4. Make the most of everything you have

“Growing up on army bases in the UK and Germany, my Filipino mum always taught me to respect food, never waste anything and also how to make a meal out of almost nothing. She always used to say, and still does, ‘if you’ve got garlic, onion and ginger, you can make anything taste delicious’. I call them the holy trinity of flavours.”

Melissa Hemsley, cook, author and one half of Hemsley + Hemsley


5. Treat yourself

“My mum always presses the importance of having a balanced diet. She always reminded me of the need to treat yourself. I’ll do that now with the odd treat or meal, but I try to limit it to once a week!”

Ellie Simmonds, Paralympic gold medallist


6. Me-time is the best medicine

“The best advice my mother gave me was to examine the way I was living when I become ill as a junior doctor. After seeing multiple medical specialists, she was the only person who highlighted the importance of a good diet, mindfulness and a lifestyle tweak.”

Dr Rupy Aujla, doctor and author


7. Give it everything you’ve got

“My mum has always told me, ‘just do your best, this is all you can do.’ These words have been incredibly inspiring and powerful for me and form a massive part of my life today.”

Jonny Wilkinson, former rugby union player


8. Forget the fads

“The best health life lesson my parents have shared with me is moderation not deprivation. My parents have never been ones for fad diets or cutting things out, instead they focus on wholesome home-cooked food, packed full of nutrients.”

Zanna Van Dijk, personal trainer and fitness blogger


9. Smiling will get you everywhere

“I didn’t feel that I was good at anything at school, but my mum used to tell me that I was so great at smiling. She said that although that seems small, it would get me far in life and it definitely has!”

Madeleine Shaw, nutritional therapist, author and mum


10. Watch and learn

“One of the most important health lessons I learned from my mom was how to make my own dinner. When I was growing up she would cook for us almost every night and I would hang out at the counter and watch. She showed me how easy it is to make delicious food with simple recipes and high quality ingredients.”

Patrick Beach, yoga teacher and Virgin Active ambassador


11. Respect your body

“There’s no denying that the most valuable health lessons have come from my mum. She taught me that soup is the best natural healer, especially for flu. And to listen to my body – if it feels too tired to work out, don’t push it.

“As a cook, I always follow her advice for treating skin burns, too. Treat it with 20 minutes (minimum!) of cold running water before anything else to prevent blistering.”

Olivia Wollenberg, chef, author and found of Livia’s Kitchen


If our mums have taught us anything, it’s the older you get, the wiser you become. Check out our tips for living longer and happier lives.