What does healthy mean to you?
Really, take a minute to think about this question.
Are you letting someone or something define healthy for you? Is that the right definition for YOU?
It's actually much harder than you may think, because the term “health” has many facets. As an official definition, health is a state of complete and utter well-being. Notice it doesn't say you weigh a certain weight, have a certain body fat percentage, eat a certain way, or exercise a certain amount. It actually encompasses so. Much. More.
Yes, there are certainly physical standards that science and medicine have proven to have a connection to better health; there's no denying that. But what I'm really talking about here is the wholeness of your being that yes, includes physical health, but also the quality of your relationships, the balancing of stress-inducing events with rest-providing activities, emotional selfcare, and mental attentiveness.
Social media can have a big influence on how we define our personal health and the inner dialogue we have with ourselves about it. This day in age, people are so exposed and overwhelmed with the stresses that social media brings. It can take a toll on happiness if we allow it or use it as the standard to judge personal progress. Everyone wants to look a certain way, act a certain way, live a certain lifestyle, and much, much more. The reality of it all is nothing is perfect behind the curtains. People may “look” like they’re healthy or making good choices all the time, but the pictures they post don't tell the whole story.
So, that brings us back to our original question, “What does healthy mean to you?” It might be time to do an inner cleansing of all that is influencing your personal definition to discover what true health looks and feels like.
Does it mean exercising 6-7 days a week for 1-2 hours? Does it mean eating a highly restrictive diet and never wavering from it? Does it mean maintaining a specific weight that appears to be ideal or you used to weigh? Does it mean not eating a particular food or deeming sweets bad? Does it mean you have abs or a 6 pack?
Please consider the potential negative consequences that some of these definitions can have in overall, true wellness.
If you workout seven days a week, eat a restrictive diet and make sure your weight is below the mark, are you REALLY healthy? Are you healthy mentally, physically, emotionally, and even spiritually?
The sad truth is many people do this, but are not experiencing true wellness. In their pursuit of health, they are actually sacrificing so much more. How much time is spent getting a good night’s sleep?
How much time is spent with friends and family?
How much downtime is this person able to have?
How much time is spent enjoying a meal with loved ones?
These are the other components of being healthy that many fail to remember, recognize, and honor. If your body or spirit is broken down from going to the gym 6-7 days a week for multiple hours, then don’t. Listen to your body; it's telling you what it needs. The last thing you want to do is take the joy out of exercising and moving, or break your body down to the point where you no longer can freely move. Exercise isn’t a punishment, but rather a reward. Feel blessed you are able to take care of your body and exercise! If eating feels like a chore, is not pleasant, or constantly deprives you of favorite foods, then give yourself some slack. Eating should have some pleasure and joy on a regular basis.
Certainly it is good to always strive to make a healthier version of ourselves, but life is also about that mysterious word "moderation". It is essential to remember getting enough sleep, enjoying nutritious meals, drinking plenty of water, quality time with loved ones, and taking time for ourselves are included in that plan.
Moral of the story: commit to figuring out what experiencing wellness means for you, rather than just exercising a certain amount or weighing a certain number. Your definition of healthy may change from day to day, week to week, month to month, and definitely year to year. That's OK friends. In fact, it's normal.
Life is tough, crazy busy, and erratic at times, but staying committed to your wellness needs throughout this unpredictable journey can anchor you through life's storms. If you need sleep, skip the gym and get some sleep. You don’t need to go to the gym for the 8th day in a row. Take that time to let your body and mind rest. In fact, too little of sleep can actually lead to weight gain because it may offset your hormones. This is a perfect example of why it is essential to remember each component of wellness.
Lastly, you don't have to ever feel alone in this forever journey. Find your tribe that supports the journey of whole-being wellness. You certainly have a home here on Make Healthy Easy. We are all striving to better ourselves, it is just a matter of figuring out what works for your body, mind, and soul in each season of your life.
To dive deeper into these areas and more, check out my online course The Make Healthy Easy Approach.