When it comes to health, we often focus on one aspect, like weight or the absence of symptoms, to determine if we are healthy. If our weight falls in an acceptable range, we think we’re healthy. If nothing hurts at the current time then we think we’re healthy.
When we don’t have a whole-person view of health, then we really are missing the boat on living a full and vibrant life.
Let’s widen our definition of health. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines it this way:
a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity
So what that is telling us is that there are multiple parts to our health:
- Are you at a healthy weight?
- Would a routine lab work-up show everything in the “normal” range?
- Are you physically active?
- Do you have normal range of motion and flexibility?
- Do you have a healthy view of reality?
- Are you under a large amount of stress?
- Do you have effective strategies to deal with that stress?
- Do you struggle with previous emotional or traumatic experiences?
- How well do you interact with others?
- Do you have a good, supportive social network? This doesn’t mean a lot of friends on Facebook either.
- Do you feel connected to the world around you or do you feel isolated?
This is by no means an exhaustive list. I just wanted to give you an idea of how multi-faceted your health is. Now, if we were to focus on every little aspect of health, it could be a bit overwhelm so I like to sum it up with three phrases: Think Right, Eat Right, Move Right.
Think Right means we have a mindset for health.
- We make health a priority in our life and not an afterthought
- We make effective goals that help us pursue a healthy lifestyle
- We have productive strategies in place to deal with stress.
- We have a clear picture of what we want out of life.
Something I tell my patients that have talked to me about weight loss, is that weight loss starts in the head. That goes for all aspects of health. If we don’t have a healthy mindset, then we will never achieve any goal we have for ourselves for health or otherwise.
Our society has become so disconnected from the types of food we were designed to eat that we’ve got no problem eating something out of a box with a list of ingredients we can’t pronounce but if someone suggests that we eat mostly vegetables and fruits, we think they’re crazy.
Think about that.
Our country is rampant with obesity and other chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. We’ve seen a spike in autoimmune diseases and inflammatory diseases. It’s common for the last ten years of someone’s life to be full of sickness and disease. These things aren’t just happening by chance. It comes from what we expose ourselves too and a lot of that has to do with the foods we eat.
As a society, we need a paradigm shift. We need to get back to eating real, whole foods that nourish and support our body’s function. Now, I know that is easier said than done but it needs to happen. I’m not saying that we can never again eat a dessert or other foods that we like to eat but we have to be smarter about how often we do eat those foods.
Nutrition/diet is such a complex subject. It not only has to do with the nutrients we put in our mouth but also our motivations for eating and the associations we have with food. I start to get into more of that information in my free ebook you can find here.
We don’t move near enough. We have become so sedentary in today’s society. If you combine humans that don’t move with a standard American diet (SAD), you get a country rife with chronic diseases.
We’ve got to get back to moving on a regular basis. I’m not saying you need to go to the gym every day and lift weights for an hour. I would be happy if everyone just went for a walk after dinner.
I think that is part of our problem; we’re suffering from information overload. Much like diet information, there is a TON of opinions out there about what exercise you should do and which one is the best.
I tend to follow this philosophy:
Whatever exercise you will do is the best.
Do what you enjoy. What if you don’t enjoy anything? I’d recommend doing some work on your mindset for starters. Second, I’d recommend finding someone else to exercise with you. That should, hopefully, make it more enjoyable.
What matters most when you are getting started is to just be consistent and develop the habit of exercising daily. Once you’ve gotten past that step, then we can start looking at branching out into other activities that will align with your health goals, whether that is losing weight or building muscle or increasing endurance.
I hope this post got you thinking a little bit more about your health. Because of the amount of information in each subject, I couldn’t go into a lot of detail but I would encourage you to get my free ebook below where I dive into these subjects even more.
Out of Think Right, Eat Right, Move Right, which do you struggle with the most? Let me know.
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