We're over halfway through the first month of 2018, and the "it's time to get healthy and make 2018 your year!" is still in full effect.
I get it - we all have goals and resolutions. Who doesn't want to get healthier? It's an admirable goal, especially given the health of our society at large.
However, I think our conventional definition of healthy isn't quite correct. Over the past ten years of my health journey, my definition of healthy has changed dramatically. No longer do I think skinny equates to healthy, nor do I think that low-fat or low-calorie equals healthy.
Think about it - what does healthy mean to you? What comes to mind when you hear or read the word healthy? Below, I'm outlining my current definition of healthy to help you as you start to piece together your own personal definition.
1. Healthy is not skinny.
If I had a dollar for every time I've heard someone say, "Oh look at how skinny she is! She's so healthy," I'd be one rich health coach!
Just because you are thin doesn't mean you are healthy. I've been 95lbs - was I healthy then? I was skinny, but I was far from healthy. I've also been 115lbs - was I healthy then? I was skinny, but I was STILL far from healthy.
Just because you are thin doesn't mean you are healthy. Just because you are categorized as overweight doesn't mean you are unhealthy.
Being healthy relative to your size is more about how you feel. Do you feel comfortable in your own skin? Do you wish you were thinner because it would make you happier? I have some news for you - this is a lie you've been fed by society. Being thinner doesn't equate with happiness because once you reach that place, will it really be enough? Will you ever be enough with that mindset?
Unfortunately, the answer is no.
You'll never be happy or good enough if you base it all on the size of your body. Just because you are skinny doesn't mean you are healthy.
2. Healthy is not low-fat, low-calorie, or low anything.
Healthy is not all of the processed crap we've been fed over the years. Healthy is eating real, whole, nutrient-dense foods that fuel your body properly, make it feel good, and don't leave it starving for real nutrition. Healthy isn't foods that have been altered to become low in one of the macronutrients or have been created in a lab.
Healthy isn't all about calories either. Consider this - would you be healthier if you ate 1200 calories of Snickers everyday or 2500 calories of broccoli, salmon, and avocado?
Healthy is about fueling our body with real, whole food without deprivation of the nutrients we truly need.
3. Healthy is not just physical - what we can see.
Healthy isn't just what is going on on the outside - it's WAY more about what is going on on the inside. Our mental and emotional health is directly related to how healthy we are. Like I mentioned above, we will never be happy if all we want is to be thinner. That's a sign that our mental health needs work, not our physical selves.
Just because someone looks healthy doesn't mean they are. Often the people who look the healthiest, who seem to have their shit together all the time are the ones who struggle the most with their mental health. You never know what a person is going through or has been through until you know that person.
4. Healthy is not about being perfect.
Perfection is the enemy of the good. Being perfect won't make us healthier, more successful, or "enough." Instead, it only further serves to ruin our mental health, leading us to believe that somehow we aren't good enough the way we are.
5. Healthy is a journey, not a destination.
You aren't going to wake up one day and be healthy. It doesn't work like that. It's an evolution over the course of your lifetime. There is no destination. It's about making the best choices for your health with the resources you have available for you in each phase of your life.
Healthy isn't about being what other people tell you to be. Healthy is relative to you and your story. Don't let society tell you otherwise, lest you end up on a spiraling road away from health.
What is your definition of healthy?