Healthy. It’s such a loaded word, isn’t it?
Once-upon-a-time being healthy was as simple as feeling well, getting good results at your annual check-up, and being able to do the things you want to do — physically, mentally and emotionally.
Today? Not so much…
It seems that being healthy in 2017 is no longer just about how you feel, but is also defined by your ability to complete a long list of the latest *cough arbitrary cough* healthy rules.
So while it was once simple to gauge the old health barometer, these days it’s much harder to know if you’re in good shape or need to shape up.
I mean heck, what does healthy even mean anymore?
If you had asked me that question at different stages of my life I would have given you very different answers.
During my childhood and early teens I defined being healthy as having a clear mind, an active body, and no runny nose or belly ache. Add to that sleeping well and eating my vegetables, and I figured I was doing just fine.
It wasn’t until my late teens that things like body-shaming and dieting really came to my attention, but boy did I catch on fast. At this time I would have described being healthy by my pant size, weight and rapidly receding reflection.
In my mid-twenties I worked hard on redefining what healthy meant for myself, yet the little voice inside my head — the one that then drove most of my decision-making — still came straight from the pages of a women’s health and fitness magazine.
At this time I also confused the need to be healthier with the need to be the healthiest, a mistake that you might also be making and one which is preventing you from loving your body and life.
Yet now, as I peer over the edge towards my 29th year, I’ve made a discovery that will make you smile.
Can you guess what I’ve decided, after more than a decade of wading through contradictory advice on what it means to be a healthy woman?
Being healthy is having a clear mind, an active body, and no runny nose or belly ache!
(Don’t you love when things in life come full circle?! I know I do!)
Is that a simplistic statement? Sure.
Am I actually more healthy now than I was as a teenager? Undoubtedly.
Do I think we all need to be more proactive about our health, and feel encouraged to make gentle changes every day that make us that little bit healthier? I do.
But the truth is that we can do that without making healthy feel harder. We can define this term for ourselves and recognize that there is no one-size-fits all when it comes to creating a healthy life.
So if you’ve been feeling behind the eight-ball in trying to figure out what healthy means for you, here’s what I recommend you do:
- Close the magazine or shut down that social media app that is trying to define YOUR health on their terms.
- Take a breath.
- Then, think about what your 12-year-old self would have told you, had you asked what healthy meant to them.
Start there and the right actions will follow.
As always, let me know how it goes.