Food Rule #9: Health is a State of Being, Not a Number 

In order to be healthy and by healthy I mean truly healthy: good vital signs, good level of fitness and a healthy mind, you don’t need to have a 6-pack. There is no definitive quantitative score that defines health despite the amount and in-depth analysis of numerical recordings we can gather to indicate health or a lack of. Overall, I think when you are healthy you feel it within yourself. Just like when something just doesn’t seem right, we feel it within ourselves. A niggle, a fatigue or a pain and we notice. What we frequently don’t notice however, is the signs of good health that our body sends to us. Perhaps because they are less attention demanding than aches and pains – designed to grab our attention. If we focus deep within ourselves and pay attention we can see and feel signs of good health for us.

Maybe it is clear skin, a glowing complexion, or a general sustained energy level throughout the majority of your days. Perhaps it could be a regularity in bodily functions, such as sleeping and waking, or going to the toilet. I think also though, how we genuinely feel within ourselves is a good indicator: are we satisfied, fulfilled, content?

There is no dress size or waist measurement that fits everyone who is healthy. There is no sport that defines one person as more healthy than another, no calorie limit or excess to fit everyone exactly. Sometimes we are healthier than other times but the point is, to aim to be the healthiest and best version of yourself is a personal journey – that includes a bit of indulgence here and there.

My healthy is going to be very different from your healthy because our bodies are individual. There is general advice recommended for example, by public health bodies, but getting hooked up on a body fat percentage, or a 10k time or a “goal weight” or clothes size isn’t the way to go.

I don’t think there is a particular end goal to be attained in order to be healthy. It is a state of being, and you can be healthier or unhealthier than others or your previous self but there remains no destination at which you reach and stop. There is no finish line with healthy living, even if you reach your own peak health and performance, if you don’t maintain activity and healthy practices then you will lose strength, cardio ability and general fitness levels – which you will feel within yourself.

So forget measuring how healthy you are by a dress size or a “goal weight”. Forget comparisons to other people’s’ performances as a yard stick for health – some people who appear very toned and muscular may not be as healthy as you perceive them to be. Similarly, just because someone is considered ‘skinny’ or ‘slim’ by societal standards does not equate them to greater holistic health.

Health is about enabling you to live your life fully, not about fitting into a numerical category of health of scales and measurements. So I urge you to try to release yourself from being hooked on quantifying your health, and to focus on the natural method of how you feel. I don’t always manage this myself – I am a sucker for statistics for every aspect of my life, perhaps to the point of bordering obsession and need to feel in control by numbers in all areas of my life. I am trying to release myself though by weighing less frequently, removing my FitBit from time to time, and stopped insisting on seeing my vital sign results in the doctor’s office because health is a state of being, not a number.

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