Perception of Health
What is your perception of healthy? Depends on who you ask. For the most part, I believe that most people associate “good health” with their body image. Are they skinny, toned, the envy of all those they meet? A lot of times people will see someone who fits these adjectives and automatically assume that because of their outward appearance, they’re healthy. But, the truth could remain unseen. That “healthy” person could be having an internal health problem that you are unaware of. Maybe they suffer from anemia or an autoimmune disorder like Lupus.
Just because you see a gym rat who looks like they belong in a trendy fashion publication, doesn’t make them healthy. Said gym rat might put in 12 + hours a week at their gym, but what are they consuming for sustenance? For some of those who workout habitually, they allow themselves to buy into the falsehood that if they workout regularly then they can eat and drink whatever they want. Consuming mass quantities of alcohol and processed foods. If they’re not overweight then they’re healthy, right? Wrong. Working out but not refueling with the correct nutrients might contribute to fatigue, brain fog, and leave the person at a higher propensity for developing disorders like diabetes and hypertension.
The judgement goes the other way too. You may see someone who you perceive to be obese and think that they must only eat fast food. When the reality is they could be eating healthier than you. In fact you may not realize it, but said obese person may have already lost a substantial amount of weight, could currently be experiencing an increase in their energy level, and have decreased both their LDL and glucose levels. Which in doing so allows them to go off of certain medications they once thought was a lifetime necessity. People who are obese or overweight are aware of their weight, and unknown to those around them, may be trying to lower their risks to chronic disorders by living a healthier lifestyle.
In a simple analogy, health is a two-sided coin. One side is physical activity and the other healthy nutrition. You can only get so far in your journey to improve your health if you’re only utilizing one of these two sides. In order to be at your most optimal health you need to use both. Working out is great. It could contribute to maintaining your muscle health, decreasing your stress, and improving your bone health. The same can be said if you’re eating healthy foods. Consuming a diet based in whole foods may lower cholesterol, glucose and hypertension levels. But when you combine both regular physical activity with a whole food based diet, you get a healthy lifestyle that has a synergistic effect.
Think of your body as a car. What does a car need? Answer, fuel and maintenance. Well your body, i.e. car, needs food (fuel) and regular physical activity (maintenance). What happens if you don’t put gas in your car? It stops running. What happens when you ignore the “service engine soon” light, eventually the car breaks down and then you have to pay costly repair bills. Your body is no different. You can eat high processed caloric foods and be malnourished. Meaning that you can eat and be full, but because you are not eating the correct kinds of food you are deficient in minerals,vitamins, fiber and other necessary nutrients that the body needs to function. Leaving you feeling tired and exhausted, i.e. “out of fuel”. That weird numbing pain you feel in your extremities cannot be diagnosed by Google, but by a licensed professional. Leaving this symptom unchecked could contribute to a preventable diagnosis of diabetes had you addressed it at the onslaught.
Attaining improved health cannot be done so overnight. There is no pharmacological pill you can take, a miracle “As Seen On TV” product, or a celebrity endorsed fad diet that can be had for a “quick fix”. Everyone’s biochemistry is individual to them and no one else. You’re unique and that’s awesome. What might work for your friends and family may not work for you and vice versa. Your health needs to be addressed and not forsaken because you’re too busy, too stubborn or for any other reason. Eventually, whatever it is that you’re choosing not to address will catch up to you. I speak from personal experience. My ego was recently the reason for me to be suffering unnecessarily for a period of almost 7 months. As a holistic nutritionist I have a lot of knowledge that allows for me to address multiple symptoms and/or disorders. However, I didn’t have all of the options available to me. Once I reached out to another health professional I found where I had overlooked and was able to reevaluate my situation. A month later my situation began to improve. I now am feeling more like my old self. While I might not be 100%, I am continually improving and am grateful for everyday that I feel better.
Improving your health does take time, but the subtleties that you once noticed may begin to diminish and allow you to start feeling better. It’s not normal to feel bad, don’t chalk it up to genetics, you can overcome whatever it is that you perceive as being your “normal”. Everyone possesses the ability to take accountability for their own health. Don’t let society tell you otherwise. No one can force you to be healthy, the decision is yours and yours alone. However there are external influences that can contribute to your action or inaction to address your health. Address those influences. Don’t allow whatever circumstance you think is preventing you from getting healthier control you. Address that circumstance and then allow it to influence your decision to improve your health. In today’s climate your health is your wealth. So the question is are you wealthy or are you poor?