What is Health?

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What is your definition of health and what does it mean to be healthy?

Health is not a certain number on the scale or a size jean you want to be in.  It’s unfortunate but the media makes us believe that we have to fit into a size 0 pant to be skinny and beautiful.  Skinny and beautiful is healthy right?!  I know plenty of people who have lost weight thinking they were ‘healthier’ for losing those pounds but get this – they felt crummier than when they weighed more.  Do you think that person is truly healthier in that circumstance?  I would say not.

Health is not simply the absence of a disease.  To me, one needs to look at the whole self of physical, mental, and social well-being.  We need the ability to adapt and self-manage when faced with challenges whether it be physical, mental or social.  It may seem that mental health and physical health are two different entities but really, it’s hard to separate the two because they help influence one another.

 

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These days we live in a fast-paced, high stressed lifestyle. How does one manage or adapt to this?  Life is about balance.  I’m going to say this word a lot because balance is very important in all aspects of life.  A well-balanced life is essential for living well.  One cannot focus all their time and energy into strictly one area of their life without neglecting the other areas.  Have you ever heard of “burning the candle from both ends?”  Most of us think we can do this, eat junk food, get little exercise, and still function adequately.  You may do okay with this lifestyle short term or when you’re younger, but the reality is that at some point it’s going to catch up with you.

Start first with deciding what your values are and what’s most important.  After you have that then you need to set your boundaries.  For instance, if someone is very career driven and puts all their energy into that aspect of their life and puts nothing towards their health and family – you can see how their health and relationships may deteriorate.  Make sure there is time set aside each day for an activity you enjoy, such as walking, working out, listening to music, reading, meditating, taking a nice hot bath, etc.

Try to stay organized and plan ahead.  If you want to eat healthier, then take time during the week to plan and prep your food so that when you’re busy or hungry you can stay on track and avoid grabbing for fast or processed foods.  Reach out to your support system, if you have friends who are also wanting to optimize their health, eat well, and exercise regularly – keep each other motivated.  Be sure to have time set aside for recreation and quality time for yourself and family.  Time spent connecting with family and friends will recharge your batteries and make you more efficient in the long run.

Don’t take short cuts.  Don’t do the fad diet because you want to lose a ridiculous amount of weight in a short and unrealistic time frame because that is not healthy, especially in the long run.  Balance is ever-changing and you need to give yourself some grace.  Don’t be too hard on yourself, you deserve self-love.  Another thing, quit comparing your life, your body, your job, your home, your family, etc. to other people.  Comparison is the thief of all joy.

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If you notice an area of your life that is being neglected currently, I challenge you to start putting a little energy towards that each day.  You may be surprised how that helps you get closer towards your health potential.

In good health,

Dr. Stephanie

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