By Lauren Denos: 3/16/2015 (Mindset)

Being healthy is not just about the number on the scale.

It's time we talk about what health really means. Yes, this is a bit of a pep talk, but I believe this needs to be said. This came about because yesterday, a friend told me that I should define what I mean by healthy and fit. I realized that she is right; I have not defined this in writing. This is necessary because there are so many definitions of what healthy is, and there are a lot of misconceptions about what it is. Not to mention, a lot of unproductive ideas of what you are supposed to be in order to be considered healthy.

For everyone, health and fitness means something different. Personally, when I talk about being healthy or fit, I think of having the ability to live the life you want to live, whatever that may be. We should workout to support the adventures we would like to have in life. Being healthy to hike, if that is what you love, have the strength and stamina to play with your kids, or to be the best in your field. You want to create what you need to enjoy what is important to you.

We should eat in a way that makes our bodies feel good, but that does not make us feel deprived. Being healthy is a balance between doing what is healthy for your body and enjoying life. Yes, they can be one in the same, but for some they are not. For example, if you are someone who loves hot fudge sundaes, eating them every day is not a healthful practice. Giving them up completely when it makes you happy is not healthy either. There has to be a balance. Being balanced in many areas can be a good thing, especially when it comes to health. There are many things that too much or too little of can be a bad thing, such as too much or too little food - both have unhealthy consequences.

Too much emphasis is put on looking slim. I understand this mindset all too well, and I have dealt with it a lot in my life. At one point, I was anorexic because I was never good enough. But really just because someone is skinny does not mean that they are healthy. You can be healthy with a six pack and healthy with some padding, both are okay. An important thing to understand is: we will always be a work in progress. We will never be prefect, and there will be some road bumps on your health journey. Because of this, I believe it is crucial to love ourselves where we are right now while still working on improvement. Otherwise we are always putting off our happiness for that day in the future when we have the perfect body. But perfect does not exist, when you understand that you can learn to let that go, love where you are right now, and just work on improving instead of perfection.

Health is also about more than your body composition; it is about your mindset and attitude. It is about being healthy mentally and being good with where you are at right now. Do you appreciate what you have right now, or are you always thinking about what you do not have? Healthy and happy go hand in hand. Health is a mental game, as much as a physical one. Everything starts in the mind, so as you get your mental game together you will start to see a difference in your physical world as well. There is a quote from Henry Ford that says, "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you are right." This illustrates how important the inner game of the mind is. There have been many successful people who were not the most educated, the smartest, the best looking etc., but they succeeded anyway because they believed that they could. The mind is powerful, use it to your benefit.

Health is about doing all the things that make you prepared to live the life you would like to live. Start paying attention to how you have been thinking of health and how you have been treating yourself. If you have been beating yourself up, it is time to stop and be your own ally instead of your enemy. Live today and create your health to support the life you dream of!




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