For the last couple of years I have been muddling over the question – what does it really mean to be healthy? As a middle aged woman sliding into menopause, there are more aches and pains then there used to be, interrupted sleep, and losing weight – that has always been hard for me – seems dang near impossible. In fact, I am ecstatic when there are weeks when I didn’t GAIN weight! Trying to get fit was SO stressful and frustrating I thought “this can’t be good for me”. So I decided I would change my lifelong goal from losing weight to just getting healthy. As one friend puts it “I intend on setting my own self down on the toilet for a very long time”. A great goal! – but how do I get there?
What does ‘being healthy’ really mean? And what do I really need to focus on to achieve the status of “good health”?
I am going to be looking into this over the course of many blogs, so check back often. …
Ultimately I hope to come up with a definition that makes sense, and fits in with a life that is fulfilling and joyful. Then I can come up with some new measurable goals, and some step-by-step plans on how to work towards a state of being where I can say, yes! I am healthy!
So, where to start? I thought the best place to start was with the definitions of ‘healthy’ that already exist……here is what I found…..
Per Miriam Webster, the full definition of “healthy” includes ….
“not sick or injured” or “enjoying health and vigor of body, mind, or spirit”.
The most famous modern definition of health was created during a Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization, adopted by the International Health Conference, and hasn’t been amended since 1948. It says…..
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
During the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion in 1986, the WHO said that:
“Health is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities.”
How interesting! Even these somewhat dry definitions say there is more to being healthy than just the physical aspect – how you feel in mind and spirit, and having a sense of social well-being are included, too! This makes so much sense because the vision of my healthy life includes being stress-free, running around with people I love, and laughing a lot!
During my research, I also came across another term that is used often in the US as a synonym for healthy, which is “wellness”
According to the Mickinley Health Center, University of Illinois, wellness is
“a state of optimal well-being that is oriented toward maximizing an individual’s potential. This is a life-long process of moving towards enhancing your physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, and environmental well-being.”
The University of East Carolina defines wellness as:
“the integration of mind, body and spirit. Optimal wellness allows us to achieve our goals and find meaning and purpose in our lives. Wellness combines seven dimensions of well-being into a quality way of living. Overall, wellness is the ability to live life to the fullest and to maximize personal potential in a variety of ways. Wellness involves continually learning and making changes to enhance your state of wellness. When we balance the physical, intellectual, emotional, social, occupational, spiritual, and environmental aspects of life, we achieve true wellness.”
Wow! I really like these last two definitions as they totally spell out what I want in my life! I want to maximize my individual potential! I want to live life to the fullest! I want to feel good! That is what is important at the end of the day – what being healthy FEELS like, not what it LOOKS like! And notice, this isn’t something to be achieved in a 21 day or even 90 day Fix! It is a life-long process…..it is continual….How cool is that! Oh sure, I am going to set milestones, but all the while keeping in mind that what I am working on are healthy habits for life.
But in order to FEEL healthy, what I am getting out of all these definitions, is the implication that I have to have….1.) a healthy body, 2.) a healthy mind, and what sounds like to me, 3.) a fulfilling, social environment. Fab! Let’s start with that!
Follow me through the subsequent blogs, and see what I find on what it means to have a healthy body, a healthy mind, and a fulfilling social environment………