I am a mother of three beautiful girls. I am a wife of seven years. I weigh 138 lbs. I am 5’5″. I am a runner. I run three times a week. I do yoga. I use natural remedies for aches and pains. I eat a decently balanced variety of foods. I only eat whole grains. I try to avoid artificial sweeteners and dyes. I select organic and non-GMO products as much as possible and I eat as clean and real as is feasible without consuming highly processed foods. My normal resting blood pressure is 95/65.
I think it is safe to say that I am healthy.
Or am I?
Would someone else be healthier if they did exactly as I but weighed 5 lbs less? Or if we did the same but she were a D cup and wore a size 6? (I’m a B cup and wear a size 10.) What if they weighed 10 lbs more than I but ran 5 times a week instead of my 3?
What exactly is “healthy?” Good ole Webster defines it as:
adjective in good health
Well, geeze, thanks Webster. That helps us… umm, NOT AT ALL!
Being healthy is part of my world now. It is my goal to make sure my children don’t become one of the nearly 20% of America’s youth suffering from childhood obesity. Furthermore, I myself want to live to see my girls get married, have babies of their own and for THAT generation to grow up healthy too.
I haven’t always been this way. My top weight in 2007 was 185 lbs. My idea of working out was going for walks with my husband. I *thought* I was eating healthy but in turn, I was scarfing down at least 3000 calories of high sodium, low nutrient processed junk. I went on more diets than I can even remember. I was clearly less healthy than I am now but just how unhealthy was I?
A few weeks ago, one of my Twitter followers wrote:
“When I was 20, I did the elliptical 4x a week faithfully for an hour. I ate sensibly. I was a size 7. I also smoked a pack a day, drank at least 10 (20?) vodka/diet cokes and whatever shots I was brought each week, tanned regularly & took Metabolife when I had the money. But I was small and fun and pretty so I was ‘healthy.’ But was I?”
She brings up an extremely valid point. When comparing her old self to my old self, which would you side with as healthier? Smoking and drinking? Or overweight and malnutrition?
My good friend Kristen King recently became a health and wellness coach and has a little to say about this topic too:
Both in working with clients and managing my own health, I’ve found that diet is responsible for about 80% of your outcome; exercise accounts for the other 20%. Exercise is good for everyone, but if your diet is terrible, no amount of exercise in the world will guarantee good health. Whether you work out or not, shoot for a balanced diet. That means about 50% carbs, 30% protein, and 20% fat, plus at least 25 grams of fiber a day. This is what your body needs to function—and it’s why diet regimens that cut out or severely limit all fats or carbs are not healthy or sustainable.
Most people find that when they are eating a balanced, nutrient-dense diet, it’s easier to manage calories and to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Along with that, they often find that their overall health and well-being improve. It’s astonishing how many “medical problems” are actually diet problems! When you fix your diet, the medical issues resolve or dramatically lessen.
I struggle with eating enough protein each day, but meal planning helps me stay on track. I keep a lot of healthy protein snacks on hand, like low-fat string cheese, nut butters, and humus so there’s not a lot of thought required to grab something that’s both delicious and full of nutrition. As an independent Herbalife distributor and wellness coach, I try to help my clients develop a structure and a go-to list of meals and snacks so it’s easy to make healthy choices throughout the day. I offer free wellness coaching and a nutrition and exercise journal as well to help people make sure their lifestyle supports their health goals.
So what do you think? What defines “healthy?”