I was about to write about why being healthy is so hard. And I will. But first, we need to know what it means to be healthy. To be healthy is not just being free of sickness or disease. It’s more than that. Healthy means different things to everyone, though it actually should be a common understanding of what promotes health. Where do people get the idea of what is healthy? Sometimes from the media, sometimes from influencers, sometimes from research, and sometimes they find what works for their body (which is the best way).
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What Does Healthy Mean?
The definition of healthy is when Googled: in good health, not diseased, or promoting good health. Yes, that’s pretty straightforward. We get it. Okay, so you’re not sick or diseased right now, but you still may not be “healthy”.
To be considered healthy, we must be eating nourishing foods, moving our body, and sleeping well.
These are all tied together. Preventing disease or eliminating sickness is heavily tied into the level of nourishment and movement. Sleeping has a bigger effect than we all ever imagined and I’m just learning about that now.
Eating Nourishing Foods
Anything that is packed with nutrition, grows on the ground, grazes the pasture, whatever that may be, is healthy. Anything that could exist without a plant or factory. Healthy is not eliminating a food that is nutrient packed. Healthy includes nutrition with all the right chemistry that will help us be a healthier human.
Don’t Eliminate Nutritious Foods
When someone tells you not to eat something that is a real, nutrient dense food, then you probably shouldn’t listen. Example: eggs. They are nutritious. They provide many vitamins and needed cholesterol for the body to function properly. Same goes for a healthy raised meat. Meat is nutrient dense and many people think of it as a negative food. For moral reasons, that’s fine, but for health reasons, you’re not doing yourself a favor by avoiding it. No one agrees on the healthfulness. Why? Who knows? But these foods are nutrient dense and that’s why it matters. Something packed with nutrition that’s natural, is not out to get us.
We need carbohydrates, protein, and fats to function properly. Many people reduce carbs or fat in order to lose weight. The body technically needs all three for different purposes. Of course, these need to be from good sources. None of these major macro nutrients should be excluded from a healthy diet. When talking about carbs, it’s not the carbs necessarily, it’s the type of carbs. Good carbs come from vegetables or plant sources, not processed wheat sources. Some people limit fat, which is actually the most detrimental in terms of the three. Fat is absolutely necessary for proper nutrient absorption. Fat does not just turn into fat in your body. That’s silly and basic science can tell us that doesn’t work that way.
Avoid Food With No Benefits
We need to focus on avoiding empty foods or processed foods. Yeah, no one’s perfect and some boxes and cans can be okay and it’s not the end of the world, but we can try to make sure there’s something good in there for our bodies to use. Take for example, sugar. Sugar is not used in any useful form except immediate energy that ultimately causes detriment to the body. This is not nutritious. As well as refined pastas and breads. They provide the same limited effect. Some may be enriched but being enriched does not help the problem. Sugar or refined grains are in all the processed foods. And if it isn’t obvious, it’s probably hiding or replaced by some chemical. Most of the foods that we should be eating don’t have labels, but look more at the ingredients rather than anything else.
Too long, didn’t read?
- Eat real, nutrient dense foods. Nutrient dense foods are not found in a box or a can. Nutrient dense foods are animal products or vegetables or healthy grains as they are. There’s nothing complicated about that.
Moving Your Body
I talked about this is a previous post about how I view exercise as part of our lives. To be healthy, we do not need to do an excessive amount of exercise. We just need to move our bodies throughout the day. Sitting for a long period of time can have detrimental effects. Going to the gym on hour of the day and sitting the rest is not going to promote health the same way. Think of it as just one hour out of 24 that you’re moving. If that’s all you can do, fine, but try not to sit for prolonged periods of time. The body isn’t made to do that. I always like to say every movement counts so everyone knows that hey, I can just make sure I’m moving all day and don’t have to set aside an hour for the gym. That’s totally doable. Throughout the day, walk to where you need to go or do an activity you enjoy.
The body needs stresses to respond to. The bones need the stress of muscle movement pulling on them to be healthy and to build stronger. All this means is walk around or something.
Don’t sit on your butt all day.
Sleep is something we all push to the side and forget about. There’s not enough time in the day, right? Well, its not about more time, it’s about more quality time. Good sleep can help with immune function, weight loss, and recovery. It helps the body function properly and reset for the next day. It works with certain hormones and if those are out of whack, then so is sleep. I’ve written a little about sleep before.
I’m reading this book written by a podcast (Model Health Show) host that I listen to called Sleep Smarter. Basically, the author was trying to figure out what was missing from clients who were following all other proper ways to health, but were still not getting results. Sleep was the culprit.
It makes total sense. If you let your body recover properly, it can better use what was given to it during the day. It can better use the nutrients and build up the energy and muscles that have been used. It’s a reset for the body and absolutely necessary to become healthy. Here’s some tips from the book.
Food, Exercise & Disease
I think we all know that healthy means no disease or conditions present. That is part of the technical definition. A lot conditions and diseases are a result of poor health in the way of nutrition or movement. There’s many different things people blame for this rather than their lack of health throughout life. I’m talking about conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, preventable things. I’m saying we can try to prevent these things now and it’s never too late. I am aware that some conditions just happen, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.
Health, Not Age or Genes
You can’t blame genes on your type 2 diabetes. If you haven’t read about epigenetics, get on that. Your genes don’t determine your fate. You can certainly assist in them turning on or off. It really depends on the life of the person and the lack of nutrition and poor lifestyle choices just seems to catch up right around then.
How about the “I’m getting older so it’s hard to not put on so much weight.” Some diseases aren’t attributed to old age, but commonly said they are. That’s because you got away with being young and not eating many nourishing foods. The body just gives up. We need to take care of our bodies to prevent disease from happening. If we give it the proper nutrients and assimilation of nutrients through movement (the nutrients work better and with each other in the body when movement is present), then we can certainly prevent the diseases and weight gain and arthritis that come about later on in life.
The body needs proper fuel to function properly. The body can adapt quite well for a period of time, but you’ll notice that doesn’t last forever. Nutrient deficiencies can hide but show up in ways such as difficulty concentrating, sleeping, laziness, mood swings, thinning hair, dry skin, poor digestion, and many, many more. These are all related to what you are or aren’t eating. It’s entirely from the inside out.
Lack of movement can show up ways such as arthritis, poor circulation, higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, poor sleep quality, among many others.
Take care of your body right now. Why wouldn’t you?
What Does Healthy Not Mean?
Healthy does not mean a number on the scale or skinny or fat. Skinny people do not equal healthy, but yet everyone wants to be thin. Being thin is not a sign of health.
Healthy is not demonizing a real food like eggs or meat. It is not blindly following the footsteps of whatever influencer is in these days. Healthy is not obsession over food or exercise.
Healthy does not mean watching calories for weight loss. It also does not mean going on a diet and then losing weight and going back to where you were. A true overall lifestyle change is the only way to get us to feel good and happy. Calories don’t need to be bothered to be counted. Instead what needs to be recognized is the type of food consumed. Many people read nutrition labels for calories and fat content. No, that is not healthy.
What does healthy mean to you? Please share and comment below! I’d love to hear different thoughts on this.
Fresh Ideas: Healthy means feeling good and being free of disease. Being healthy is a result of eating nourishing food, moving the body, and sleeping well.