[Article] What is healthy anyway? (part one)


Healthy, has been on my mind a lot lately and what it means to me. I’ve been umming and arhing about writing about it, because there is plenty of information (and misinformation) out there – all available at our fingertips thanks to google, the hundreds and thousands of social media accounts, books, seminars, webinars, etc – and I was concerned that by adding my two cents worth, it could quite possibly be contributing to the information overload, noise and confusion. Yet, here goes......

It seems that “healthy” is very in and trendy right now  – it’s the new black – according to many articles, in the media. There are so many magazines, books, diets, Instagram accounts, Facebook pages, websites and blogs devoted to improving your health (I have one of them) and there are many people embracing it into their lives. I love that 'healthy' is on the radar. This recent and popular attention on being healthy, got me thinking – what is healthy anyway? Healthy is something I grew up with, is in my blood, and a big passion of mine. I know what it is for me, and what I aim to instil in my clients and their lives, so I thought I would share my take on healthy, with you.

Healthy is a way of life, of living, of being.
Healthy is a state of mind.
Healthy is a state of being.
Healthy is living life with gratitude, love and acceptance.
Healthy is to be in good physical condition.
Healthy feels good. Healthy looks good.
Healthy is unique for each individual.
Healthy is nourishing the body – not punishing it.
Healthy is a way of life.
Healthy is sustainable.

Healthy to me, is to thrive, in a state of optimum wellbeing, in all areas of my life – physically, mentally, and spiritually (body, mind and soul), while also being in tune (harmony) with these elements, like a well serviced and high end sports car. It’s total wellness – being healthy, fit, happy and living with mindfulness, from a place of love, gratitude and acceptance. Healthy is a lifetime journey that is constantly growing and expanding, as you gain more knowledge and insight into yourself about what does and doesn’t work for you – bio-individuality.

What is bio-inviduality?
The best way to explain bio-individuality is, with this paragraph, from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition:
“There’s no one-size-fits-all diet – each person is a unique individual with highly individualised nutritional requirements. Personal differences in anatomy, metabolism, body composition and cell structure all influence your overall health and the foods that make you feel you best. Thats why there is no single way of eating, that works for everyone. The food that is perfect for your unique body, age and lifestyle may make another person gain weight and or feel lethargic.”

I truly believe in bio-individuality – we are all unique individuals – there is not, any one way, of doing anything that is going to reap the same rewards as another – be it, eating, drinking, exercise, thinking, sleeping or living. I feel there are “guidelines” to creating good health but ultimately it is up to you, to apply them to your lifestyle in a way that works for you – creating a healthy way of life that brings you, your optimum wellbeing.

Healthy living, is a definitely a combination of many things, for me, and the ever helpful Oxford Dictionary, also confirms this, defining healthy to be; “in good physical or mental health” and “in good health”. I agree. It is this, but also more, a whole lot more.

A whole lot more…..
It is living life with a positive mindset and attitude. It is fueling and nourishing your mind, body and soul with healthy choices. It is having a good relationship with yourself and others. It is having compassion, empathy and kindness, towards yourself and others. It is feeling well – within yourself. It is eating well, moving well and thinking well – to be well. It is living and loving life. It is being the best version of yourself – by showing up for yourself, each and everyday. It is taking responsibility for your personal wellbeing and choices in life. It is all of this and more. It is a way of life and it’s also how I personally choose and strive to live my life.

What does healthy look and feel like?
I see healthy as looking; glowing, radiant, rosy, vibrant, shiny, sexy, strong, alive, abundant, content, happy, loving, wholesome,  etc…
and it feels; happy, harmonious, content, confident, peaceful, loving, energising, excitable, nourishing, invigorating, positive, rewarding, joyful, blissful, abundant, perhaps a little crazy and wild at times, grounded, balanced, etc…

A quick look at what healthy isn’t.
Healthy isn’t dieting, restrictive eating, extreme eating, part time healthy eating, poor choices, fads etc.
Healthy isn’t pushing the body – hard – day in and day out with exercise/training without suitable recovery. It also isn’t moving the body once or twice a week either and living like you exercise it each day.
Healthy isn’t treating others or yourself unkindly, via thoughts, words or actions.
Healthy isn’t choosing to dishonor your body and its needs.
Healthy isn’t feeling guilty about what you have or haven’t done or should and shouldn’t be doing.
Healthy isn’t a quick fix pill or formula.

Creating yourself a restrictive or extreme way of eating or living and or constantly indulging in fad diets or exercise practises places “stress” on and within the body, which, interestingly enough, ISN’T HEALTHY!By living this way you will end up increasing your stress levels, your chances of injury and compromising your overall health and wellbeing – the opposite of what you will have been seeking.

The answer lies in moderation and listening to the body.
I believe in the old saying of “everything in moderation” and I live with this approach in my own life – self care, exercise, eating, drinking (yes there is the occasional glass of red wine and shot of (very good) tequila in the mix).

I allow myself, a “treat” – now and then – with foods that I do not consider to be “everyday foods” – it may be a muffin, croissant, danish, dessert, sourdough or regular pasta or pizza. (I’m laughing as I’m typing this, as they all seem to be sweets and processed foods). But when I do have these “foods”, I fully enjoy it. All of it. And I encourage you do to the same.

There is no point in attaching guilt, shame, should’s or should-not’s to your “treat” – your “moderation”. So many people punish themselves and bring negativity to the table, usually well before they even start eating their so called “treat”, whatever it may be. They say, “Oh, I’m so bad, I really shouldn’t be doing/having this”, or “Oh, this is so naughty of me”, or “This wasn’t really on my list of things to eat/do today”, or “I don’t even know why I’m doing/having/ordered that”. While I’m advocating “treating” yourself – occasionally – why bother if you are going to give yourself this much grief?

If you are going to talk to yourself in this way, then theres no point in having the “treat”, as there is so much negativity attached to it – which is guess what? – NOT HEALTHY! So when you have a ”treat” – ENJOY it. Really savour it. Then you have created a positive, enjoyable and HEALTHY experience for your body. Totally different to the other experience you could have, and I know which one I prefer! So yes, have a treat – now and then – and enjoy it.

Finally, learn to listen to your body – how does it react after certain foods etc? How do you feel 1/2 hour after a meal and then 2 hours after your meal? Ask yourself these questions. Check in with yourself when you feel hungry, thirsty, tired or are about to exercise. How is your body feeling? What does it need? Are you really hungry or are you thirsty? Do you really want that muffin/sweet treat or do you actually need to eat a more balanced meal? What does your body need in terms of exercise, self care, etc? Do you really need to get up at 5am and go smash out a gym/pool/run session when you fell into bed at midnight? Is that niggle in your back/leg/shoulder getting better or are you just choosing to ignore it?

Continually checking in with your body, mind and spirit like this, teaches you so much about yourself because your body already holds the answers. Your body knows what works and doesn’t work and what it likes and doesn’t like. You just need to listen and be patient with yourself, especially when learning or trying a new way. Can you do that gorgeous? Listen to your beautiful body and you will flourish and thrive.

A quick recap of “healthy”
Healthy is being in tune with and listenening to your mind body and soul
Healthy is living life with love, acceptance and gratitude.
Healthy is choosing nourishing foods and thoughts to fuel your mind body and soul.
Healthy is taking resposiblity for and ownership of your choices in life.
Healthy is a way of life and being.
Healthy is variable and changes with where we are at each given time in our lives.

What is coming next?
In the next instalment of what is healthy anyway? – part two, I will be discussing the mindset of being healthy, what drives you to be healthy, how to work with the concept of “healthy being hard” and my tips on creating a healthy thriving life for yourself.

I really hope you have enjoyed part one of what is healthy anyway? And if you would like to share any of your insights or ideas on healthy, I would love to hear from you, in the comments below.

Here’s to living and loving life well, having a healthy, fit and happy mind, body and soul, and being the best version of yourself each and everyday. 

With bucket-loads of love, good health and happy vibes,

G xx