I talk about health a lot around here. I also talk about it a lot to anyone who will listen, that includes folks in my classes, clients, friends, family, boys, dogs, you get the picture. Health touches a huge component of our lives and there are many, many ways to look at and even more questions out there as science and research continually offers new studies and findings. I get asked questions about what is healthy and what is not healthy and my opinions on health related topics. I definitely don’t have all the answers, but am always interested in doing the research and trying to answer these questions.
When thinking about the topic of health, it can be many different things to many different people. Health is not a specific way of eating, or drinking. It is not partaking in a certain diet or exercise regimen. Health is taking care of YOUR body so that it can perform to the best of ITS ability with vitality. What that means for ME might be completely different than what it means for YOU.
I have had folks ask me about some of the so-called health trends, as well as about tried and true healthy habits. Some sound like this: Eat dairy, don’t eat dairy. Take supplements, don’t take supplements. Do CrossFit, don’t do CrossFit. Eat sauerkraut and drink kombucha every single day. Running really hurts my knees, back and hips, but it’s the only way to burn calories. I hate my gym, but I guess I have to put up with it. I hate my spinning instructor, but everyone says he/she is the best. I gag when I eat kale, but I can’t be healthy without it. The list goes on and on and on.
All of these instances listed above can be healthy. Does that mean we or you need to follow each of them? Well, personally, some might be good for me and some might not. For example, I eat a limited amount of dairy. I am not lactose intolerant, but I have found that my body responds better with very little dairy. I am not really a big fan of supplements as I don’t feel as if I need them at this stage. I am intrigued by CrossFit, but due to some of my past injuries, don’t feel it’s the best thing for me. I have tried and tried to drink and like kombucha, but it just isn’t happening. I want a healthy gut but have to take a probiotic because I just can’t stomach kombucha. I used to run and run, but find other types of cardio are better for me right now. I find spinning instructors that inspire and motivate me. I love kale and am happy to eat it daily.
I know some of these things that I am not doing are definitely healthy. However, they just might not be healthy for me. There are other things that I am doing that I know are healthy, such as plyometrics, hot yoga, squats, jump squats, trying to conquer a handstand, HIIT training, eating avocados and fish and occasionally enjoying a little red meat. However, these things might not be healthy for you.
I tend to look at my health in daily increments. Does what I am doing, eating, drinking, reading and experiencing improving my life experience? Is it enriching me and my time here on this day? Is it good for me physically, or emotionally or mentally? I believe that health is not just physical health and all about your physical being. If something is healthy for you it is also good for your soul and your being.
I consider myself a generally healthy person. However, I admit that this Saturday I was at a football game and really enjoyed drinking two beers and eating a cheese burger. I made a mindful choice when ordering the cheeseburger to choose the healthiest choice for me on the menu. It definitely was not as “healthy” as ordering a plain garden salad, but it was perfect for adding to the whole experience of a great day. And I did not feel one smidgen of guilt. Maybe eating and enjoying that meal meant that I was satisfied and less likely to binge or cheat on something worse later on.
It has taken me a long time to learn what is healthy for me and not get caught up in what I “should” eat or what exercise I “should” be doing. I can also go out and turn down dessert if I want or order it if I want, without worrying what others think or feel pressured one way or the other.
I can read about some of the latest trends, do the research and make the decision whether that trend fits into my personal healthy lifestyle. Sometimes it is trial and error. There are a million different ways to get the nutrients you need for your body. There are a million ways to gain strength in your lower body, eat the protein you need, stretch your hamstrings, work your triceps, burn calories and strengthen your heart through cardio exercise. There are a million different ways to be healthy in different areas of your life.
My healthy is not your healthy. Being healthy is a choice you make to enrich your life and add quality to your life. Take ownership of your health and listen to your body and soul as you eat, exercise, train and rest. Being aware of food’s tastes and flavors, your energy, how your body moves and responds and what brings you joy and happiness is your healthy.
What is healthy for you? Have you found your healthy yet? What are some things that you just hate, even though they could be good for you?