What’s wrong with the word “healthy”? Disease has reached an alarming rate in our society … What is it that we’re doing so wrong? Could it be that we mistake healthy choices for unhealthy choices, most of the time?
As with many things in life, our health reflects the choices we’ve made until that point in our lives. And with every choice that we make, we can either move one step closer to health or one step away from it (and closer to disease). It’s really that simple!
Let’s define “healthy”
What is healthy and what isn’t healthy? Who defines “healthy” and what are the guidelines for “healthy”? Who created those guidelines and who really benefits from them?
Personally, I consider something to be “healthy” for me, if it has a positive long-term effect on my body and mind, If it helps me gain more energy, if it makes me stronger and happier, with no short- or long-term consequences. But this doesn’t mean that if something is working for me, it will work for anyone else the same way.
Here’s a simple example that I like to give to people when I talk about “healthy”. Let’s take the case of a simple cookie that’s marketed as healthy. We’ve seen this all the time, right? Can a cookie really be healthy for anyone, regardless of their medical history? Can a cookie be healthy for someone but unhealthy for someone else? Who approves the labeling of that cookie as “healthy”?
These are just a few simple questions that illustrate the problem with words like “healthy” and people’s perceptions. We’re all different individuals, with different experiences that lead to a totally different understanding of the same situation (in this case the word “healthy”).
“Healthy” can be a trap
The word “healthy” has been used too much and a big confusion has been created in people’s minds regarding what’s healthy and what isn’t healthy. We see something labeled as “healthy” and we automatically think it’s good for us. Our brains are now programmed to automatically accept something labeled “healthy”, as something that will always have a positive impact on our health. Unfortunately, that’s where problems begin.
Phrases like healthy choices, healthy lifestyle, healthy living, healthy populations, healthy body, etc have created labels in people’s minds. Let’s not forget that we live in a world driven by profit, a world where anything labeled “healthy” has a better chance of being sold to customers. To me and you! To our children! But while sales increase and business is great for some people, most of us end-up suffering sooner or later.
We want to live healthy and we strive to make healthy choices, but do we really go the extra mile, understanding what is or isn’t healthy for us, as individuals? Maybe we’re afraid to take responsibility for our own health. Maybe we’re too busy to do it. Or maybe these are just lame excuses.
The reality is: we delegate our health to others; to doctors for keeping disease away from us, to food designers for figuring out what we should eat, to companies for processing our foods, to supermarkets for providing the food for us, to restaurants for cooking the food, etc.
We expect others to tell us what is or isn’t healthy for us, instead of knowing ourselves what is healthy for us.
Can you see the problem?
Let me put things simple: No one knows what’s healthy or what isn’t healthy, because it always depends on the context. We’re all humans but, in the same time, we’re different in so many ways; that’s why it’s impossible to create a universal formula that works out of the box. It’s impossible to create the universal “healthy”.
We have different backgrounds, different medical histories, different expectations in life. And yet we expect to eat the same “healthy” food based on the same “healthy” guidelines. We expect to follow the same protocols, get the same medications, exercise based on the same rules, follow the same nutritional advice, go to sleep at the same time. All in the name of “healthy”. In reality, “healthy” will and should always be different for each of us.
Sure, we can differentiate a deadly poison from a fruit but that isn’t what I meant. I was referring to the long-term effects of all the “healthy” choices that we make every single day. We make thousands of choices every day and all of them impact our health and our future in different ways. How do we know what’s healthy for each of us? Are these our own choices or they are a reflection of the society we live in?
Find your own “healthy”
I’m sorry to disappoint you but I’m afraid there’s no simple answer for “healthy”. There is no unique solution. There is no universal “healthy” that works for everyone, out of the box.
You need to find your own “healthy”. You have to do your own research, experiment and see what works for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different choices, but please take it slow. Don’t trust labels or entities telling you, in bold letters, that something is or isn’t “healthy” for you. Test it yourself and see if it works for you, in your present context, for your own needs and goals.
Only you can know if something works for you. Only you can know what is healthy for you.
Health coaches to the rescue
If you need guidance in your health journey, don’t be afraid to work with a health coach. A health coach can help you navigate the mystery of what is or isn’t healthy for you.
Health coaches are health educators; they help people find personalized solutions for reaching specific health goals. A health coach will educate, motivate and guide you towards lifestyle and behavior choices that support your optimal health.
A health coach doesn’t have all the answers but s/he can guide you towards making responsible decisions that work for you. You’ll learn how to listen to your body, how to listen to what your body needs and to give it those nutrients and the nourishments it needs in order to thrive.
Want to read more about Health Coaching? Check out this article – Health Coaching 101: What you need to know before hiring a health coach
Healthy is always about you, your body and how much time you want to invest in your health. Discovering your own “healthy” is difficult, but it’s one of those things that are priceless, because once you’ve found it you won’t be afraid of anything anymore.
Taking control of your own health is a powerful concept; once you’ve got it, you’ll be able to achieve anything you wish in life, because you’ll always have your health to support you. And that’s big!
That being said, I wish you to find your own version of “healthy”. I wish you to be inspired in your journey towards your own discovery of your version of “healthy”.
How do you see “healthy”? Have you found your version of “healthy”? Share below.