So if you have heard the latest episode of LiftLaughLive Podcast you are well read about what I think about when I hear the word “Healthy”. I am a firm believer that overall health is indeed the absence of disease but is not merely just a medical term. I believe that it involves the physical, social, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being of a person. I also believe that throughout the stages and situations of our lives, “healthy” changes. Just like pretty much everything in life, health is a process. It is not a single action, but the culmination of actions, leading to a healthier state.
As you are well aware, our lives are in a constant state of flux, and with that, our idea of health will fluctuate as well. Take for example if you were an athlete in college. Your idea of “health” was probably being able to run several miles in a row, lift a certain amount of weight, be able to somehow rally for an early morning practice after a night of drinking, and scarf down an entire large pizza and never gain a pound of weight. As you grow up and find your place in the workforce you find out quickly your priorities shift. Your idea of healthy turns quickly into more of an aesthetic based definition more so than a performance based definition. You start to think of “healthy” as looking good in your suit, or that little dress you have in your closet, trying not to be the fattest one at your high school reunion, or trying to ACTUALLY look like the old picture you posted on that dating profile. Even more so the definition of health changes further as you get beyond that. When you start a family “healthy” is thought of as being able to keep up with your children or grand kids, or the focus of your definition of health goes away from ourselves entirely as we stay up for days at a time making sure our newborn child is healthy and has the correct nutrition and rest for them to grow up strong and-yup you guessed it- healthy.
It is a hard habit to break but we must stop thinking of our personal health as something that could be compared to anyone else. Our bodies, minds, and souls are our own and there is not anyone that will reap the benefits or suffer the consequences of our health choices more than ourselves. We need to understand, objectively, where we are in our lives, what our goals are, and understand that we can always be healthier and more active. That being said we must also understand the limitations set forth upon us by our position in life and the people that surround us. For example, I tell my clients that have children to keep in mind that their goals will be following a different path than those who do not have children. We will break conventional “workout” rules in order for that person to maintain their status as a mother or father as well as increase their level of healthy choices which will in turn increase their overall health as time goes on. I do not expect them to be able to go to the gym 4-5 times a week. I do not expect them to be able to maintain a strict diet 100% of the time and I do not expect them to not succumb to the stress involved with raising a family. Hell, I often encourage my clients to take a night and enjoy a bottle of wine and some cake because there are indeed days where mental health and well-being trump the number on a scale.
I understand that in order to lose weight you must ingest less calories than you burn. I understand that all clients are looking for results as quickly as possible. I understand that said Wine and Cake could set them back a little bit in the short term. I also understand that this is real life. There is not a single person on this planet past, present, or future that will be able to get out of life alive. Life is something that should be enjoyed and treasured and balance is the key to health and should not be overlooked when you are looking at changing your life. There are definitely times when you need to buckle down and be strict, especially early on during your program, so you can begin on a solid footing, but what everyone needs to understand is that there are no quick fixes and the goal when working with me is not to simply lose the weight, and then go right back to what you were doing. The goal when you work with me is to develop lifelong strategies and habits that will lead you to the level of health that works for you. In order to be successful for the long term you must blend together your body, mind, feelings, and surroundings into a plan that works FOR you and not against you. You need to understand your current strengths and limitations of where you are in your life in order to make a proper change. If you are not drawing connections between all parts of your life when it comes to your health and wellness, you are not doing it correctly. Losing weight and getting “healthier” is not merely going to the gym and eating a salad every now and then. Seeing it like that will only get you so far, and at the first sign of trouble, will leave you high and dry and worse off than when you started.
So next time you are about to jump on a workout, fat loss, or nutrition plan you need to take the time to reflect and understand not only where you are, but truly decide if this new plan is something that will lead you to become a better version of yourself. If it is too hard, too complicated, too strict, or merely not appropriate to what you want to accomplish, then you will not stick to it or find success. If the meal plan closely resembles the diet of small woodland creatures then you aren’t going to stick to it or find success. If the overall path to reach your goals does not allow you to live a life outside of the gym, or to enjoy time with your friends and families, then you aren’t going to stick to it or find success.
We are humans. We are not robots. Being strict has its place in a diet. Being lenient has its place in a diet. You cannot have success without failure and you cannot have light without dark. The world is a balancing act and it is up to you to make sure the scales are tipped appropriately in the certain directions that will lead you to finding what “Healthy” means to you.
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Sam Brown CPT (LiftLaughLiveSHB@gmail.com)
Certified Underground Strength Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
Counselor To Be