What is Health?

Hello! Here I am, all “back to blogging” and what do I do but take a bit of an extended break. Sorry about that. I have to admit, despite being back to blogging I have no intention of committing to a schedule. These days I’m leaving space open for opportunities {fun opportunities} and plan to mostly write stuff, share recipes, and adventures, when the mood strikes.

Today I want to discuss a topic that has been lately on my mind. It’s a bit of tricky topic, quite broad in scope, and well, this might just end up being a bit of a rambly post (I’ll do my best to keep it short) so my apologies in advance.

Health. We all seek it continuously, for every individual the journey to being “healthy” takes on a different meaning. My journey started in high school really, when I discovered a love of running and exercise, and also how much eating well can affect our body weight.

Let’s face it, for many of us, nutrition has at one point (or maybe still is) a lot about body weight. For some people with chronic diseases, they have perhaps moved on from that. For some people there are ethical and political thoughts as well, but for many people eating well = maintaining a certain jean size. I’m going to talk about this another day though.

Today I’m talking about health in general. What is it? Can it be measured by your jean size? By your blood lipids? By your hours spend exercising? Solely by what you choose to eat? These are often the areas that many of us focus, and while changing habits in exercise or eating are far from easy, sometimes the focus on these can be a disguise from other areas of our life that are not working completely.

When I was younger and first began on my health journey, I was sure, so, so, sure that nutrition was the key to health. Of course, being a dietitian I totally believe that nutrition is A HUGE component of health. And yet, it is just one piece of a very large puzzle that is health. Health is a myriad of different things, and often illness, whether chronic or acute, is often a manifestation of different things.

What do I mean? I’d like to share this Tedx Talk with you:

She explains it much better than I can, she has done the research (though who can verify the “soundness” of her sources…). As I’ve sat in my many nutrition counselling sessions, I’ve met many people who are very sick. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, out of control diabetes.

And yes very often there are tweeks to their nutrition that should be made. But it is amazing how many of them have so many huge stressors in their life; family members passing, bills piling up, job losses. Some just have a pile of small little things that just keeps growing until they can’t handle it any more. But much of the time they don’t look to these things, sure they’re aware of the stress their lives are causing them, but they believe that they need to fix the physical first, when maybe paying some bills, or reaching out to family or friends might actually change some of their health measures.

I’d like to turn your attention to this Wellness Initiative by the New Brunswick government:

NB Live Well, Be Well

It discusses the idea of mental resilience.

I know I’m a dietitian and I should be saying NUTRITION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD. But honestly, for many people, it isn’t. If you think of what Dr. Lissa Rankin (especially her Health Cairn), and the NB Live Well, Be well initiatives are looking at, they both push the idea that for us to get to fixing the physical body through nutrition and exercise, we have to be able to handle the rest of our life.

Otherwise, fixing the weight issue, the blood pressure, the diabetes, the cholesterol with diet and exercise alone, is just a band-aide solution.

So I know that’s not a fully formed thought, with a great ending, but that’s where I’d like to end it.
And I want to hear your thoughts: have you gone on a health journey? Have you found yourself considering health beyond healthy eating and regular exercise/activity?

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