The following is based on me calling myself out on all the shit I put myself through, all from my past experience and relationship with exercise. It was a one-sided relationship that didn’t love me back but at the time, I was blinded by the promise of how I thought it would be good for me.
In the age of personal trainers, fitness influencers posting perfectly honed and tensed abs on instagram and bragging about their second hardcore workout of the day, you’ll be forgiven for thinking that to be healthy, you need to look a certain way.
From my experience, the “healthiest looking” people can sometimes be the most unhealthy. In fact, when I thought I was at my “healthiest”, trying to eat nothing other than all vegetables as I could manage, exercising for too many hours in a day and avoiding anything unhealthy, I was possibly the most unhealthy I’d ever been. But with everyone saying I was so healthy for my discipline in hitting the gym without fail and choosing salads while everyone else opted for a burger I thought it was a good thing, something I should be proud of.
With new diets coming out every January, all preaching health, there’s no surprise that we feel in order to look healthy we need to lose weight, constantly striving for what magazines and the media would have us believe is fit.
But, in truth, healthy isn’t a look, it’s a feeling.
Health is about eating a range of nutrients to nourish your body and your mind – that also means not having a panic if your friends have chosen a pizza restaurant for dinner, where the only thing is on the menu is… you’ve guessed it… pizza.
Health is about eating enough calories for your bodily systems to function – without enough calories, your body shuts down what it considers unnecessary functions that waste valuable energy, such as menstruation and digestion to function. It’s not about spending hours doing the maths on everything you pick up in the supermarket.
Health is about exercising because it makes you happy, not because it’s a punishment. Exercise should be about boosting your mood, helping you feel great.
Health is focusing on what you gain, not what you lose. From exercise, we gain so many benefits but it seems that the dominant focus is on what we lose…and that’s weight. (I wrote more on the benefits over here).
A healthy approach to exercise is
Moving because it feels good
Because you enjoy it
Knowing when you should sleep an extra hour instead of making your exercise class
To reap the health benefits such as cardiovascular health, lowering risks of
Focusing on the inside rather than the outside
Understanding your body needs rest days, and that rest isn’t going for a “gentle jog”.
Doing what works for you, not what a magazine or your favourite fitspo says you should do
In essence, being healthy is you being fully functional, feeling energised, feeling switched on, able to spend time with friends but also able to take time out. It’s about understanding when to rest and when to go full throttle.