How to Be Healthy

What crosses your mind when you hear the word Dietitian? Weight loss. Dieting. Food police. Unfortunately the media has convinced us that Dietitians preach the weight loss journey. But what if I told you that you don't necessarily have to lose weight to be healthy!

But first of all, what is a 'healthy weight?'

We like to group things. Give them numbers and categories. Put similar things in boxes, give them a name, and say that they are all the same. But at the end of the day, fruit may be fruit, but can you really compare apples and oranges?

The same can be said for weight. Think about this for a moment:

"Ben and Bob walk into a room. Both weigh 100kg and are 180cm tall. Ben has diabetes, high blood cholesterol, and sleep apnoea; but Bob has a clean bill of health. If Ben and Bob are both the same size, why is their health different?"

Well Ben works a desk job, only walking to go to the toilet and get water. Bob also works a desk job, but he likes to walk along the river with his friends everyday for 30 minutes during his lunch break. Ben hates his job. Bob loves his job. Ben often picks up pizza on his way home from work. Bob also enjoys take away, but he prefers the new salad bar at his local corner store. Ben's parents also have diabetes and high cholesterol, whilst Bob's do not. Ben can often finish a whole block of chocolate in one sitting. Bob also likes chocolate, but he only ever finishes one row. Ben can't get to sleep, he often stays awake until 2am watching movies. Bob likes to get 8 hours sleep each night.

Now let me ask the question again: "If Ben and Bob are both the same size, why is their health different?"

The answer. Weight does not determine health!

So, if not weight, then what?

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease.

There are 8 components of health:

  1. Emotional health,

  2. Social health,

  3. Spiritual health,

  4. Intellectual health,

  5. Environmental health,

  6. Occupational health,

  7. Diet, and

  8. Exercise.

Health is complex and multi-factorial, and unless we focus on all of the elements we are not going to achieve good health. It's time we start changing our perspective.

We need to remember that health is about more than our weight. Health is about more than diet and exercise. If we focus solely on our weight, restrict ourselves from food and activities we enjoy, and punish ourselves with guilt when we go off track, do we not then compromise our emotional health?

So let's go back to Ben and Bob. Bob is healthy because:

  • He loves his job,

  • He enjoys socialising with friends,

  • He likes to exercise,

  • He finds pleasure in foods,

  • He enjoys 'play foods' but doesn't overeat them,

  • He likes to be well rested,

  • He surrounds himself with a healthy environment,

  • He enjoys getting outside.

Reality check

So how healthy are you?

Take the quiz to find out! >> How Healthy Am I?

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