Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What Is Health?

I was having a moment tonight as I looked at my bulges in the mirror and wondered where I am going with this whole foods thing. I wondered a little about my *real* goals. I mean, yeah, there is a number. There is a clothing size. There is "weight loss" and "fitness" and "look good". But the *real* reason I am doing this is for my health.

And I pondered: what is health, anyway? I mean, there is the Health At Any Size movement that says health doesn't have to be about weight. There are people who view their activity level as their measure of health. My own definition of health has evolved over time. And as I experience life, my idea of health and goals for myself are ever changing.

I want health; to me, it is *all* about longevity and quality of life. I want to live a long, long time. I want to see all of my children grow up and get married if they so choose. I want to know and love my grandchildren. I want them to remember me. But I want more than just a long life; I want to enjoy it.

My goals now include things like mobility, ability to do the activities I enjoy, and being strong. I want to be independent. Pain-free, too. I want to look in the mirror and *see* my vision of health: shiny hair, sparkling eyes, a vibrant smile, glowing skin. I want to see some muscle on this body instead of just fat rolls. I want to *feel* good. My health is not just the absence of disease. It's much, much more to me. That's what I am working for and that's what keeps me going.


Claire said...

I think that's a great goal, and I have a similar one. I do not believe that one can be truly healthy and very overweight, so I am working to get the pounds off. Becoming healthy is definitely my priority, with looking cook a really close second. :) You outlook sounds very healthy to me!

birchgirl said...

I think you can be a bit overweight and healthy, but obesity is not healthy. If you are eating whole foods, and being honest about your intake in terms of calories, and are trying to build up exercise, you will see results.

Mary Ellen Quigley said...

I completely agree. For me it isn't about being skinny or looking good, it is about feeling better and living a longer life. That should be the thing that motivates the most.

Redfizz said...

I remember when I finished a 2-day, 150 mile bike ride while a size 14. I realized that my size 14 body did what most size 6's couldn't do. :)

Stay strong and keep going! You're doing well!

Anonymous said...

I guess it might be different for everyone, but I agree with your thoughts on health. For me, it is not about how I look. It is about what my body can DO, and how I feel.

My body can do the most when it is very lean and strong, and that is when I feel the best. When I changed my focus from how I looked to what my body could do, it was so freeing. It made me stop focusing on my imperfections and instead on function. Of course, all the training I do to become leaner and stronger has made my body look good, but I consider that a fringe benefit.

I also work around physical limitations (knee issues, fibromyalgia, others) but I just refuse to let it stop me. The improvement the activity makes in my quality of life is just too important.

I know you won't give up, Lyn. This fight is worth it.

Carbie Girl said...

I definitely agree. Being healthy involves all of those factors .. the combination of living and feeling good, no matter what your size is. Your state of mind and attitude also factor in when it comes to being "healthy". Great post!

Farewell Fatso said...

I follow your blog from time-to-time when I'm not busy blogging about similar issues on my own blog, Farewell Fatso! It looks like you may read my blog too. I appreciate that. On Thursday, April 15 -- Training for Life which was featured in my local newspaper The Columbian. Looks very familiar ;)

Anonymous said...

Actually I raised this subject on another blog and I believe that your goals are the kind that will, not only get you where you need to be, but keep you there. The flexibility of your desires will dictate where you will stop for a while, if you need to get to a different point or even back track a bit.
You can achieve a happy medium among all those goals and that will bring a fluidity to your decisions. You may, for example feel completely comfortable from every perspective at 170, at the age of 45, but at 47 you may decide that you need more muscle to support certain activities for which your knees would benefit, if you developed additional leg muscles (thigh and calf). This may mean that you'll go up on the scale, by a pound or two and you'll be ok with that. On the other hand, you may decide that you feel wonderful at 170 from every perspective but that maintaining that weight requires too much work and too few calories. You may not find the daily stress worth the constant fight. Perhaps 173 will be just right, though you may not be quite as pleased with the way you look, yet still find it acceptable in order to maintain it somewhat effortlessly.

Only time and circumstances will offer you the information you need, but your motivating factors are, in my opinion, just right for your ongoing evaluation to provide you with fuel for following your trajectory toward health.

Maren said...

Health is a package for me. The body, inside and out. The mind, the lifestyle. :)

Ron from NJ said...

It's like we share a brain sometimes...I wrote a post with a similar ending...talking about what I want out of things "healthwise" and then I read this. Scary.


Anonymous said...

The thing is, according to most studies, thin and healthy are highly correlated. Now, correlation is not causation, but in general the habits that get you thin will also get you greater longevity (how long you live and lower morbidity (illness). In a modern culture where we are unlikely to be exposed to famine or plague, carrying around excess body weight is a burden on the joints, organs, etc. Things seem to wear out faster. Of course this also assumes that you eat a balanced diet, rather than smoking cigarettes or being a drug user or alcoholic, which put a different burden on the body.

In terms of the Health at Every Size, I just don't see the issue. I have always had more stamina and flexibility at a lower weight. At a size 6, a day-long hike or century bike ride was "not a big deal" compared to being 30 pounds heavier and putting more of a burden on my feet, joints, lungs.