Just because it’s healthy, doesn’t mean it’s good for you

Health (noun)

1. The general condition of the body and mind with reference to sound and vigor.

2. Soundness of body or mind; freedom from disease or ailment.

3. Vigor, vitality.

Take a close look at this definition; notice what you don’t see?

You don’t see specific types of food, exercise, or supplements. Within the definition of “health” or “healthy” you won’t see fish, squats, avocados, or probiotics. You won’t see a specific diet or training program. Are those things “healthy?” Most of the time, yes. But does that mean they’re good for YOU? Does that mean they’ll provide YOU with vigor and vitality?

Listen to some extent, everything works–but does it work for you?

This is the type of thing I hear from clients all the time:

  • I don’t like fish, but everyone says you have to eat it so I’m forcing myself.
  • I think kombucha and organ meats are gross but I hear they’re good for you so I’m trying to like it.
  • I hate running but everyone says you have to if you want to lose weight.
  • Squats hurt my knees but I do them anyway because I heard they’re the best lower body lift.
  • I hate the taste of broccoli but I have to eat it if I want to be healthy.
  • I absolutely dread my workouts but from what I’ve seen on the internet, this is what I’m supposed to be doing.
  • I don’t like the diet I’m on, but it’s supposed to help me transform my body so I’ll stick with it.

Does any of that actually sound healthy to you? My goodness, it sounds just downright awful to me.

Sure, fish is “healthy.” Kombucha is good for your belly. Squats are a fabulous compound lift. Running can be great for the body and soul. Broccoli is a fab veggie. Organ meats have tons of health benefits. But just because they’re considered “healthy” doesn’t make them good for YOU.

True health is characterized by the vigor and vitality of body, mind, and spirit. Meaning in order to be truly healthy, something has to be good for your body and your soul–not just one or the other. If it makes you happy but it makes you feel like garbage, is it healthy? And if it’s good for your body but you hate every moment of it, is that healthy? Physicians and clinicians may disagree, but in my book anything that doesn’t enrich your experience of life is not worth doing voluntarily.

On the flip side, however, “unhealthy” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad for you.

Wine, bacon, butter, cheese, bourbon, red meat–these are things that mainstream nutritional outlets often deem unhealthy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say “I can’t believe you eat bacon and drink wine; you’re so healthy!” If consumed in

moderation, things that are often considered unhealthy can actually be nurturing; they can be the small indulgences that keep you from binging and restricting. They can help you keep your fitness momentum and add to your quality of life.

I don’t believe in “bad foods” but I do believe there are things that aren’t going to enrich your unique and individual path. It’s your job to figure out what those things are–to ultimately decide what’s healthy for you.

Fitness professionals such as myself can help steer you in the right direction, but I urge you to be wary of blanket statements and black and white recommendations. I urge you, above all, to do things that work for you regardless of what the media or popular opinion may say.

Yes there are certain things that are considered “healthy” for your body across the board, just as there are things that are downright unhealthy and you should aim to avoid.  But that doesn’t mean that any of those things will necessarily enrich to detract from your individual fitness endeavors. Because here’s the simple truth:

  • There are a hundred different ways to consume quality protein–it doesn’t have to be fish.
  • There are thousands of variations of veggies–you don’t have to eat broccoli if it’s not your jam.
  • Digestive health can be nurtured with several different strategies–you don’t need to drink kombucha if it makes you gag.
  • There are so many ways to strengthen your body–you don’t need to choose lifts and workouts that you hate. Working out should add to your quality of life, not detract from it.

Healthy isn’t a blanket term that we should blindly follow without any sense of individuality, preference, or unique disposition.

Healthy is eating mindfully: being aware of flavors, portions, and how food makes you feel, eating real food and especially food that pleases and nourishes you.

Healthy is  training intuitively: listening to your body, moving with enthusiasm and integrity.

Healthy is living joyfully: practicing gratitude and nurturing your heart.

 

This is how the #EatLiftandbeHappy motto came to be and it’s how I aim to live my life every single day. I ask myself when I embark on any new endeavor, is this good for me? Maybe this is what’s good for people on average, but it in line with my intentions for my life?

Spend some time today thinking about what’s healthy for YOU. What can you do for your body that also benefits your mindset and your quality of life? How can you make healthy choices that also make you happy? Then, share your healthy and happy adventures with the rest of the ELbH community! Post your happy/healthy photos on Instagram with the hashtag #EatLiftandbeHAPPY.