What is Health?


When we think about health we tend to think about the obvious things like the heart, brain, lungs etc. Our major organs can certainly tell us a lot about our health. Check out the body systems like the digestive system (bowels), lymphatic system (lymph nodes), and endocrine system (hormones). These systems give feedback everyday.  The body is created from many parts to create a whole. One small part can effect the entire body. Positive or negative changes might create small impacts but overtime they add up. Let’s take a look at two examples.

Mary is a young woman who eats balanced, goes to the gym 3-5 mornings a week, loves to ride her bike, go hiking & enjoys playing guitar. Recently, Mary got a competitive, high-stress job. This isn’t just any job, this is “her dream”. At first Mary is excited but with the long hours she doesn’t have time to play the guitar. She still manages to eat balanced, go to the gym 2-3 days and ride her bike. A month goes by and work has Mary working all hours. She keeps her phone on her 24/7. Getting in her morning workouts is just too much. She’s exhausted with low energy levels and battling constant stress headaches. Mary still tries to watch what she eats, but most her time is being spent working and she doesn’t leave a lot of time to grocery shop. Another month goes by and Mary notices some of her clothes are fitting snugger. Meals at this point are always on the go and never prepared at home. Mary has given up all physical activity, her energy is low,  and shes gaining weight. In just a few months time Mary, a fit, well-rounded and active women has put her work before all else & her health is beginning to feel the side effects.

Bob the truck driver, middle age, over weight, is plagued with medical issues. Bob’s got high-blood pressure & is pre-diabetic. He loves to drink soda and eat on the road. His food selections tend to be filled with low nutrient, high fat and salt. After 20 years of driving trucks, his doctor tells him his health is in dire need changes or he may lose his license to drive. He is worried and decides to make some changes. In the beginning Bob incorporates some walking on the weekends. He thought it would be awful but finds it relaxing. After a couple weeks he decides to start making some cooked meals for his shifts instead of eating out. He even hires a health coach to learn how to food prep and grocery shop. After all he doesn’t want to lose all that hard work he does walking. Turns out, he’s not too bad at cooking. After a month or so of changes Bob is down 15lbs. He’s given up soda and most junk food, better yet he’s saving a lot of money. After another 10lbs down he decides to treat himself to new sneakers. His weight loss has allowed him to gain a little confidence and he starts jogging & incorporating lifting weights. He’s losing inches in his waist and gaining energy. He keeps up the hard work and a couple months pass by. Now Bob is down 45lbs, eating well balanced meals and improving his health! His doctor is thrilled and his job is secure.

 Our body and all that contributes to its ability to function, be good or bad, is directly impacted by your everyday choices. Mary’s health or lack of, was driven by her work. Bob on the other hand found himself scared. He felt an immediate need to put his health first. Every drink, food or substance that enters your body is your choice. Each activity or lack of activity you decide to incorporate each day is your choice. What does your health look like? What does it mean to you? Try a quick exercise (pen and paper, no weights involved 🙂

Make two columns. “Good health” & “Needs Work health”. Consider all the things that contribute to your health – work, sleep, relationships, food, physical activity, things you enjoy. Once you’ve created that list take a look. Take time to reflect and see how you feel about your list. Does anything stand out? Go head and pick one thing you can change right now, this week. Write it on the fridge, set a timer, or see if there’s an app to help you. Did you know there’s apps to help you drink more water?! One small change over time, leads to great things! Feel free to share your changes with me or in the comments below!  #shapeintoyou