Image from weheartit.com
a friend sent me a message asking me what exactly I meant by the word “healthy”
on my blog. If you would have asked me this
question two years ago, I would have told you a healthy woman is somebody who
is thin, strong and a hundred percent comfortable with her own body. A healthy woman, I believed, was a person
with complete control over her diet and weight, the type of women that you’d
see on the cover of Women’s HealthMagazine.
I didn’t realize at the time was that my very own definition of the word healthy
was unhealthy. I could never be thin or strong
enough to fit the mold of healthy in my mind.
I repeatedly beat myself up for having doubts about my body and cravings
for sugar. After all a healthy women
should not have these types of struggles with her body, right?
When I first started this blog my main
goal was to show my journey towards finding physical health. However, it took me until my first wave of
discouragement in my journey—gaining weight instead of losing weight on the scale—
to realize that I was chasing after an ideal: a one size fits all mold created
by our society to show how women should look, act, and feel.
I was overwhelmed and discouraged by the large
gap between the girl that I felt that I was and the healthy girl I thought I
wanted to be. Would I ever be thin
enough, strong enough, or confident enough in my own skin to be considered a
healthy girl? Even as my friends continuously
praised me for my healthy lifestyle, would I myself ever truly feel healthy?
question made me think long and hard about my own definition of healthy and how
it shaped the way I viewed others and myself.
What I realized is that my high expectations of the way healthy should
look created self judgment and disappointment.
Rather than coming from a place of self love, I realized that my efforts
to get fit and eat right were driven by guilt and shame for the way I viewed my
According to Karly Randolph Pitman, "Our mind loves to go after perfection--and that includes self perfection--because it is trying to get us to a place where we feel like we're enough. We've been taught to believe that this is the key to inner peace."
We believe that if we look and feel perfect enough we wil be happy and healthy. Yet this mentality often leaves us feeling discouraged and empty when we fail to meet the high expectations we have set for ourselves. Dana Faulds writes: "Perfection is not a prerequisite for anything but pain."
So I asked myself does healthy need to equal perfection? Or can healthy mean embracing every part
of ourselves and our bodies, both the good and the bad. Can healthy mean accepting are own
humanity and realizing that our imperfections are what make us interesting and
unique individuals? Can healthy mean
setting realistic goals for fitness and diet that come from a place of love and
compassion rather than guilt and shame?
Today I believe that healthy is a state of mind and that anybody can
begin today. I believe that there is room in a healthy lifestyle for mistakes and imperfections, and that I feel healthiest when I practice compassion, forgiveness, and gratitude. Here are a
few simple and easy things you start doing right now:
Look in the mirror and acknowledge two parts of your body and personality that you appreciate.
Nourish your body with food that makes you feel energized and cared for.
Engage in activity that you enjoy, whether it’s going on a walk with your dog or playing tennis with a friend.
Set yourself realistic fitness and diet goals for the short term and long term.
Write down what healthy means to you. Ask yourself if your definition about being healthy is serving you best in your journey towards living a sustainable,
I realize that life is a series of decisions and choices we make each moment. Sometimes we make choices that require us to forgive and learn from our past. I believe that in these moments: we can either get discouraged and give up, or find the courage to get up and try again. I hope that if you are feeling discouraged about your body or your current state of health that you will have the strength to keep moving foward, regardless of the setbacks you may face along the way. I know it may seem impossible now. But remember, a journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step.
Labels: body image, eating for enjoyment, healthy relationship with food, meaning of healthy, mindful eating, sustainable and healthy lifestyle