That word is everywhere. But what is and isn’t “healthy” seems to change from one day to the next.
You know what I mean… Once upon a time, fat was the enemy, low-fat was the way forward and half an avocado was an “occasional treat”. Now sugar is the enemy and the media would like you to believe that you need to be frightened of fruit. Meanwhile, some studies suggest that chocolate could reduce our risk of heart disease! And I’m still not sure where we stand on wine.
But food aside, we all need to maintain a healthy weight, right? But how do we know if we’re a healthy weight? Well, we work out our BMI of course! Or not. Because BMI is actually just a measure of mass and not necessarily a good indicator of health.
Most of us want to be “healthy”, but with all the questions and mixed messages in the media and beyond, you have to ask….what does healthy really mean anyway?!
Many people think of being “healthy” as having something to do with salad and running. But there is a lot more to being healthy than lettuce and sweat.
The English word “health” comes from the Old English word “hale” meaning “wholeness, being whole, sound or well”. This is reflected in the World Health Organisation’s definition of health, which is that it is a “state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.
Whilst physical health is important, it’s important not to neglect your wellbeing in other areas, such as your social wellbeing, your spiritual health, your sexual health and your emotional and intellectual wellbeing.
Having said that, being completely physically, mentally and socially sound is virtually unachievable for anyone, so if the World Health Organisation’s definition is anything to go by, none of us are ever going to be totally healthy.
But ultimately, it boils down to the fact that “healthy” means different things to different people. Healthy is not a weight; it’s not a size. It’s not any particular diet or exercise regime.
Healthy is about being active, well-nourished, socially supported and at peace with yourself.
And because of this, healthy looks different on everyone.