I had my first experience with the Health Care System when I was four years old. I had multiple surgeries for and related to my bladder including an operation to remove many kidney stones. I remember those months I spent in the Children’s hospital with other little kids who were battling their own health issues like diabetes, serious injuries, and cancer. I’ll never forget playing dinosaurs with one little boy in his private room one day only to be told a few days later that he wasn’t there anymore but that his mom had left behind one of his dinosaurs for me because she was sure he would want me to have it.
I was very fortunate to recover from my surgeries, leave the hospital and go on to live a relatively ‘healthy’ life. I think it was then that I started to become very aware of the importance of being healthy and making sure I did everything I needed to STAY ‘healthy.’
Unfortunately, somewhere along the way the term HEALTHY got swept up in and co-opted by the diet industry, and it soon became the scare tactic needed to get people to sign up for their ‘proven’ meal plans that would shed their fat and help them gain ‘health.’ Soon Diet plans, centers, books, videos, and premade meals were everywhere, and a Billion Dollar industry was thriving, all under the guise of making you ‘healthier.’
“If you are serious about getting healthy then you need to do this…”
“Eat this good/clean stuff and for the love of GOD stop eating that bad/dirty stuff…”
“Nothing tastes better than how skinny feels.”
“This is your health, doesn’t that mean anything to you? What kind of example are you setting for your kids?”
So I listened. I wanted to be HEALTHY. I didn’t want to waste this life I was so fortunate to live. BUT...
Playing mind games with myself by cutting out certain food groups until my body took over and forced me into a binge that lasted for days- did not feel HEALTHY.
Chewing gum, sucking on sugar-free candies and smoking cigarettes to help me avoid a meal and ignore the hunger pains in my stomach- did not feel HEALTHY.
Reducing my calories to 1000-800 per day (less than what is required to keep a coma victim alive)- did not feel HEALTHY.
Taking diet pills to “boost my metabolism and curb my hunger” that left me shaky and gave me headaches- did not feel HEALTHY.
Running every morning even when my body ached and my knees screamed at me- did not feel HEALTHY.
All these things I was encouraged to do by the Doctors, trainers, Diet Centre Assistants, reality show contestants and celebrities to “Rid my body of the FAT that was making me ‘unhealthy’ and leading me to my certain early death,” was making me feel worse!
Headaches, pain in my joints, low energy, missed periods, anxiety, lack of sleep, making myself throw up, and digestive issues. There was a part of me that knew; this was not HEALTH.
Then my kids came along, and I thought back to those days as a small child in the hospital. I thought about all the things my body has survived over the years and how it had continued to serve me even when I treated it so horribly. I thought about all the things it has accomplished regardless of the ‘unhealthy’ FAT on it.
I thought about:
How flexible I am from stretching every night in front of the tv
How strong I am from lifting weights and my kids
How my blood pressure is always perfect, no matter how many times the doctor re-tests it
How I get lots of sleep every chance I get
How I don’t smoke anymore because I want to take care of the lungs that help me walk, swim, ski, jog, and dance
How I learned to say no to things, so I don’t get overwhelmed and add stress to my life
How I now eat what I want, when I want without guilt or shame and eat for nutrition as well as pleasure
How I take the time to spend time with my amazing community of friends and family who add support and help me stay connected to the world around me
How I make sure to nurture the relationship with my husband who loves and cherishes me for all that I am and gifts me with laughter, compassion, respect, and intimacy
How my body was able to birth two beautiful children who give me purpose
How I try to lead by example and show my kids, that self-belief and self-compassion will help them face their fears and take on the world while also helping others along the way
How my hands can take my creative visions and make it a reality
How no matter what life throws at me I have always gotten back up and tried again
Then, I thought about how these are the things that define what being HEALTHY means to ME.
Every BODY has a unique path in life. Every BODY will face different pains, illnesses, traumas, abuses, afflictions, and injuries and because of this ‘Health’ should not be defined using a one size fits all approach.
I am a Certified Health and Life Coach, and the #1 thing ALL my clients want to work on is getting their health in order. “I want to be healthier,” they say, and my first response is always the same, “What does health mean to YOU?”
I encourage you to take some time and think about what health means to you, what is your list of markers? Do those markers add to your life or take away from it? Are those markers well rounded and apply to many areas of your life?
If you are ready to work on your health and you want to work together click here.