what-is-healthLots of folks have resolved to “get healthy” in 2015, which begs the question: what does that mean, exactly? Yesterday I posted a poll asking you to define “health” and, based on your definitions, to rate yourself – how healthy are you, really?

The most popular definition was “health is eating right and exercising”, followed closely by “health is never getting sick”. Apparently, you didn’t catch on to my ulterior motive. I was hoping someone would say “Phfft! these definitions stand on their head!”

If you would allow a moment of indulgence, let’s investigate your answers a little closer. If it is true that “health is eating right and exercising” what is the image of the healthiest person? Someone who never indulges in cakes and candies, who never salts his quinoa, who does an hour of yoga before jogging two miles and who never misses a day? What if this hypothetical person also happens to be lonely, or so religious about his lifestyle that he never dates, never eats out, never sleeps in? I’d hate to think of what happens to Mr. Health if (and when) he happens to get sick!

Okay, so maybe health is more than “eating right and exercising”. But what about “health is never getting sick”? There certainly are such people, and it’s just not fair. They never miss a day of work, they never have to bother with doctors or expensive medicines, they never worry about their health. If your goal to “get healthy” means “never getting sick” – how would you go about it? Imagine a woman who single-mindedly resolves to not get sick, not even once this entire year. She’d have to avoid public places, especially mass transit, public schools, supermarkets. She’d likely be washing her hands every time she passed a sink and would carry sanitizer in her purse. Simple activities like playing with dogs, hugging a friend, and sharing a meal are out of the question. How healthy is Mrs. Never-gonna-get-sick? And how likely is it that she will end up getting sick this year?

Charles Richards observed, “How can ‘health’ be defined as ‘eating right and exercising’, when a person who does those things, religiously, STILL might be suffering from stage 4 Breast Cancer? They certainly can’t say that they are ‘healthy’, despite their undeniably healthy lifestyle…you might lead the healthiest lifestyle in the world, but have the worst health in the world.”

Now you see where this is going. Pat Everson brought a holistic perspective to the conversation: “I feel healthy at my age is overcoming aches and pains with diet, and realizing what foods are doing to your body! Trying to lead a life that cuts back on medication and where chronic illnesses are overcome with whatever is available, diet, exercise, therapy, etc. If the body is healthy the mind will follow.” (and vice-versa)

Resolving to “get healthy” is about more than just a healthy body, it’s about a healthy mind and a healthy spirit. Getting healthy is a journey, a process, a continuum. I hear many people beating themselves up about “breaking” their resolutions to quit sugar, or to exercise every day. But it’s not about that, right? Forgive yourself, embrace the journey, and enjoy abundant health in 2015!

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