There are magazines, books, TV shows, public speakers, trainers, meal planners, Weight Watchers DEDICATED to this one buzz word: health. And it feels like everyone has different advice. One source says to eat large meals, and another says snacking is healthier than big meals. One source gives you a work out routine that promises abs in under five minutes (that’s not how it works, in case you were wondering), and another claims that liposuction is the better method. At a certain point, who do we believe, and why?
I care a lot about my health. I want my body to feel and look it’s best, I want to know that I’m taking the best care of me. I think a lot of people start out thinking like this. However, it’s really easy to get lost on your health journey because everyone has something to say about health. At first, I thought this was incredibly annoying. How was I suppose to know what healthy was when everyone has a different definition of it? I tried to follow other people’s definitions, but I found a lot of contradiction. And, honestly? I wasn’t feeling any healthier.
I think health is a very personal thing. I also think it’s a social construct. We have images of what health looks like plastered all around us. I’m used to seeing skinny girls and buff men with rock hard abs as the health spokespeople, and after seeing that image enough times, it’s almost inevitable to feel the pressure to match that definition of health. But, take a trip to an art museum and you will realize how much of health is a social construct. At one point in time, being rounder meant you were healthy because you could afford food. There are paintings of chubby women in gorgeous dresses, or completely naked, because those were the bodies that were glorified. I’ve seen an ancient sculpture of Athena, the Greek goddess of beauty, and she had tummy rolls. She was not stick thin, you could not count her ribs, and she was considered the most beautiful woman. Health, and the image of it, changes alllll the time.
My health means I exercise to feel good and to be able to focus better. It means I eat when I’m hungry and don’t eat when I’m full. It means I treat myself to chocolate and I don’t count my calories. It means I don’t weigh myself on a scale. It means that I feel good about my body and in my body and that I prioritize my body and it’s needs. And not everyone’s health looks like mine, which is the point.