“Healthy”… Something a lot of people, including myself, are seeking nowadays. Everywhere I go I hear people discussing health. However, one would assume that we all agreed exactly what “healthy” is, but I have realised how often the word is just thrown around without any consideration.
So what defines the term?
Is it about sugar? Is that the factor that makes you unhealthy? Or maybe added oil? What about calories? Fats? Carbs? Dieting? Or maybe even a sixpack can define your health? Researching around the internet I have found that the most used definition of “healthy” is “to be in a good physical or mental condition”, which does not really apply to just one of the suggestions mentioned. It can be about all of them, but also none of them.
From I was little I was always taught that a healthy diet should be about balance. That does not necessarily only be in terms of macros. It is about eating a variety of food to allow your body to take in as much nutrients as possible. These are nutrients that will sustain it through all the activities it is required to do throughout the day. We could all agree that only eating broccoli (Even though it is an amazing and nutrient-dense vegetable) every day will never help you reach your goals, because there would still be so many other things you missed out on. Another point is when you see fit-looking people, and many just assume that this person is healthy. In this decade where going to the gym has become a trend, I see that a lot of people mistake big muscles for being strong and healthy. If you see a guy with a sixpack, it simply just means that he has been overtraining and pumping the rectus abdominis, which is the outer abdominal muscles. The same applies to women. If you see skinny (Or lean) girl it can simply mean that her metabolism is high. You can not say anything about her lifestyle even though she might look fit and healthy.
Then over to junk food. We have all had that burger or that bag of crisps and told ourselves that we have been really unhealthy that day. However, where does the line go between “healthy” and “unhealthy”? Is it after 200 grams? And then, grams of what? No one can really define it, but we still keep guilt tripping ourselves every time we make the decision to have those treats…
Growing up, I learned that fruit, vegetables, eggs, milk and meat (Especially chicken) was the way to go. Through my life I have kept changing my eating habits, and since I decided to change to a plantbased diet I can feel that I am getting closer to something that truly makes me thrive like I have never before. With that said, I do still have crisps and chocolate. Oh, and I LOVE ice cream! I believe that it is not about what you eat in that moment, but how often it happens. We can all afford to have some cake, but it is when you start having it every day you have a problem.
Health is not just about what you eat. It is about how you live – your lifestyle. By making sure you keep a balance between the “healthy” and “unhealthy” food I believe that you are truly living healthily. Constant restriction is not going to do anything else than leaving you unsatisfied. For many having that chocolate bar helps keeping them sane, especially in this day and age where we constantly experience all kinds of pressure. I say if it makes you happy, then have it, because happiness and peace of mind is the healthiest thing I can personally think of. By evening it out later with some fruits or vegetables you will not even be set back on your goals. If you have had a calorie surplus one day you can even go for a slight calorie deficit the next day. A lifestyle consists of many factors, and you are the only one who knows what is making you feel your best.
I would love to hear your definition of “healthy” and the habits you have that make you feel good and energised?