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Health is Not a Look: the Definition of Health - Food-Spotter

Health is Not a Look: the Definition of Health

meaning of health food-spotterIn the current day where we are actively being fed information and images about healthy living and eating (and how WRONG some of it is), the actual meaning of health has somewhat been mildly lost thanks to the media reinterpreting the definition of health to the masses.

What’s your image of someone who defines and embodies the word health?

Is it anything like this? …

health is not a look - misleading menhealth womenshealth magazine covers

Notice a common theme of abs, losing weight, bikini bodies and looking great naked?

Most people would associate the image of a guy who has a toned physique showcasing great abs as the posterboy for being healthy and the image of slim but toned lady with radiant hair and cute ass to be the postergirl. They probably live on a mixed diet that includes coconut water, super smoothies/juices, low carb intake and all other dietary stereotypes that are usually associated with people who aim to achieve/keep a great physique with less than 5% body fat. In reality this is NOT a great indicator. Losing fat does not mean you are healthy.

The media has clearly done a great job in defining ones exterior as a prerequisite to being healthy which I feel some people are really caught up in. I think it’s nice to be reminded that:

Health is not a Look

A perfect physique such as a bikini body or a pack of chiselled abs do not signify optimal health by any means. Infact, some of these people who look fantastic physically on the outside have a whole range of negative issues going on inside them. Their physically demanding lifestyle and diet is optimised at a physical level, but not necessarily from a “health” level.

Lets look at someone who’s into yoga, a form of exercise that doesn’t focus on exterior beauty. My dads uncle is in his early 80s and has practised yoga for years and years. He could pass for being in his 60s and is free of any sort of degenerative disease. In comparison to his siblings, they have diabetes as well as other health issues. I would say years of practising yoga have contributed to his “health”.

The Definition of Health

I’ve taken a quote above from Sean Croxton’s book, “The Dark Side of Fat Loss“, as I think it sums up the definition of health brilliantly:

 

“Health has nothing to do with how many pounds you can bench press or how good you look in a bikini. It is about being free from the signs and symptoms of disease.” – Sean Croxton

 

My dads uncle would be someone whos a great example of this. He is someone that is healthy. For the record, he doesn’t have abs or anything like that, just a slim build. A great example of being able to separate outward appearance with internal health.

Working out = Bad?

I’m not saying you should stop working out at all. Far from it. It’s important to understand that constant physical stresses such as an extreme workout regime (wake up, work out, huge protein intake, repeat the following day), or simply lack of sleep are contributors in stressing our body and preventing it from operating the best that it can. I.e. being healthy.

There are relatively simple changes that we can do that have a better impact on our health such as:

  • Getting more sleep
  • Reducing stress and anxiety
  • Eating real food – close as possible to what nature intended (e.g. grass fed cows milk. No to supplements god damnit). Those strange chemicals in your foods CAN mess around with your internal hormone balance
  • Giving your body suitable time to recover from workouts

These are actually simpler with arguably more noticeable benefits compared to an intense 5-days-a-week gym session pumping iron or hitting the running machine. Both of these can be overly stressful if you’re not giving your body time to recover. If your reason is to burn calories, you my friend have been fooled by this bizarre calories in – calories out model. Please escape that paradigm.

Am I stating the obvious?

Probably, it’s common sense but sometimes we can all be misguided. So next time you’re doing your intense work out for your beach body, remember not to neglect your inner self like the temple it is.

Feel free to comment/flame below in the comments section.

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