For a long, long time I have been concerned with my health. It probably started some time in high school when I began to take vitamins, concerned that I wasn’t getting enough nutrients in my diet. I can’t quite remember why I thought so, but I was probably on the right track. I grew up not knowing much about nutrition except what they taught me in school, and so I ate whatever I wanted to eat. And I often ate a lot; in fact, I often ate twice as much as a normal kid would eat; I was a compulsive snacker, too. You could say that my appetite had been stretched out.
Today, it’s not quite back in the shape that a “normal” appetite would be in, but I have it under tighter control. Over the years, I’ve flirted with fitness, diets, supplements, and various degrees of fasting in order improve my health. Having finally found what works for me, I now have a philosophy of health. I actually shared this with a friend not too long ago when she was looking for tips on losing weight and getting fit. I said “eat less, exercise more. More of what you eat should be good stuff, less of it bad stuff. If you stick to your guns regarding those rules ( and yes, get a little OCD about it) then you should do quite well. But don’t forget to let loose from time to time or else you’re not going to have any fun doing it.”
I would add that you have to ensure that you get enough sleep every night – not that I do. I’m a total hypocrite about that, but lack of sleep leads to stress, and stress makes it harder to resist your urges, especially when it comes to eating. I can do it most of the time, but eating is a classic way to instinctually counteract the stress response.
That’s not the length and breadth of being healthy, though. In addition to doing the right thing for your health – your personal health – you have to ensure that you’re happy, too. Everybody has to work, I know that. But you have to allow yourself some time for your own hobbies, and to spend time with others. This is social health. We need to have a positive outlook and consistently work on our emotional weaknesses through reflection and thoughtful application of modified behaviors. That’s emotional health.
Health comes in a bazillion varieties, and it’s not easy to cultivate the apex of each one simultaneously, so we have to work on them bit by bit, day by day. Get in the habit of improving, and you should never have a problem becoming whoever you want to be.
This post was prompted by the Daily Post Weekly Challenge.
Featured image source: 316th ESC on Flickr
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