What does "healthy" mean?

Fad diets, weight loss supplements, super foods and HIIT workouts. All of these things and more seem to be the "quick and easy solution" to losing weight, and therefore becoming healthier, right? For some this may be true,  but for others it may not be. The news and social media project these ideas of what it means to be "healthy" or "fit" which are often solely based on people's body appearances. From their perspective, skinny and lean are in for women, while muscular bodies are in for men. At the same time, there is a new trend towards curvier bodies, specifically for women with tiny wastes and bigger hips. For most people, achieving these body expectations is unattainable, or is attainable with much sacrifice to their personal well being and health. Attempting to achieve these "desired" physical appearances can result in anything ranging from using waist trainers to developing eating disorders. All of these negative results and realities of trying to physically alter your own appearance are detrimental to your body and own happiness.

Today's culture seems to be concentrated around perfection, and how the rest of the world views our bodies. We're expected to go to the gym, go on juice cleanses, work a 9-5 (or later) job, have a perfect family and friends, have other hobbies, get sufficient sleep, post on social media about how amazing our lives are, and do it all again the next day. These pressures force us to be afraid of treating ourselves and taking the time to reflect on how we are actually feeling and doing. These pressures force us to get trapped in a vicious never ending cycle that may result in fatigue and unhappiness.

Unfortunately, it will take time to change this culture. And it is hard to list specific things that can makes us "healthier" in a way that doesn't trash our bodies and doesn't ruin our psychological health, because everyone is different. However, the one thing that would be most beneficial to breaking this vicious cycle that is ingrained in our culture, is creating a balance in our daily lives.  This could mean that instead of eating a salad everyday for lunch (the same salad you might hate), you could instead have a burger once a week for lunch. This could mean taking a nap, or going on a hike with friends, instead of going to the gym and spending hours on the elliptical machine. All of these things and more should add to your personal growth and happiness as an individual.

And maybe you want to lose weight or become stronger, because you find it empowering, that is OKAY! In the end, your happiness should be equated to your personal health. As long as you've created a balance during this process its OKAY. Sleeping, eating, exercising, being active and reflecting on how you're doing are truly the things that matter in an individual's life, regardless of what the media or other people may tell you.


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