Nutritionist Perth

The Definition of Health

November 20, 2023

Something I’ve been pondering lately is the definition of health. It feels like society is telling us health is about what we look like, how much we weigh, or even how little wrinkles we have! And I don’t like these, they are impossible to live up to for most of us. I wanted to explore […]

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Something I’ve been pondering lately is the definition of health. It feels like society is telling us health is about what we look like, how much we weigh, or even how little wrinkles we have! And I don’t like these, they are impossible to live up to for most of us. I wanted to explore how we can make our own definition of health, and let that be our guide, rather than letting society dictate what is ‘healthy’, or what ‘healthy’ should look like.

If you look at the dictionary definitions of health, we get:

  • the state of being free from illness or injury
  • a person’s mental or physical condition

Pretty vague huh? And what about those people who are living with a chronic disease or genetic conditions – does that mean they are never healthy if the definition of health is being free of this?

We get this from the World Health Organisation, which I think is more on the money for a definition of health:

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

So who gets to define what’s a healthy state of your physical, mental and social well-being? You do! This is where what looks healthy for you, will be different to someone else, and that’s totally OK. For some, healthy will look like preventing type 2 diabetes that runs in the family. For others, it’s managing their type 1 diabetes that they’ve had since they were a kid. For some of us, it’s feeling 100% and great every day, for others with chronic pain, it’s feeling better than yesterday 10% less pain.

I would challenge you to set your own definition of health and let that be your guide, based on your own personal circumstances, and medical and family history. And where you can, don’t tie this to what you look like, or the number of the scales. What happens if you feel great, but the number on the scale doesn’t change? Does this mean you’ve failed? Probably not, it might mean you’ve put on muscle mass and feel stronger!

With my group coaching program for weight loss, Weighing in Lighter, at the start of the program, I ask all my clients to set goals for the program, that are not related to weight or measurements at all. This is how we really measure how we’ve gone over the program; how has our mindset changed about weight loss? How do we feel now about weight and weight loss? How do we approach daily eating and exercise, and how does it make us feel? These are much better, long term and sustainable changes, rather than just the number on the scale.

I’m not going to end this blog post with my definition of health, because my definition won’t be relevant to you, only yours will.

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Are Your Snacks Making
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