Despite my tongue in cheek title, let me tell you something at the very beginning of this post: there is no right way to be healthy. You can be vegan, you can be paleo, you can eat gluten free, you can track calories or macros, you can not track calories or macros, you can run constantly or you can lift weights, you can do yoga or pilates or zumba or you can stretch and do body-weight exercises at home. You can be healthy while doing all of these things, and you can be unhealthy while doing all of these things too.
Health is more than a number on a scale or a mile time or a dietary choice. Health is the comprehensive combination of your mental and physical wellbeing. You can be the strongest, most conventionally attractive person on the planet and be in peak physical form, but if you are miserable and constantly judging yourself and promoting negative self-talk, you’re not actually healthy. Your mental health is a huge part of your overall health and wellness – just like your physical health is. In order to enjoy health and healthy relationships with others, you need to promote healthy thoughts and habits within yourself.
You can be miserable at 340 pounds and obese, and you can be miserable at 98 pounds and starving. You can also be miserable at 140 pounds and fit. But you can also be happy in all of these same situations. Your happiness is mental. Your fitness is physical. Your health is the combination of the two, and being less fit or more fit than another says nothing about your capacity to love, enjoy life, and find delight in your daily activities. Too often we confuse health with physical fitness, and we forget make room for delight in our pursuit of fitness.
There is more to life than being fit, and there is nothing more important in life than your health and happiness. Being healthy and being happy should never be mutually exclusive – indeed, the only way for health to truly exist is alongside happiness. When you are happy with yourself and your life, you want to treat yourself (and others) better. Treating yourself better can be through eating foods that make you feel strong and vital, being kind to yourself, telling yourself you are worthy and engaging in physical activities that help you delight in your body’s abilities.
I know that these words are difficult to hear sometimes, especially for people who are obsessed with physical fitness to the exclusion of mental security. I’ve been there. I don’t want to tell you that there’s only one way to find happiness, because there’s not. But I truly believe that prioritizing your overall health and wellness as a balanced combination of physical and mental well-being will help you find happiness.