“Are you well?” Have you been asked this question? How do you answer it? Is there an answer? Wellness can be different things for different people. It can be long term; it can be short term. Are you well? “I just got over this awful cold, but I am well now.” Are you well? “I have this chronic illness and some days I feel great while others I’m not so well and just want to lay in bed.”
August is National Wellness Month, and with so many other wellness themes like National Nutrition month, Women’s Health Month, and Men’s Health Month, we should define what wellness looks like and how it relates to good health. In the food and nutrition world, wellness can be defined as the act of practicing healthy habits daily to attain better physical and mental health outcomes, so that instead of just surviving, you're thriving. Forget about the old days of strict unsustainable “diets”, and instead focus on the management of your own health and wellbeing. What is it you want to achieve? And how will you get there?
So how do I define wellness? I look at it as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being that has the right balance for me. I look to keep chronic illnesses and diseases at bay to the best of my ability by exercising and eating a healthy diet comprised of fresh ingredients as much as possible. I also keep a social circle of friends and family with similar goals who can support me in my health journey, as well as a positive relationship with my own spiritual side. You have heard me say this before. We are all different. Our age, activity level, and even social habits can play into our wellness, and we must do what’s right for our own bodies. Stay away from the “fads” and those unsustainable strict “diets” I mentioned earlier. Take it upon yourself to own your wellness.
For me, I like to think about eating in a healthy and different way. I can still eat foods that I have always enjoyed by baking them or roasting them instead of frying them to cut down on a ton of saturated fats. I tend to focus on the nutrition that will help make the impact. Why? good nutrition leads to physical well-being, helps to maximize energy, achieve weight control, and manage chronic illnesses and diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. This can also lead to a positive impact on mental and spiritual well-being to maximize your quality of life. It’s more about balance, nutrient-dense foods, a focus on the ingredients, and creating the right mix of health along with an occasional indulgence.
Listen to what your body needs and rely on it. It won’t need the same thing every day. You can be sure it will help give you the solutions to help you make the right decisions and be successful in your health journey.
Please remember to consult your physician to discuss your particular needs.