Nothing Looks As Good As Healthy Feels
Nothing looks as good as healthy feels. We want to believe that the outside matters more than the inside, but it doesn’t. You can’t judge that book cover, no matter how much you want to. You can’t know someone’s level of health just by looking at them.
Instead of chasing a body size, chase health. Nothing looks as good as healthy feels. Remember the phrase about being skinny? You know the one I’m talking about – Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. I hate that phrase. It is one of those diet culture crap phrases that so many people think is a thing to strive for. NO, let’s let that one die too. Let’s change. Nothing looks as good as healthy feels. I like that waaayyyyy better.
Are you still using exercise as a means to get “skinny?” Are you still using exercise and what your body looks like as your litmus test for how healthy you are? Are you using the size of your body to determine what you perceive your health to be? Do you think the smaller you are, the healthier you are? Do you think the more you workout, the better it is for you?
I previously wrote about chasing skinny in 2015. I’ve been on this kick a while. Nothing looks as good as healthy feels and I was writing about that in 2015. Here is that post: https://peggielarsen.com/2015/10/07/stop-chasing-skinny/
Exercise is a piece of the health puzzle. It’s not the whole puzzle. Exercise because it can be fun. Exercise because you want to promote your health. There is much more that goes into losing weight and being healthy than exercise alone. Chase health with exercise instead of chasing skinny for health. There is so much more to health than losing weight or looking a certain way.
Diet Culture Is Still Brainwashing Us
Diet Culture wants us to still believe that smaller and skinner is better. Can this quit being a thing now? Diet Culture still has us brainwashed into thinking we need to exercise to get skinny or that we are healthy because we are skinny. And it doesn’t matter what kind of exercise. In our minds if we want to lose weight, the first place it goes is more exercise. First of all, you don’t have to get skinny. That’s another diet culture tidbit that far too many believe.
The diet culture has told us we must do all the exercise. We must do all the cardio. The diet culture tells us that we want to lose weight and that we must lose weight in order to be skinny so we can look better and healthier. WTF? It tells us we must be smaller because smaller is better. WHY? Who told you you need to be skinny. Who told you you need to be smaller?
I have said it thousands and thousands of times, if you want to change, cool. It’s okay to want to change. It’s okay to like yourself and still want to change. People get that mixed up. People think if someone wants to change they must hate themselves. Let’s stop with that narrative too.
It’s so funny to me, because of the diet culture and its crazy influence people are judged for what their body looks like. People think the size of someone’s body indicates the state of their health. I know that nothing looks as good as healthy feels. Ask anyone who has had any kind of health scare and I bet they will tell you health trumps a certain body size.
Things That Affect Your Overall Health and Wellbeing
Just looking at someone can’t tell you what’s going on with that person’s health. There are a ton of things that affect someone’s health. Let’s look. These are things that can help your overall health. The umbrella of your health.
These are things that affect your overall health and how to use them to improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Genetics are like a loaded gun – lifestyle pulls the trigger
Baby you were born that way. Genetics play a big part in the state of someone’s health, but not everything about a person’s health. Genetics is like a loaded gun- lifestyle pulls the trigger. So you may have been dealt the crap hand with your genetics, but you can still do things to make your health better.
Sleep and sleep quality
How are those Zzzzzzs? More and more research is finding out that sleep is a huge factor in health. Sleep matters.
In this 2013 article, you get a good picture of how sleep or lack thereof affects your body and your day-to-day decisions.
“Of course, sleep helps you feel rested each day. But while you’re sleeping, your brain and body don’t just shut down. Internal organs and processes are hard at work throughout the night.
“Sleep services all aspects of our body in one way or another: molecular, energy balance, as well as intellectual function, alertness and mood,” says Dr. Merrill Mitler, a sleep expert and neuroscientist at NIH.
When you’re tired, you can’t function at your best. Sleep helps you think more clearly, have quicker reflexes and focus better. “The fact is, when we look at well-rested people, they’re operating at a different level than people trying to get by on 1 or 2 hours less nightly sleep,” says Mitler.”
Stress and Managing Stress
Next up for chasing health is stress and managing that stress. You might not even think you have stress in your life. But, most of us have some level and a lot of us have high levels. As you are reading this right now, what are your shoulders doing? Are you wearing them for earrings? Drop them down and now take a big deep breath. Where is that breath coming from? Is it coming from your chest or your diaphragm? When you take a deep breath, think of filling up your belly with the air and then slowly release it through your mouth. That is a diaphragmatic breath. These breaths and this type of breathing can help you relax and reduce your stress a little bit. And, it feels great. Take 3-5 of those big giant belly breaths. How do you feel? What did you notice? It feels good, doesn’t it. So how do you know if your stress is high? Well, we can feel it. How many times have you said to your friends, “Oh, my gosh, I’m just so stressed!” We usually know when we feel stressed. Our bodies can hold on to that stress too unless we do something to relieve it. Stress alone, is a great reason to chase health. So what helps with managing steps or relieving stress? Keep reading.
Stress affects health. Period.
Here is a good article about stress and health.
Stress can be a good thing. It’s when it tips to chronic stress, that problems start to pop up, or you start to notice things. Some things (which are in the above article) you may start to notice when chronic stress is hitting you:
Elevated blood pressure
Immune system problems
Once the stress is alleviated, most of these symptoms start to diminish. So how do you work on stress management for yourself? Here are some things that you can use to help alleviate and manage your stress:
Nutrient dense foods most of the time
Mindful eating – meaning listening to your body for fullness cues, etc.
Deep breathing and meditation
Nutrition and overall health
If you want to lose fat, nutrition is going to be right at the top of the list for getting that done. A calorie deficit is the key. But let’s look a little deeper at nutrition. Sometimes people don’t have access to fresh food. When it comes to food, no food is good or bad, but some foods are more nutrient dense than others. So, when we are chasing health, of course more nutrient dense can be better for your health. If you can’t afford fresh foods, buy the best quality you can afford. If that means canned vegetables or frozen vegetables, you are still giving your body the nutrients it needs. I’ve seen this dogmatic way of thinking all over social media as well. People get shamed for buying canned fruits and vegetables. So, just know it’s okay. Buy what you can afford. Do what you can for you. Don’t let others try and decide what is the best for you. Only you can know that. The same goes for protein sources. You don’t need to buy organic, grass fed whatever. Buy the best quality you can afford. Period. And, nutrition is important even if you don’t want to lose fat. It’s important for your overall health, whether you are maintaining, trying to lose, or in a surplus trying to gain muscle. Nutrient dense foods most of the time with treats sprinkled in some of the time. Plenty of water. Plenty of protein and plenty of balance. That is a sound nutrition strategy for overall health.
Exercise and movement
Exercise and health. Obviously, movement matters. If you are going to do one thing to start getting exercise into your life, walk. Most everyone can do that. Start with five minutes. Keep adding another minute to your time. Work your way up. Challenge yourself.
I also advocate for strength training. Especially as we age, we need to keep as much muscle as we can. Strength training is longevity training. Strength training helps maintain muscle mass, increase strength, improves your bone health, can help control body fat and decreases your risk of injury. Get some. It’s that important.
Mental Health and Emotional Health
Another factor for overall health that is moving to the forefront is mental health. Finally. Do not be afraid to reach out to someone if you need help coping with things. Mental health is part of our overall health umbrella. Get help if you need it. There is nothing wrong with you. You aren’t broken.
But what about someone’s appearance?
But, let’s get back to the judging. How many times have you looked at a skinny person and thought they must be so healthy? Probably a lot. How many times have you looked at someone who is heavier and thought that person was not healthy? Probably a lot.
So just like the overall model above for chasing health, how do we know that heavier person isn’t already doing all of those behaviors above? We don’t. We can’t judge a book by its cover. The right to judge is not ours. But it’s done every single day.
I wrote about that in 2017 – How My Body Looks Is None of Your Business. You can read that post here: https://peggielarsen.com/2017/05/10/howmybodylooksisnoneofyourbusiness/
Now what if that skinny person, who we think is the poster child of health, goes home every night and drinks and passes out?
How do we know if that skinny person eats nothing but processed foods?
What if that skinny person never gets any exercise?
You get the point. We just don’t know what’s going on with people. Stop judging.
Put your blinders on. Start chasing your health. Don’t worry about anyone else’s health or how someone looks on the outside. It’s the inside that matters.
Stop judging the books by their covers.
Start realizing that nothing looks as good as healthy feels. Chase that health. Keep going.