Health is not a mindset that makes you get in a workout at any cost. Health is not chasing perfectly balanced macros. Health is not a quick fix; it is a way of being and living your life. According to the World Health Organization, health “is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
That’s a good start, but it’s not enough to be healthy. In 2019, choose to be well.
In my nine years as a personal trainer and health coach, I’ve seen too much effort spent on diets and workouts that deprive or deplete and leave women feeling anything but well. I’ve watched women try to live up to everyone’s expectations at the expense of their health and happiness. The more time I spend with women in and out of the gym, the more I understand that my industry needs to create more of a conversation about health and wellness working together.
I love the definition of wellness from WELCOA. WELCOA stands for the Wellness Council of America and their focus is on building healthier workplaces. I heard their seven-point definition of wellness at a conference last fall. This expanded definition clicked with me. While their focus is on workplace wellness, it can easily be applied to any fitness journey.
- HEALTH Beyond the absence of mental and physical illness, health is a feeling of strength and energy from your body and mind.
- MEANING Feeling part of something bigger than yourself. Knowing that your work matters. Having purpose in your life.
- SAFETY Knowing that you are safe from physical and psychological harm at work. Feeling secure enough to take calculated risks and show vulnerability. Free of concern about meeting basic life needs.
- CONNECTION Experiencing positive, trusting relationships with others. Feeling a sense of belonging, acceptance and support.
- ACHIEVEMENT Feeling you have the support, resources and autonomy to achieve your goals. Succeeding at meeting your individual goals and work aspirations.
- GROWTH Feeling like you are progressing in your career. Learning and being challenged to use and expand on your strengths.
- RESILIENCY Viewing life with optimism. Feeling grateful and expressing appreciation. Feeling validated and encouraged.
By this definition, are you well?
My experience is that most people are not. We start with health goals based on physical metrics like weight and forget to pursue the other elements that bring us true wellness. Being well doesn’t have to mean that all of these things are perfectly in balance. To be well, we need to be mindfully and actively engaged in pursuing these goals. To be well, we cannot give all of our time and energy to one area at the expense of the others.
Can you be healthy and not well?
Yes, if you define health only by the numbers. There is nothing wrong with a goal to lose weight, drop your blood pressure or hit a new PR. To be well, you must pursue these goals with love. Don’t let them be a block to connecting with the world or cultivating a growth mindset. Being well is about finding joy in the journey.
If this is the year of YOU, I want you to think a little beyond getting healthy in 2019. I want you to think about how you can be WELL. This January, I’ll be exploring logical and doable practices to help you be well. Over the next three weeks, we’ll have conversations about health and wellness working together.
- The partnership between physical and mental health
- How we find meaning and connection
- Practicing resilience for growth and achievement
I invite you to subscribe to my email list to make sure you don’t miss any of it. I know email can be overwhelming so I promise I won’t email you every day. My blog articles come every Monday and once a month I send you a bonus article. This year I’ll be sharing what books I’m reading every month (and why I think you should read them too) and a nice tea to go with it. You may also get an event invitation a few times a year.
I want you to be well. I can teach anyone to do a proper squat in about five minutes. It is a necessary and essential part of my job but it is not what gives me meaning and makes me feel a sense of accomplishment. I light up when I see all the threads start to come together. I thrive on health and wellness working together. When the strength, the confidence and a growth mindset click, I feel successful. And I know you do too.