Health in 5 Easy Steps

One of my least favorite terms as a fitness professional is the word “HEALTHY”. Why does it rub me the wrong way? Well, because it’s hard to define in some instances. The definition of HEALTH that we use for the NETA PT Workshop is:


Health: Freedom from disease AND the capacity to enjoy life and withstand challenges.

Last week on Monday, when I started describing my Happiness Project I said that the first thing I wanted out of MY BEST BODY was:

To be in good health and not currently fighting minor nor chronic disease

So, for the first month of this project I will be focusing on my health in this regard. But again, how do I measure this meaningfully and what do I do to maintain my health? I decided to take a cue from Ilana over at Mommy Shorts and to keep it simple with my list. I know that health can refer to many things with the body from how I feel to what I fuel with; from what I put on my skin to how I move each day. I already vowed not to diet, to take before and after pictures, or to do anything on this journey that I think would compromise other parts of my health, but this month I am on a health journey for my body in 5 easy steps.

  1. Eat what I want – this means more fruit and vegs, less meat, more nuts and beans….because I WANT TO! Recently I started making smoothies to have when my prednisone makes me want to eat. It’s a way for me to feel full, get more of the things that fuel me, and avoid overeating all at once. I’ve stopped eating meat at lunch because it always makes me feel lethargic for the rest of the day. I’ve bought more trail mix because it helps keep me going and I can read all of the ingredients. And I’m spending out a little too by choosing the ingredients I want. I’m not interested in “Going Paleo”, “Dieting”, “Eating Clean”, or any other fad. I just want to eat what fuels me and not feel guilty for my choices.
  2. Track my actual health – One of the things Gretchen Rubin uses in her book is a chart to track her progress. I have a notebook all prepared to start tracking my minor and chronic disease challenges. I’m using a three faces system: Smiles = no aches, pains, fever, illness, allergies, female issues for the day; Neutral face means it was one of those things, but it didn’t prevent me from getting on with normal life; and Sad face means it was something that kept me out of the game. I think this is important for me to track patterns in my weeks, days, etc. I have a calendar that I use to track what I intend to do and what I actually get done and it will be interesting to see how the two of those things match up.
  3. Take care of appointments – This month is a month of appointments in regards to my health. So far this year I’ve had my annual physical, my mammogram, and been to the dermatologist enough to have made a nice car payment. Still to go this month….eye exam, dental visit, and the rheumatologist.
  4. Vitamin D – One of the most important things for my health (or so I’ve discovered) is to get outside each day. It also makes me happy, gives me my daily dose of Vitamin D, and ensures that I am not laying around suffering. I plan to get out each day just to water the flowers, check on their growth, and connect with nature in some way. Last week I was having a rough day and maybe even a mild panic attack. I got up and out of the house and started watering flowers. Immediately my body turned itself around and I was calm. That hadn’t happened to me before and I hope it never happens again, but I at least chose a strategy to deal with it that made sense for me. This weekend I will be attempting to plant my garden (if the weather holds) and that will give me even more reason to be outdoors.
  5. MOVE! – Did I mention that yoga is my savior? Having a regular reason to exercise outside of my own routine has kept me going in so many ways. Over the last 2.5 weeks I have tried to exercise 5+ times/week. Moving each day has made for the best days during this whole health ordeal. So, Saturday I went out for a run just to see if I could still tackle 5 miles. I did it, slow and steady, but my legs fell asleep during the last mile. This got me thinking….what would I do the rest of the day? I’ve noticed lately my tendency to sit down while my kids are playing at a park or with friends. How can I change this?  How long can I go before I sit down? What can I do while I’m standing? I’m going to be looking for ways to incorporate more movement into my everyday.

So, that’s the plan. Tomorrow I’ll be starting, officially, and I hope you come back then to read up on what that means. But, for now, I want to know:

How do you define/measure your health?

How do food, movement, etc impact your health?

Are you regular about check-ups?


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