Updated: Apr 22
Many people have heard the saying at one point or another that 'you can be skinny and unhealthy' ( add a good "Ya Know" for those of us raised in the midwest).
I remember this being a bold statement when I was younger because I and many people I knew equated health to only how you look on the outside and what the magazines portrayed (and in that world, skinny = healthy). However, I started learning more and it started making more sense. After all, just because you are skinny does not mean that you are fit, have a good amount of muscle and cardiovascular stamina, or are eating well. I learned about the prevalence of eating disorders and how many young people will starve themselves to stay skinny, setting themselves up for years of emotional, hormonal, reproductive, and metabolic issues. I started gaining a better understanding that health was not simply how you looked from the outside.
Now, today, what if I said that you can be physically fit and unhealthy? would this surprise you? Would you find yourself debating it? If so, let’s review one of the most comprehensive yet simple definitions of health:
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” ~The WHO
Indeed, when we take a look at a complete and holistic view of health, we cannot simply cherry-pick certain aspects of our wellbeing. Fitness is one component of our physical health - and while it certainly has amazing benefits for our physiology, our mental and emotional health, our sleep, and so many aspects of our life - it still does not in-itself fulfill all the aspects of health. For example, If we are ‘fit’, but our gut health and nutrition are in the gutter then our body cannot properly heal and repair from our workouts. We then go into what is called it will then start taxing our glands and vital organs and lead to metabolic distress and premature aging.
We must stop simplifying health to just “exercising and eating well”, as the only benchmarks to being healthy. If our goals are to live long and have an extraordinary quality of life, then we must take extraordinary care of every aspect of our health and wellbeing including our emotional wellbeing, our social wellbeing, our financial wellbeing, and yes, our physical wellbeing. We must be willing to evaluate our beliefs, our life experiences, what we have been taught, and the thoughts that we carry with us every day. We must realize that we can do every 3, 10, or 28 day-cleanse and gut health program in the world, but if we have unprocessed negative emotions we are holding onto then they will physically disrupt our gut microbiome and prevent full healing. Or, if we are eating amazing foods, but are always eating in a stressed state, our body will not be able to fully assimilate the nutrients and minerals we are trying so hard to intake.
If our goals are to live long and have an extraordinary quality of life, then we must take extraordinary care of every aspect of our health and wellbeing
This is why I love Holistic Chiropractic care, and why it has been the centerpiece of my own healing and wellness journey over the past 10+ years. Healing our relationship with ourselves; our bodies, our movement, our nutrition, our beliefs, our emotions, and our relationship with those around us is a journey - and it all stems from the patterns that are held in our nervous system since our birth and childhood. When we process unintegrated stress, trauma, or negative beliefs we begin to heal those unhelpful patterns. Then, we are able to reinforce and create positive ones and create more adaptability and resilience from within. Sometimes we don't really realize the state of our own health and what we can or can't do until we are challenged. This is a beautiful thing when we can take an honest inventory of what is or is not serving us make shifts and changes accordingly - when we embrace the feedback and learn from it we can grow. However, when we reject the feedback and say "well that can't be true", or make excuses for it - then we reinforce those negative patterns and beliefs and risk falling into a victim mindset.
It is not something that happens overnight, but if we want full vitality and joy, we must embrace the process of peeling back those layers one at a time and take an honest inventory of each area of our health and life. Health isn't created on accident, it takes intention and it takes consistency, but it is an investment that has incredible returns and when we embrace the process we begin to see more clearly who we are and what we are capable of!
Is there a way that you need to re-frame your view of what health looks like?
Pick one step that you can take today to move closer to your healthiest & happiest self!
Dr. Rachel Wurdemann is a vitalistic chiropractor and owner of Sanctuary Blue: A Center for Optimal Living. She specializes in a gentle holistic approach to neural integration and whole-body wellness. She has a background in health and life coaching and received her Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life University in Atlanta, Ga. She lives on Daniel Island with her husband Josh and their 3-year old son, Maverick. In her spare time, you can find her at the beach, climbing, in the gym, reading a good book, playing board games, and enjoying nourishing food.
~ Life is too short to not feel good and spread joy ~