Whenever we hear about exercise and diet, we always hear the word 'health' attached to any diet or exercise regime. However, I have come to realise that the term is meaningless to people.
Here is the definition as outlined by the World Health Organisation.
Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
I have a question for the next expert who says, "eat a healthy diet," or "try to be healthy." WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!! Seriously, if health means different things to people, how does what you are saying translate to their interpretation of health. For some people, heart disease may have affected them or people they know, so when information comes out about diet and heart disease, it may mean something to those affected. However, I know that for many, it doesn't have the same meaning (if any), so the message is irrelevant. Some people don't want to live to 100. Some don't care about heart disease. Instead of trying to drive a square peg through a round hole, we need to find out what health means to people instead of them expecting to care about things they don't care about.
Here are some of the things clients say are what health means to them.
1. Being able to choose clothes that aren't at the end of the rack in the section labelled, "this is all we've got in your size."
2. Having the flexibility to cut toenails.
3. Being able to play with grandchildren.
4. Feeling your body moves with less restriction.
5. Having more energy.
6. Having a better sex life.
7. Being able to see your abs.
8. Offsetting your lifestyle.
9. Your children not calling you fat anymore.
10. Not having debilitating digestive discomfort when you eat or drink.
11. Feeling more like yourself.
12. Having regular bowel movements that don't have a 1 mile fallout zone.
13. Not having skin complaints.
14. Getting in shape so you are more attractive to other people.
15. Getting ill less.
None of these directly involve improving health in the way it is portrayed by the media or doctors, but it will indirectly affect your health status, but first it will address what is most important to the individual. This is what makes people happy, not following a diet that will make you live to 100. So don't ever feel guilty or silly if your goals don't seem as 'rational' as other people's goals. If it makes you happy, trust me, it is having a positive impact on your health.