"...All of that makes up my life, and under that is the foundation of my health. I am my own balance of many contradictions. It's not all 'good' or all 'bad', I am a mixture wrapped up to make my happy, healthy, balanced life. That is a healthy lifestyle to me."
"I don't want to convince people, I want to inspire people to look at food, nutrition, our bodies, and our lives in a different light."
I commonly ask patients, "What does a healthy lifestyle look like to you?"
Most common answer: Eating right and exercising.
Learning about food, nutrition, and how the body works truly lead me to live more fully, I stopped chasing health and started living my own healthy lifestyle.
Eating right and exercising are very powerful tools when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, but they are not everything. With my job, I hope to make food, nutrition, and how the body processes nutrients easier to understand for others. I don't want to convince people, I want to inspire people to look at food, nutrition, our bodies, and, in turn, our lives in a different light.
What does 'eating right' look like for me?
Some meals I eat vegetarian, some I eat paleo. Some meals are gluten free, some have every form of gluten. Some meals are dairy free, some are dairy full. Some meals are high carb, some are low carb. Some meals are low fat, some are high fat. Some days I eat large quantities, some days I eat little. The majority of foods I eat are good quality and devoid of artificial ingredients, but I'm not anti- fast food, food dyes, preservatives, and artificial additives. I don't count calories and I don't measure out my portions. The only food I do not consume is peanuts because I am allergic. I eat what feels right for my body at the time and that is what 'eating right' looks like for me.
My body is very complex, and I need different nutrients on different days. Educating myself and getting in tune with my body was a process, but it's the most freeing thing I have ever done. I help people learn what 'eating right' looks like for them.
What does a healthy lifestyle look like to me?
I enjoy nourishing my body with good quality food, drinking water and herbal teas, and using organic products most of the time. I enjoy having two (ok, four...) glasses of wine and good ole greasy pizza sometimes. I am fascinated by farming, supporting locals, and making recipes from scratch. I am fascinated by the restaurant business and other culture's food. Exercise makes me feel so good. Rest and relaxation make me feel so good. Going to bed early and getting up early makes my life better. Late nights and making memories make my life better. Having good relationships and helping those around me is crucial. Alone time and helping myself is crucial. Disease prevention improves my quality of life. Feeling the sun on my bare skin and eating a fried corn dog on a dirty picnic table improves my quality of life. Being productive is important. Just pausing and being with loved ones is important. Speaking up is important. Knowing when to be silent is important. Happiness, love, hope, and faith are important feelings. Anger, sadness, fear, and anxiety are important feelings. Knowing when to push myself and keep going is key. Knowing when to slow down or walk away is key. Taking the natural route can help my body when necessary. Going to the doctor and medicine can help my body when necessary. I like wearing pearls, curling my hair, and wearing makeup. I like wearing big t-shirts, letting my hair be untamed, and getting dirt under my nails. I like letting my grit show. I like letting my grace show. Listening to music that I feel deep down in my soul, laughing, kids, praying, real love, plants, cooking, rainbows, and sunsets never fail to make me feel so alive. Going through a valley, feeling like a complete mess, crying, being sick, and personal growth never fail to make me feel so alive.
Alllll of that makes up my life, and under that is the foundation of my health. I am my own balance of many contradictions. It's not all 'good' or all 'bad', I am a mixture wrapped up to make my happy, healthy, balanced life. That is a healthy lifestyle to me.
"I'm concerned that our pursuit of health is in fact a huge barrier to actually experiencing it."
What does health mean to me?
Health is not a size. It is not appearance. It is not a number. It is not a rule book. It is not test results. It is not your diet. It's the whole picture of your body, life, and how you live.
We can't control what body we're given, and we can't control a lot of what happens to our bodies through life. We are all always changing and growing. Because of that, we don't ever "arrive at" health. We control how we choose to learn, grow, live, and take care of ourselves through it all, day in and day out.
THAT is what health means to me.
All in all, a small part of what a healthy lifestyle is for me deals with food and exercise, but food and movement impact many parts of my health. Nourishing my body with good food and movement are very important to me and because of that they seamlessly weave throughout my everyday routine. How I eat and move my body provide a strong foundation so I can live fully.
Our bodies were created to work for us, not against us. I want to help people to help themselves. To give people the tools to work with, not against, their bodies through any season of life. Maybe learning about food, nutrition, and how the body works can lead others to live more fully, to stop chasing health and start living their own healthy lifestyle. Human bodies are pretty complex and resilient, life itself is simple and fragile.
So, let me ask again, what does a healthy lifestyle look like for you?
Simply. Well. Man.
(...& a picture with this little lady who is a constant inspiration for me to be a good and balanced example. She was peeping through the window then ran down to join... #AlwaysWatching)
Picture Credit, Instagram: @WannaTakePhotos
Orthorexia is a term used for a condition which includes symptoms of obsessive behavior in pursuit of a 'healthy' diet. If you think it is time to get help, do a health screening at:
...Or reach out to me with any questions you may have, if I can't help I will find someone who can!
-Meredith Wellman, RD, LD