What is health? I’m not sure if any of us spend a lot of time trying to define what it means to us. We may focus on our weight, but losing weight may not make us happier, or more joyful, or more flexible, or stronger.

Is health something we find in the future, when we lose 20, 40 or 100 pounds? Or is it today and tomorrow, when we are working on just feeling better, both physically and emotionally? I’m sure each of us knows that if we have a day of good eating and we make good food choices, we feel better. If we do a bit of exercise, whether that be a 20 minute walk or a gym workout, we feel better.

Health is how you feel. Energy. Feeling productive. Having a purpose. Yes, of course it’s having normal blood sugars and a normal blood pressure; but even then, with normal values, are you feeling vibrant, strong, flexible and joyful?

Certainly, nutrition is a big part of making us feel ‘healthier’. Eating the right foods, and avoiding those foods that you just know make you feel physically and mentally worse, is one step. Exercising is an important but all too forgotten component. Moving gives you energy, it improves your mood, strengthens your heart, and creates more muscle, all which will sustain you into older age. Doing some daily exercise feeds your soul.

Sleep is, as everyone knows, also an important part of health. With regular good quality sleep we feel better, cognitively sharper, and are more likely to interact with people in a more positive way. There is so much written about how to try to get proper sleep, but a lot of us avoid those measures that would help (not spending time on smartphones or watching TV late into the evening).

A positive mindset is also an important component of health. Again, listening to podcasts on this or reading a book, to help eliminate those negative thoughts, can boost our energy and make it easier to make healthier decisions throughout the day.

The gist of all of this is that I don’t want you, or I, to focus on just “food”. It’s important, but don’t let go of all of the other aspects of daily living that are as important for health. Remember to try and find balance.

Truthfully, if people are stressed, and not getting enough exercise, not getting regular sleep, or thinking negative thoughts, weight loss is difficult. If the ‘wheel’ of health is off, then it’s difficult to make those all important decisions on the proper foods to eat.

So, determine your health, not by the scale or a blood test, but how you feel; your energy, your sleep, your exercise, the quality of food that you eat; put all of these together daily, and you will reach not only the weight you are searching for, but the vitality we all want, on a daily basis.

Dr. B www.drbishop.ca