I spent years having a hectic relationship with health. In so many ways it can be compared with comprehending love! It's confusing, annoying, frustrating and usually leads to the same question --why can't I get through this?
I thought I was the only one embroiled in this turmoil until I noticed a pattern in people's relationship with health. Initially there is a drive to make it beautiful and long lasting but somewhere along the way, the fire fizzles out, leading you to wonder, how did I ever think I would sustain this? Despite relentlessly trying to make it work, the usual status is either "broken-up" or "it's complicated". That's how my little love story with health also panned out. We were in the "it's complicated" status for a long time.
"[D]eprivation is now synonymous with 'diet', and hence with health! With every diet we start, we say a little prayer, hoping health is less stressful on us this time."
I started out as strong as ever but over time my relationship with health deteriorated and eventually I hit rock bottom with a completely destroyed immune system. Shattered and heart-broken, I blamed the capricious nature of health for everything that had gone wrong. It was while I was left picking up the pieces that I had an epiphany. I realised I had walked into this relationship with pre-conceived notions about health just by going with what I had heard other people say around me. Looking back it was so half-baked -- with a handful of words, limited information, unquestioned assumptions and herd mentality behaviour. That's what I started with to make this relationship work and that's what most people are doing today as well. And that's how health got a "bad" name!
These are words that stand out, and which lead to a skewed perception of health:
We are conditioned to read it as "Do.I.Eat.This.Stuff?" It makes us part ways with most food items with welled-up eyes. If any desires erupt, all it takes is a look at a skinny girl (assuming that's what she does) and continue on the path of deprivation. Hence deprivation is now synonymous with "diet", and hence with health! With every diet we start, we say a little prayer, hoping health is less stressful on us this time.
It's one of the most frequently used words in cafes, restaurants, bars, dining rooms, restrooms, bedrooms and even bathrooms! A sole, daily measurement metric of how "health and I have done today". The notion that being healthy is counting calories is bound to make the relationship exhausting.
We are programmed like robots to walk to the shelf with low-fat items in the grocery store, stock low-fat food in the refrigerator, request for low-fat milk and yogurt in coffee shops so when we just taste full fat, the torture of putting up with health dawns on us.
Weighing scales determine how massive the fight with health will be. In order to maintain the number on the scale, we incorporate a weekly "cheat day" dedicated to our cravings, a restricted item list, "do not touch" food preparations. So basically the survival of the relationship hinges on how well we walk this tightrope!
When I finally chucked these words out, my awareness led me to the root of the issue and I wanted to get back with health so I took responsibility of the "complicated" status and came out honest and clean. Health was actually kind and gentle and gave me complete support to work on my self-created damage -- my immune system! As we walked hand in hand, I discovered who health really is.
Not only do I want to share this but shout out loud from the rooftop so that nobody goes through my journey of misunderstanding, damaging and fixing but rather enjoys this relationship right from the start!
Health is holistic
It cares for our physical and mental well-being and that's why it urges us to look into our relationships, career, state of mind, workout and lifestyle as well. When I nourished these, my relationship with health transformed.
"When we diet we damage, when we eat right we heal. It's as simple as that."
Health is bio-individual
Like every love story, every health relationship is also unique. What works for one might be poison for another, so I stopped listening to others and formed my own unique bond
Health is real
It is beautiful in its natural form so it doesn't need to be processed like an industrial product. If something comes in a bag or a box, I get complete information before believing that's what healthy stands for.
Health is living
Food is nurtured, nourished and grown. It has its own life and energy, which it carries forward. I look into where my food comes from because it will impact my vibes, mood and energy.
Health is healing
When we diet we damage, when we eat right we heal. It's as simple as that. I let food cure me slowly and steadily by consuming the right stuff. That is how I corrected my immunity.
Health is balanced
Just as we need a variety of activities to live an enriched life, we need a variety in our foods that do the same. My plate has protein, carbohydrates, good fats and fibre in the right proportions. This automatically takes care of the calories so I don't count them anymore.
For the last few years, health and I are doing great. We lead a life of happiness, nourishment and togetherness. I discovered my own bond that gave me my inner and outer glow. It taught me that you are what you eat; be it food or thoughts. This is definitely a love affair that's going to last forever. All I would say is find your own love affair with health, give it time, give it space, give it a 100% and along the way don't forget to eat, breathe and smile!
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