What does good health mean to you? Is it as simple as the ‘absence of disease’? Does your mental wellness feature? Do you associate your health with a number (glucose, blood pressure, BMI)?
For us mere mortals, negotiating the world of ‘health’ is tricky. There’s easily accessible advice on everything, from sleep to water consumption to the types of exercise you should (and shouldn’t) be doing to how much chocolate is too much chocolate to… well, everything! The route to health quickly becomes a minefield of moral dilemmas and seemingly endless ‘eat these foods to lose your belly-fat’ adverts.
I prefer to take a more stepwise and pragmatic approach.
For instance, I have an increased genetic risk of developing diabetes. No one seems to know whether or not diabetes is inevitable for me, which is reassuring, but I do have other risk factors, such as my waist measurement and a tendency to be at the top-end of a ‘healthy’ BMI. These factors, combined with a breath-taking fear of needles, mean that I do what I can to avoid having to do multiple glucose tests each day. I keep physically fit, eat plenty of veg and fruit (I try to stay that way round!) and avoid having too many high-calorie/low-nutrient snacks.
I don’t have food ‘rules’ and don’t associate foods with morality. If I eat crisps (I love crisps), then all that’s happened is I’ve eaten some crisps; I am not bad, I have not had a bad day, I am not now having a day whereby eating more crisps is ok because I’ve already ‘fallen off the wagon’. It’s just a day where I’ve eaten crisps. I probably don’t even need to do more exercise to work them off, I probably haven’t increased my diabetes risk too much and probably feel quite good.
I suppose my point is that using any one measure of health is too simple and trying to do everything is too hard. If you’re after a healthier way of living, why not try to do one thing differently and see how you get on?