Why Good Nutrition & Training Won’t Make You Healthy

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We hear that word all the time.

Improve your health by… [doing “X”/not doing “Y”]

Consider the term “health & fitness”. There is often the simplistic black and white view that we take care of the fitness portion by moving more and the health portion by “eating healthy” (whatever that means).

  • But health is not solely about nutrition and exercise.
  • It’s not the absence of illness.
  • It’s not how we look or how we move.
  • It’s not even hitting perfect numbers on all the endless biomarkers we can use to assess health (cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose, CRP, etc.)

And it’s not even a combination of all those things.

So what is it?

The Constitution of the World Health Organization in 1948 defined health “as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.”

Let me give you my definition:

Health is the sum of 3 requirements:

  1. your physical reality
  2. your perception of the fullness of your life
  3. your capacity to be resilient to all the internal and external factors that can negatively impact requirements number 1 & 2

I represent this using this diagram…

© Danny Lennon, Sigma Nutrition

In yesterday’s podcast with Sarah Doyle (SNR episode 7: Finding happiness, letting go & building a better life), I got Sarah’s take on many of the non-“Physical Reality” traits of health; passion for what you do, quality of relationships, self-compassion, resilience to setbacks, self-doubt and a whole ton more.

The whole purpose of that show was to highlight that while nutrition, body composition and activity are all important aspects of health, they are only a subset of it. They are not the only things that make you healthy. (BTW: That episode is HUGE. Seriously, get on that if you feel like you need something in your life to change).

You can eat perfectly and be an animal in the gym but still be unhealthy. Bear that in mind. Similarly, you can attempt to address all the non-physical traits you want, but if you eat like crap all the time and never get off the couch, you won’t be healthy either. You need to look at ALL aspects of health.

So, are you truly healthy?

We will never get to 100% perfect. That’s just the nature of the world we live in.  But the more we strive to improve in each of the areas listed above, the more we’ll enjoy this journey.

[I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. What is health to YOU?

And for any of you who have managed to catch the podcast, I’d love to hear your feedback on that episode. What was your biggest take away? Mine was definitely Sarah’s take on “letting go” of things: “Letting go is a by-product of remaining open to something else!. Amazing, right?

Oh, and a quick review on iTunes it always welcome! 🙂 Find it here: Sigma Nutrition Radio on iTunes]

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