What is health? Answering the question by changing the narrative

nude male turning

What does it mean to be healthy?  Ever considered this?  Not what it means to your doctor, significant other, or parameters set forth for a heart rate or BP.  No, what does healthy mean to you?  The answers, if you ask enough people, can be as numerous as the stars in the sky.

But I’m not asking them.  I’m asking you.  What is health?  Does it have a poster child?

We are now firmly planted in land of New Year, New You resolutions.  Perhaps you joined a gym.  Or returned to one.  Maybe you resolved to try something new in the fitness department.  Or, nutrition is topping your list this year. There can be little dispute if any of these are uppermost in your mindset.

And yet, if you don’t have a clear picture of what that “healthy lifestyle” looks like to you, how can you attain it?

Since I’ve asked this question, I’ll be the first to answer.

For me, health and the issues of life are not the sole property of the body.  Life, or consciousness governs the body, the body doesn’t govern life.  Think about that for a moment.  I know I had to, and for more than a moment.

If you tell your hand to wave, does it not respond?  Or if your thoughts drift in the middle of the workday, are you not the one to bring them back to the task at hand?  What does that?  The obvious answer would be your brain.  Right?  Sure, but what directs your brain to do this?  Your consciousness.  Therefore what you take into it, is what you will get out.

If you allow yourself to be blotting paper for every new fad, angle, exercise routine, vitamin trend, etc. what will you get?  If you haven’t established within yourself, a clear picture of what YOUR HEALTH looks like, what will you get? Now that’s a question worth answering!

The New Year should be about a New You.  But shouldn’t that New You be more about gaining insight and understanding, before you embark on a quest that leaves you floundering?

No one will be the beneficiary or the unwitting recipient of undermine but you.  Before this happens, or especially if has happened before with your resolutions, its time to put a picture to it.  And it shouldn’t be one dictated by a size, magazine cover, or exercise trend.  And while healthcare providers may have their idea of what this entails, in the end, they’re not the one doing the work.  They’re not usually sweating alongside of you during that last turn around the track, staring at a plate that looks half empty rather than half full, or to the contrary, putting on a dress that no longer requires the extra firm version of SPANX.  No, as a nurse, I can tell you we look at lab values, parameters for heart rate, respiratory rates, & BP.

However, because of my decision to work at the opposite end of the spectrum (from acute/chronic to now wellness/prevention), I see such delineations differently.  They tell one part of the story–like a prologue.  It’s you who really writes this story, and dictates the epilogue.


All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions? Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

Balancing Act…

dancer pose  This is a re-captioned re-blog of a topic I discussed a few years back. From what I’ve witnessed lately, it bears repeating. 


Nursing affords me a luxury few have.  We see people at their worst, while attempting to put them back to their reasonable best.  I realize that may not sound like a luxury, but it is.  Our assessments for the most part, are not based on BMIs, weight, or clothing size (unless you are talking hospital gowns).  That being said, the medical community is in the midst of a shift–from acute and chronic care, to a model of wellness and prevention.  As you may have guessed, weight can become a mitigating factor.

With all the “embrace your curves” and “you’re fine the way you are” movements, I wonder.  Have we strayed just a little too far?

Few women I know are a size 2, 4, 6, 8, or even 10.  They range from size 12 on up.  As far as wellness goes, that’s a discussion they need to have with their healthcare practitioner.  Appearances do not tell the whole story.  But yet again..I do wonder.


From my experience, I’ve noticed something interesting about body image.  Body image divides along color lines.  Let me explain.

Arriving a little early for a picnic at my cousin’s house, she cornered me with another cousin in her kitchen.  “Are you done yet?”  She asked me.  “Done?”  I asked.  Was I a pork roast awaiting the timer to eat?  She went on.  “Are you done losing weight? You outta be.”

Now mind you, I’m not a stick girl.  True enough, I’m not about the bass–I’m more of a treble girl myself.  I have leaned out a little since she last saw me–from about a size 8 to a size 4.  But still the question “are we done yet?” struck me.  Now the flip side.

A friend of mine whom I’ve help coach through a weight loss, never tires of asking “did you get to the trail, did you get out there today?” “You do look great.”  I appreciate the latter more.  And while I don’t believe he means anything by the former, it reminds me of something I’ve suspected for a while.  Body image and body beauty is drawn along the color line.

So what’s the takeaway?

I can’t get completely on board with the “you don’t need to change,” and embrace your curves” momentum picking up speed.  Change for better or worse, is the only constant.  True enough, you can’t be blotting paper for what society sets as a standard for beauty.  You’d have an easier time learning a new language and getting a master’s degree at the same time.  Both of which are far more useful and worthwhile.

However liberty without license is what comes to mind when I hear these catch phrases.  Just as I knew pregnancy didn’t give me the green light to eat everything in sight, I don’t understand how curves became the underground synonym for fat.  From what I’ve seen in many cases, that’s exactly what’s happened.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions? Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com