Lately, I find that I am focusing less and less on health. Yet, strangely, I feel healthier than I have in a long time, perhaps healthier than I ever have. Over time we all go through changes in our ways of thinking about food and health, and we are able to look back and see where we were and compare it to where we are now. That’s the place I am at right now. I think I’m experiencing a decent amount of balance.
I used to think a lot about numbers. Calories, grams, micrograms, cups, minutes and hours. I also had big, fancy names on my mind a lot – anthocyanin, flavonoid, erythrocyte, anaerobic, oxidation. I was recently reminded of just how much this was on my mind in the past as I sorted through some old college binders and course notes.
It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. At one time it motivated me and made me feel knowledgeable. It also enabled me (and still does) to help other people. However, over time it also made me feel like health was a bit of a burden, a little too complex for my current interests.
I don’t think I consciously changed. I think my mind did it out of a necessity; necessity to remain a healthy person, and therefore, began seeking other avenues to maintain and celebrate health.
As a result I think more about being well, contentment, laughter, smiling, energy, enjoying the scenery, accomplishing goals (not associated with numbers), tasting good food, and being energized to wake up each morning and face the day. By doing this I’ve found that health is a by-product, not the main focus.
I eat the foods I eat because they taste good, and I feel better because of them. I run because I want to check out what the basset hound a few streets over is up to and see the cows grazing in the fields. I cook and write because it relieves my stress, I read because it fills me with knowledge.
Because of all this, I believe I am healthy and well.
My focus has changed. I don’t do things necessarily because I deem them healthy, I do them because I enjoy them and I know they are right for me. I feel I’m no longer seeking a means to an end, or a final goal of ultimate health, I’m simply living and enjoying.
I do have to admit that numbers haven’t completely left my life. There is a number on the scale that has my attention and when I sit down to a big salad I may think about the number of cups of veggies I’m eating. I have pace goals associated with my running. When I see a colored vegetable I often think of the nutrient in it and how that influences health. I also do a few things I don’t enjoy from time to time, like eat the broccoli I make for my husband because I know it is good for me.
However, these numbers don’t overpower my lifestyle. They aren’t the driving force anymore and as a result, I have to admit I am a much more relaxed person.
Health shouldn’t stress us out.
Do you focus on health or are you healthy because of your focus?