I’ve been working on this post off and on for the last few weeks. I’m hoping it becomes one of the more important things I write amongst all of these recipes. More than anything, I hope this resonates with you and it’s something that you can relate to. We can all find a place in the middle to be healthy.
As a healthy food blogger I feel so much pressure to be… well, healthy. Healthy in every way all the time. Specifically, to look healthy. But what does that mean? Society in combination with social media have created a distinct image of what healthy looks like. According to places like Instagram and Hollywood it looks like a size 2, ab selfies in the mirror at the gym, lots of yoga pants and a life of juicing and supplements.
That extreme version of healthy we so often see portrayed can get to me. I’m not a size 2 and I don’t run marathons. I still really like Cadburry Mini Eggs and I personally think juicing is a terrible idea. But I am still healthy. I’m a solid size 8 these days, I work out for an hour about 4 times a week and while I don’t loooove working out, I do it because I know it’s good for me. I like makeup and skincare products that are inherently not natural. Does that mean I’m not a good representative of health, particularly natural health?
Knowing I have the first Whole30 endorsed cookbook coming up, The Good Food Cookbook, will people be evaluating my work based on how I look? Well, crap, because I still like chocolate. For what it’s worth, I am certain that Melissa does not believe an image of health is based on size or appearance either, hence the focus on non-scale victories in the Whole30 rather than weight loss. In fact, that is what I love so much about Whole30; it’s not focused on measurements, counting calories and sizes. The focus is on health and our relationship with food, not weight loss.
Here’s the deal, I’m human though and I too have insecurities. I see the images purporting to represent health and for as healthy as I am, I am still not that. It can be really freaking intimidating. I don’t have a six pack and working out at the gym in a sports bra isn’t going to happen. (And did I mention I still really like Cadbury Mini Eggs? Sorry, it’s that time of the year!) But if I, as someone who eats quite clean the majority of the time and works out moderately on a regular basis, can still feel that I fall short of this image of health how must others feel? How can we continue to strive for health if these are the predominant images we are seeing and equating to healthy? What happens when we don’t achieve that perfection? Does that mean we failed at “healthy”, that healthy is not for us?
No. The answer in no. Healthy is for everyone and it’s not limited to a size, shape or an extreme version of healthy. There is a healthy in the middle. Healthy is not defined in perfection.
Being healthy doesn’t always come easy for me. As I mentioned, I work out because I know it’s good for my body not because I love it. I do love pizza but I choose not to eat it every day because I know it doesn’t serve my body. Being healthy for me is a series of conscious choices I make every day to take care of my body. As time goes on it gets easier and easier to make the good choices because I feel good doing so but it’s not effortless for me.
These days much of my diet is comprised predominantly of whole foods as the meals I eat here at home are mostly Whole30 compliant or paleo. But my life is not a perfect image of healthy everything. But I am healthy. I feel good and and I feel strong and I make many healthy decisions day to day.
I want to tell you this didn’t come overnight and it isn’t always effortless for me. It’s through the practice of making good choices time and time again that it has become easier. Sometimes it can seem online that it’s so damn easy for all of us health freaks out there. Everyone loooooves their green juices and planks right? No, not everyone. It’s an effort. So if it doesn’t come easy for you, don’t worry it doesn’t mean that this isn’t for you.
As a woman in a deeply image conscious society, I feel confident saying I speak for many of us when I say we need to turn the conversation of health away from appearances. We deeply need to focus on our wellness and not our sizes as indicators of health as hard as that is. I don’t want to feel that I need to be a smaller size or look a certain way to be a strong voice in the world of health and wellness. Perhaps this post is a way for me to release that pressure into the universe and move forward with a stronger voice.
Let me make this clear, this post is not to take away from other’s healthy efforts, results from time spent in the gym and diets, truly. I simply want people to accept other versions of healthy outside of this. The longer we focus on the “perfect” images of health and not the true state of feeling healthy we will continue to keep people away from a healthy lifestyle as we drown in our struggles to achieve perfection.
This post is from me to you saying it’s ok to be in the middle and be healthy. You don’t need to look a certain way or a be certain size to claim your health. You don’t need to be perfect in your journey towards a healthier you. It’s time to expand what healthy looks like.