You may have heard (or read in one of my articles) that we need to shift people’s thinking from focusing on trying to achieve “skinny” to being “healthy.”
But what exactly do I mean by this?
What does “healthy” look like?
How can “health” be measured?
Let’s take a closer look at both of these questions!
The Difference in SKINNY and HEALTHY
“Skinny” is a description of someone who appears to have very little fat or appears to be “thin”. So what does healthy LOOK like?
- Having Natural Energy
- Being able to Focus or Pay Attention without Caffeine
- Quality Sleep leaving you feeling Rested and Energetic
- Even Moods with less HIGH highs and LOW lows
- Clear Skin clear from pimples and oil
- Shiny Hair with a non-Flakey scalp
- Strong Fingernails which is also indicative of Strong Bones and Tissues
- Trim Midsection which Reduces the RISK of Heart Disease and Cancer
Ways to Measure Health
So now that we know how to identify health in ourselves from how we look and evaluating our levels of energy and focus, how can we determine definitively, whether or not we’re healthy?
The most definitive ways I know to measure health is through blood tests (which should be covered under most preventative health insurance plans at least once per year) and a hair analysis test (which adds a holistic, alternative, and comprehensive approach).
- Blood Pressure: Normal blood pressure is 120/80. If your blood pressure is higher than this you are considered either pre-hypertensive or hypertensive and this is considered a form of heart disease. ⅓ of the population is diagnosed with high BP and it’s estimated that another ⅓ of the population has high BP and doesn’t know it.
- Blood Sugar: There are 2 ways to blood-test your sugar levels.
- Fasted – in which blood sugar level should be between 70 and 130 mg/dL
- Non-Fasted – in which blood sugar level should be less than 140 mg/dL after 2 hours from the last time you ate.
- Blood Cholesterol: Cholesterol is consumed in the diet by eating animal products such as meat and eggs. High Cholesterol (200mg/dL) is indicative of plaque in the arteries which can lead to heart attacks and stroke. Cholesterol is also known as LDL (low density lipoprotein) which is the BAD cholesterol. HDL or high density lipoprotein is the GOOD cholesterol and is a sign of good health if your HDL is above 60.
- Blood Nutrients: A variety of nutrients can be measured in the blood and a standard blood panel will provide healthy ranges to see where your levels fall.
Nutrients Screening With Hair Analysis
The hair analysis test will give you health information that you cannot get from a blood test. It gives you information about vitamins, minerals, and metals present in your body. The hair is like a timeline of your health which is why it’s used in forensic science. Dr. Hull has an affordable hair analysis testing kit that comes with an interpretation of the results. I get a hair analysis from Dr. Hull once a year as part of my health maintenance program.
VO2 Max is a measure of how efficiently your body uses oxygen to provide energy to the body. VO2max is also indicative of heart and cardio respiratory health. VO2max can be estimated using calculations using your time associated with
- How Fast Can You Walk a Mile?
- How Fast Can You Run 1.5 Miles?
1Repetition Max is used to determine max strength of a muscle or group of muscles. This maximum amount of weight can be estimated using equations so that you’re not required to attempt lifting the maximum amount.
Good mental health is associated with positive self-talk, positive thinking, clear thinking and ability to focus. Including mental health exercises such as speaking with a psychologist regularly, practicing yoga, getting regular exercise, and regularly practicing positive self-talk can help strengthen mental health.
Micronutrients are the answer to natural health. Micronutrients are vitamins that occur naturally within whole foods that the body absorbs to provide different functions within the body such as fighting off disease, contributing to bone density, or provide energy and focus. Certain nutrients help with the absorption of other nutrients. The best way for you to get a variety of nutrients is to try to eat the rainbow every day (not with Skittles) with fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grain foods like rice, beans, oats, and quinoa, to name a few.
Smoking increases your cancer risk and cardiovascular disease as it is associated with narrowing of the arteries and plaque build-up. Smoking causes oxidation so it ages your body on a cellular level. This is why smokers often appear older than they are.
Drugs & Alcohol
Prescription and over the counter medications can be used to mask thousands of symptoms from pain to other side effects. If you’re experiencing pain or other issues, it’s wise to try to figure out the root of the problem because drugs can cause other issues over time.
Alcohol can be abused by self-treating pain, stress, depression, and other issues. So if you or someone you know over-indulges in alcohol, this may be indicative of a deeper health problem.
The Ultimate Measure of Health
As you can see, health can be identified through appearance and feeling. It can also be measured in a variety of ways, from measuring presence of blood nutrients, to measuring VO2 (oxygen consumption during cardiovascular exercise) and max muscle strength, to identifying what things you consume contribute to making you feel GOOD compared to what you’re consuming that makes you feel BAD. So the BEST measure of health, is how you FEEL – physically, mentally and emotionally.