The main goal of the Gain Great Health site is to assist you in taking back control of your health. So, what is health and what exactly needs to be re-claimed? According to the World Health Organization, health is not merely the absence of disease or infirmary, but also entails a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. Keeping this definition in mind, health lies on a continuum between poor and great. Where you lie on this continuum is dictated by the choices that you make a vast majority of the time (this is where moderation comes in—stay tuned…). I had a delicious slice of sweet potato pie today with lunch and enjoyed every bite of it, but this doesn’t mean I will enjoy it again tomorrow (not again until Thanksgiving!).
In my eyes, health can be defined as the outcome of three inter-related and oftentimes blurred factors: physical, mental, and spiritual. Your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being is consequently influenced by lifestyle characteristics/practices such as physical activity, diet, relationships, sleep, environment, genetics, and devotional practice (i.e., prayer, meditation). Although we are all dealt our own genetic deck of cards (aka your DNA), we have control over the foods we eat, the movements we make, the relationships we have, our relationship with (and views of) a higher being greater than ourselves, and to some extent our environment.
In the process of taking back control of your life, you must evaluate each of these factors and make step-by-step goals in making improvements. As with any process, great health will not come overnight, and in reality is a life-long journey. The first few years of me being a vegetarian and days of eating French fries for lunch personally affirm this fact. Even in the early days of my graduate program in nutrition, I was leading what I would consider a toxic lifestyle. Although I inherently got exercise through my job as a personal trainer and health coach, I was not putting the right things into my system. But after setting small nutrition goals (like increasing my vegetable intake) and getting rid of toxic relationships, I continued on in the process of being a better me. And my journey continues…and so does yours!