Of course optimal health is achievable, the word is “optimal”! Which ultimately means that you are getting to the best version of your health, as possible, for you and your specific body! The question is; how do we get to our own optimal health levels?
I love writing about this particular topic as health, or lack of, has been a big part of my life, but as I have become older, I have started to truly embrace that I only have a certain amount of time on this earth, and, adding to the fact that I have several kids, I want to be around for a long, long time. That means that; beliefs and behaviors, need to change and this goes for all of us looking to have the highest quality of life possible.
For me, it has been a slow transition from not giving a rat's ass about my health (in terms of how I treated my body when I was younger), to a point where I feel very good about where my health is. Still not optimal, but it's getting there! I am a recovering alcoholic of 16 years, and, if that wasn't enough to bring my level of health down, I have also struggled with weight my entire life (until now). The reason I am giving you this information, is because I want to paint a picture as to how, reaching for optimal health, can better your overall life. When we feel better, we experience life at a much broader sense.
First, let's look at how the experts define optimal health. What does it actually look like? Is it living a certain amount of years? No, not if it is such a low quality! Does it mean that you no longer have a disease? Really? How about being thin? There are thin people out there that are as unhealthy, as can be! So, how do we measure it?
Most people know how they feel. They know if something isn't right or if they really feel good. Problem is, being “sick” is such a common phenomenon in our world that, even though a person may think they are feeling quite well, it usually is nowhere near optimal health. It's almost like, “Well, cancer is gone, wow I feel great!”. But what if you felt better than you could ever imagine? That, is what we want to shoot for in terms of getting to optimal health!
In my experience, what has brought me from; the depths of unhealthiness to, closer than I have ever been to my optimal health levels, are a few things. They are easy, inexpensive (if not free), and repeatable.
Optimal Health Equals Positive Mental Health:
In my estimation, the health of our minds is crucial in order to move down the train tracks to optimal health! When I was in my early 20's, my father passed away from cancer. Yes, he was a smoker for 40 years. When he found out he had lung cancer, 9 years after having a lung removed from the first bout with cancer, he basically threw up his hands and said, “I am done!”. Within a few short months, he was. Unfortunately, my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer many years later. Her attitude was quite different; “I am going to beat this disease!”. My mom was able to live for another two years! It was very difficult to have both parents die from that disease, but the message that I was able to be blessed with was; we set our intentions mentally, and it plays a big part of where we will go physically.
The other part of how our minds affect our health, is our overall state of mind on a day to day basis. We all know that stress is a killer. Depression is a killer. Many struggle with both and a large majority of them die from disease related to these two conditions. On the flip side; peace of mind, happiness, and clarity of thinking, is the mental lifestyle that we all should strive to get to. Personally, exercise and nutrition are what help me find those positive states of mind.
Exercise Builds Optimal Health:
If anything helps my state of mind, along with building a strong and healthy body, is exercise. Being an old college athlete, I learned how to do it right and that exercise would always be an essential part of my course to optimal health. The interesting aspect of my exercise life has been the transition from more of a weight lifter, to a cardio freak, to a full blown yogee! The result has been a strong cardiovascular system, strength, and flexibility. Never thought I would get into Yoga, but if you have never tried it, you need to. It encompasses the mind, spirit, and body!
The other huge effect that exercise has on our path to optimal health is our mental health. Exercise brings blood flow to the muscles, and a clarity to the mind. It also flushes dangerous toxins out of the body so that the body's energy is being focused on advancing the system, not trying to always clean it up. What fuels the body in exercise, is nutrition…
Nutrition Feeds Optimal Health:
If ANYTHING affects our overall state of health, it's what we put into our bodies! The level of nutrition that, we as Americans experience, is absolutely sickening. 80% of our population lives on cardboard (processed food). Bottom line is, a book thicker than the average American's waist line, could be written about this subject. Problem is, the government and food companies are not going to take the lead here on providing healthful food to us, it's all about money, why would they? It comes down to us, taking responsibility for what we put in our mouths.
My philosophy is simple; eat as much whole food as possible and supplement. Whole foods are what they sound like; food that has not been processed (or at least as little human intervention as possible). This means vegetables, fruits, meat, and anything else that comes from Mother Earth.
Supplementation is absolutely essential in moving closer to optimal health. No matter how hard we try, we are never going to get a complete spectrum of the nutrients that our bodies need. But where does a person even start in terms of looking for the right supplements to use. Plus, how does one get quality, without spending the entire grocery budget on them? For me, I use Fuxion Products! They fit both of my requirements; quality and price and am able to supplement; protein, fiber, brain nutrients, energy levels, and many others. Fits nicely into my food budget!
Hopefully this article gave you some strategies on how you look at achieving optimal health levels. My thinking may look quite simple, but it has worked for me. I have went from 290 pounds and 25% body fat, to 235 pounds and 12% body fat. Mentally, I haven't felt this peaceful since I was a little kid. Pain levels are at an all time low. I literally feel like I should, not to say that I am done moving forward!
Our minset should be that we will never get to our own personal optimal health. Is it achievable, yes, but as we age, day to day, year to year, it seems that true optimal health should be something to strive for and always maintain an attitude of getting healthier. That way, we never sink into the thinking of, “I am where I need to be”!