What Does It Mean To Be Healthy?

2 March 2023

Ryan Pinto

My Muscle Chef Advanced Sports Dietitian

We all talk about being healthy and try to be the healthiest versions of ourselves. However, what does health actually mean? How to measure health depends on a number of different factors..

First of all, being healthy is not a one-size-fits-all, from the gym goers to busy mums, we all define health in different ways. However what remains is a balance between diet, exercise and wellness to guide sustainable health and well being.

There are some fundamental areas of your health that you can prioritise to not only feel your best but also achieve your health goals. Here, we share what health looks like to equip you with the best knowledge to become the healthiest version of you.

Nourishing your body through nutrition

Good nutrition is the foundation of health and can have a lasting impact on your overall health and wellness. The benefits of nourishing your body through the right nutrition is endless from maintaining a healthy weight or reaching your weight loss goals, to reaching your fitness goals through supporting muscle growth and repair and also preventing lifestyle diseases.

It’s important to know that healthy eating does not mean being on a strict diet and not enjoying a weekend dinner with family and friends. What it does mean, is eating a variety of foods from different food groups including lean proteins, wholegrains and fresh fruit and vegetables, to meet your macronutrient and micronutrient targets each day, and ultimately to ensure you have enough energy for your day-to-day tasks, exercise and to reach your health goals.

My Muscle Chef beef and chicken meals on a table with a protein shake

Not being about the numbers on the scales

If you’re working out and eating right, seeing the number on the scales rise can be demotivating and leave you feeling deflated. But did you know that weighing yourself on a scale doesn’t always reveal whether or not you have lost fat? So, how do we measure health if its not through the scales?

With an ongoing diet and exercise routine, you will see changes in how your body measures up. That is, you will be seeing your weight loss as fat, as your body burns more energy and muscle becomes leaner. As your body becomes slimmer and tighter, your weight may actually stay the same or increase as you see an increase in muscle mass (and muscle is more dense than fat!)

So that means when it comes to weight loss, a number on the scales does not always define good health or even your goals being reached. As your body composition changes, taking body measurements can be a great motivator and also is another way to measure your progress.

How to take body measurements for weight loss:

  • Chest (Males) - Measure under your breasts, as high up as possible.

  • Bust (Females) - Standing, measure from directly above your nipple, all the way around your bust and back.

  • Hip - Measure around the widest part of your hip bones.

My Muscle Chef how to measure your body female
My Muscle Chef how to measure your body male

There are a number of ways to reflect on your progress which include how you feel, improved mobility and ability to complete tasks, how your clothes fit or how you look!Just remember, it’s not all about numbers!

Making time for regular exercise

Being physically active is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle. For some, being physically active will mean spending hours sweating it out in the gym, and for others it may mean taking a walk or run after work or starting their day at the pool in the mornings.

How often should you exercise to lose weight? This entirely depends on what your goals are and your schedule. Even if you don’t have the time to schedule a workout, every bit of movement counts. Incidental exercise, like taking the stairs instead of the lift or parking the car an extra block away and walking to work, can help you to meet your movement goals even when you don’t have workouts scheduled.

Whether you’re a gym goer or not, maintaining physical fitness allows us to decrease risk of disease, improve muscular strength, flexibility, and body composition. Exercise can also help improve your sleep, enhance your mood, and decrease feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress.

The benefits go on, so get up and get moving!

Getting enough rest

The average adult needs between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Unfortunately not enough of us get enough sleep, but instead of making time to rest, many of us power on through (with the help of a cup of coffee, or a few).

We often don’t stop and think whether not getting enough sleep could be having a negative effect on long-term health and may also impact your short-term goals.

Does sleeping help weight loss? Many studies have found that people who are sleep deprived report having an increased appetite and a higher daily calorie intake including eating more high sugar foods. That’s due to the body making more ghrelin and less leptin (in short, hormones that control our hunger levels), leaving you hungry and increasing your appetite.

There are a number of benefits that you get from resting more (who would have thought!). It’s during sleep that our body repairs and builds muscle, boosts our immune system, sorts though information and can help improve emotional and mental well-being.

Feeling good about yourself

Being healthy means more than just looking after your physical body — a healthy mindset is also key to your wellbeing. A healthy mindset encompasses the ability to have a positive attitude and bounce back from setbacks.

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