The other day I was reviewing a ton of patient charts. All new patients are required to fill out a health questionnaire — just a few general questions about the current status of their overall health. Below are a few of the general questions that every person is asked to fill out:
Past surgeries or hospitalizations?
What does your diet look like?
Rate your overall health:
It blows my mind when a middle-aged male is on Lipitor for high cholesterol and Celexa for depression, participates in low-level activity and rates his overall health as excellent. Buddy, you are not healthy! Or, when a woman is on birth control to control her cycle, Lexapro for anxiety and rates her activity level as intense, all while eating a complete vegan diet and rates her overall health as excellent. Sweetheart, you are far from healthy!
When an individual measures his/her health success according to the numbers on the scale and other pure vanity reasons as opposed to a complete blood panel, hydrostatic body fat testing or the ability to perform functional tasks adequately, then they are setting themselves up for failure before they even step foot out the door at 8 a.m. Monday.
How can we manage something like our health when we don’t even understand it?
When I cleaned up my diet, got off medication and incorporated true functional fitness into my training, it was like a light went off in my head. The fog had been lifted. I begin to optimally live my life.
Looking back now, I would say that I was living at maybe 60 percent of my max potential. Yes, it was a bit of a disappointment to me that I had wasted so many years eating according the standard American nutritional guidelines, but it also gave me an experience that I know I don’t ever want to return to.
Today, I rate my health according to my blood panels and performance abilities. I’m more in tune with my body now than I ever was before. I haven’t had a scale or full-length mirror (or even a TV) in my home for years. I do not choose the scale to be a marker of my health, nor do I choose the way the rest of society views health to be a marker for me. We are all unique and must determine what our own health markers are in order to determine if we are living our lives optimally.