If you are not sick, you are healthy, right?
Health is a state that requires active maintenance. It is not something you achieve and get to keep forever without additional work, even if you are at a healthy weight and not currently faced with any health challenges. When you treat health as a destination, you are in danger of yo-yoing. You put in the effort to reach your goal, but then you drift back into unhealth because you are not continuing your healthy lifestyle indefinitely.
Non-sickness is like purgatory—simply surviving, as opposed to a healthy state of thriving. It is caused by eating an excess quantity of nutritionally barren food, which overworks the pancreas and facilitates your body’s storage of fat. Non-sickness is a state in which your muscles become weak and flabby, a state of not enough sleep and way too much stress. It’s a state that leads you to progressively depend on medications to relieve your symptoms—symptoms that are merely your body’s way of telling you that you are not healthy.
To put it another way, maintaining your health is like maintaining a car. If you lock the newest, nicest car in a garage for 40 years, it will not run like a new car if you suddenly take it out for a drive. The engine may have rusted. That battery will likely be dead. The oil probably needs changed. The rubber on the tires may be old and rotting. The dust and dirt may have damaged the paint.
Keeping a car running at peak performance requires diligent maintenance. You take it in regularly to be serviced. You change the tires. You wash and wax the exterior. A classic car may not have the glitz and glamor of the models coming off the production line, but the engine can still roar, and the body can still look great if it has been properly cared for.
Your health is similar. You have to first decide that your health is a priority and then organize your daily choices to support a new healthy lifestyle to truly maintain optimal health.
Being non-sick often leads to life-threatening illness over time, just like driving a car without ever taking it to a mechanic for an oil change will eventually lead to serious engine failure. This state on the road to obesity is what I call pre-obesity—a more apt description of the corresponding negative health effects than the innocuous-sounding overweight.
In a state of non-sickness, time is against you. It may go unnoticed until one day you are so fatigued that you finally go to your doctor and find out you have diabetes. Your health path has led you from non-sick to sick. The bad news is that close to 90 percent of us fall into this non-sick category. The good news is that the non-sick can usually reach optimal health in a relatively short amount of time.
This is one of the many reasons that I talk about more than weight with my clients. Not everyone that needs optimal health has to lose weight. Your goal should not be to achieve non-sickness but to achieve vibrant, thriving health. There is a difference.