“Wellness- What is it and How Can We Attain It?” By Maria Khaled, RD, LD

Wellness- What is it and How Can We Attain It

Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices towards a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness- it is a dynamic process of change and growth. “It is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease”- The World Health Organization. It is a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential.” The National Wellness Institute.

Does wellness matter? Yes, it does. When a person takes care of their well-being- physically, as well as mentally emotionally, it affects all areas of their lives. In order to come into alignment with our most authentic selves, we need to be balanced- physically, mentally, and emotionally. Weight loss is a good way to do this in our physical bodies. It gives us a platform to feel healthier, more energetic, and physically more attractive. Once we align ourselves physically, we can slowly move into aligning ourselves mentally, emotionally and spiritually. In this article, I will focus on the physical aspects of wellness.

Physical health refers to maintaining a healthy body and seeking proper care when necessary. It is attained through exercise, eating well, getting adequate sleep and paying attention to your body’s signals. Since your body cannot talk to you, it is imperative that we pay attention to the physical signals it gives us. Nobody knows your body better than you. If something does not feel right, it is imperative that we seek the medical care necessary. This is the only way we can ascertain what could be going on and how we can overcome it. Paying attention to our physical bodies is crucial in developing proper care for ourselves.

Carrying extra weight can put us at risk for several illnesses- obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, coronary artery disease, and arthritis, among others. If the weight is carried in the midsection, rather than the hips, thighs, buttocks, a person is at increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions. It is a sign that you may be carrying too much visceral fat. This is where energy balance comes into play.

Unless a person has a very high metabolism- a positive energy balance- or consuming more calories than you burn- will cause a person to gain weight. Yes, you can kind of look at it like somewhat of a mathematical equation. Excluding genetic conditions and illnesses (i.e. hypothyroidism), the balance of calories, as well as other macronutrients, factor into the weight gain equation. The excess calories we take in and not burned off throughout the day, will be stored as fat. If we consume less calories then we burn, we will lose weight. If there is just enough calories consumed as what is being expended throughout the day, there will be no change in weight. This is the overall idea.

It is vitally important to understand this and work towards optimal health and physical wellness. Reducing one’s intake of pretzels, potato chips, crackers, white rice, pastas and other refined grains can help avoid this problem. Eliminating adding sugars, soda, sweetened coffees and beverages, cookies, cakes, candies and drinking a lot of water throughout the day are great steps to slowly overcoming this problem. Drinking too much alcohol is advised against as well to secure optimal health and physical wellness. With proper guidance, education, meal planning and coaching, physical well-being is achievable and you can reach your goals!

If you enjoyed this article, you may like: Shcs.ucdavis.edu/wellness/what-is-wellness

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