Thursday, February 19, 2015

Who's Healthier?

I am a dietitian and this is my diary.  The diary of finding a healthy balance within my mind, body, and spirit. 

I believe the mind, body, and spirit are all connected.

My definition of health is when a person has the ability to find a way to balance all three into a homeostatic state. 

Homeostasis, the scientific term used for balance in the body is one of my favorite terms. 

The mind, body, and spirit can be easily thrown off balance on a daily basis. 

To explain, I will first provide an introduction of *Ann.  Ann is a wife and a nurse.  Ann is 25 years old, 5'3" and weighs 200 pounds.  Ann is one of the friendliest people you will ever meet, a true "people-person."  She is a very dedicated wife and friend.  She has a work ethic that is looked up to by many and treats every patient like family.  Ann has an extremely full plate of responsibilities on a daily basis between her home life and work life.  Ann chooses to find comfort through eating high-fat, high-calorie foods in excess to cope with the stress of her daily responsibilities.

Next, I will provide an introduction of *Trisha.  Trisha is 40 years old,  5'7" and weighs 135 pounds.  Trisha is a retail manager and treats customers like friends.  She is extremely dedicated to her career.  Trisha is recently divorced and a single mother of a 5 year old girl.  Trisha has generalized anxiety disorder, she doesn't sleep well, and she takes two caffeine pills to stay awake every day.

And lastly, I will provide an introduction of *Bill.  Bill is 54 years old, 6'2" with a muscular figure and weighs 200 pounds.  Bill is a true family man with a wife and two children.  He is a middle school teacher and volunteers at a local hospital three nights per week.  He is well known in the community.  If you ever wanted someone to have in your life in a time of true need, Bill is your man.  Bill doesn't get enough time for himself because he over-extends his time and energy for others.  Bill drinks about four beers every night because he is wore-out and alcohol brings him a sense of pleasure.

Question:  Which person is "healthy?"

According to the medical field and scientific research, Ann's excessive food intake is putting her at health risk given her calculated BMI (Body Mass Index) of 35.42. 

Trisha consumes nearly double the recommended daily moderate dose of caffeine. 

Bill drinks twice the recommended amount of alcoholic beverages on a daily basis.

With that said, Ann is very confident in her appearance and appreciates her body for its curves.  She enjoys food and has no intention of decreasing her food intake because food brings her happiness.

Trisha thinks of caffeine pills as being no different than the caffeine content in coffee.  Trisha would not be able to think clearly and function without caffeine.

Bill believes his larger body frame allows him to tolerate more alcoholic drinks than what is professionally recommended.  Bill has become dependent on alcohol for years and believes he would be able to cut alcohol out of his daily intake if he ever wanted to. 

All three individuals have an addiction whether it is to food, caffeine, or alcohol.

Whether it is alcohol, drugs, sex, food, work, television, or even shopping, many of us take part in these activities because they are enjoyable.

However, when activities such as those listed above start to become addictive, there is only short-term relief or pleasure from the continuous level of stress/unease, discontent/unhappiness, boredom, or nervousness that is being experienced.

My definition of health is when a person has the ability to find a way to balance the mind, body and spirit to a homeostatic state. 

As human beings, we all have the ability to achieve internal balance physically, mentally, and spiritually. 

The largest challenge to homeostatic achievement is finding the right combination to open the channels that start the balancing process. 

After you find the combination required to experience balance internally, more balance will be experienced in the external environment as a result. 

In other words, when the homeostatic state is achieved, there is a sense of stillness and peace.  The need to resort to external stimulus is non-existent because there is a sense of internal fulfillment.  Because of the sense of internal fulfillment, external life situations can be dealt with more smoothly.

Activities such as consuming alcohol, food, drugs (such as caffeine) can be very enjoyable in moderation, but when they begin to be used as coping mechanisms to get through the day, then the chemistry of the body begins to change and depend on the addictive substances or activities as well.

The body is constantly trying to maintain a homeostatic (balanced) state whether it is fed fruits and vegetables, or super-sized meals.

In addition, our bodies are constantly communicating to us.  Sometimes we listen, sometimes we don't.

But, if we truly use the gift of instinct that was provided to us, then we know the direction that we need to take to feel internally fulfilled mentally, physically, and spiritually without the use of external substances or activities (in excess) such as alcohol, drugs, sex, food, work, television, or even shopping.

After we figure out the combination that will guide us to peace, fulfillment, and balance, the next step is to put the combination into practice.

With continued practice and training, the body, mind, and spirit can be automatically reverted to a balanced state when life situations trigger emotions such as stress/unease, discontent/unhappiness, boredom, or nervousness.

Can you imagine what civilization would be like if we collectively learned how to find balance in our mind, body, and spirit? 

A healthy society.  A healthy planet.  Imagine that. 

“You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.”  
~ Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power Of Now:  A Guide To Spiritual Enlightenment

*Ann, Trisha, and Bill are not real people.