Your Wellness Potential
WHO YOU ARE + HOW YOU ARE + YOUR WELLNESS GOALS = YOUR WELLNESS POTENTIAL
Wellness is the state you’re in that reflects your physical health, your emotional health, the quality of your life and your sense of wellbeing. Although there are established yardsticks that measure wellness, blood pressure, body mass index and cholesterol level, for example, wellness also is highly individual.
Family history, how old you are, how you live, what you do and how you do it, all factor in to what it means for you to be well. Wellness at 40 is different than wellness at 60 or 80. It’s different for men than for women.
Don’t confuse cultural obsessions such as extreme thinness with legitimate yardsticks of wellness such as lowering your cholesterol.
Your wellness potential is the sum of your individual characteristics and goals within in the context of established yardsticks.
Your wellness potential is the ability to be the healthiest and best you possible.
Achieving and maintaining your wellness potential today will enable you to feel great and be on the path to healthy aging later on.
I believe that each one of us wants to have an excellent quality of life as we age – feeling good, looking good, enjoying life, enjoying sex…experiencing the full measure of our wellness potential.
It’s not as daunting as it may seem.
Take my mother…
My mother never set out to age well, but she did. She certainly never thought about her wellness potential but she knew what made her feel good and strong, physically and emotionally. She ate well-balanced meals and never skipped dessert. She and my father had a date to go dancing every week. At eighty, she boasted about her sex life…my father’s prowess in bed…and her responsiveness. If I knew then what I know now, I would have said, the more sex, the better, mom. Sex is a sign of a healthy body and will help you stay vital in your later years.
Along with her lifelong romance with my father, my mother’s makeup included her Italian heritage, her ongoing pursuit of her favorite pastimes – cooking and cleaning the house, her willingness to try new things, her common sense approach to aging, her saucy sense of humor, and her bonds with friends and family.
Cooking gave mom great pleasure and enabled her to produce thoughtful, balanced and healthful meals including dessert. Her motto was everything in moderation..
Cleaning was my mother’s exercise regimen…every activity provided an opportunity for movement. She reached and stretched as she dusted and vacuumed, danced around the living room between chores, did deep knee bends while she was drying the dishes and she walked everywhere. Though she never went to an aerobics class and thought gyms were torture chambers, she lived fitness all her years.
Cooking may not be your thing. You may prefer the treadmill to the vacuum cleaner. As long as you have a healthful approach to food and make exercise a part of your daily routine, you’ll be on your way to achieving your wellness potential.
Knowing yourself is an important part of establishing and achieving your wellness potential. It goes hand-in-hand with having realistic expectations. If you are 5 feet, 5 inches tall and have a basically curvy shape, no matter how hard you work, you will not look like Heidi Klum. As you countdown to your wellness potential, plan on becoming the best 5 feet, 5 inches curvy woman you possibly can.
Your family health history, your own health history, and your ongoing habits and patterns all come into play when you think wellness and your wellness potential.
One small step…
When Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon he famously said, One small step for man. One giant leap for mankind. For so many of us, embarking on the journey to wellness may seem as daunting as walking on the moon. Believe me, all it takes is that first small step to get you on your way to achieving your wellness potential.
Some of my favorite small steps are:
- Take a short, daily walk. That first 15 or 20 minute journey is a step towards better stamina. As your energy level improves and you legs get stronger, you can walk longer and faster. Whatever your speed, you’ll be burning calories all the while.
- Overhauling your eating habits in one fell swoop is near impossible. Start slowly and make a few changes at a time. The first week, switch to low fat milk, add one or two new vegetables to your shopping cart and eat an apple instead of that late afternoon, sugar-laden “power” bar. The second week, plan to eat a healthy breakfast every day.
- No matter how busy you are, set aside a few minutes a day for yourself. Stretch. Thumb through a magazine. Close your eyes and breathe.
As you’ll see in Countdown to Wellness, there are simple, realistic strategies that will enable you to achieve your wellness potential.
— Dr. Carm