Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What "healthy" means to me

Like a lot of other weight-loss bloggers, I talk about "healthy" a lot. I don't think that I reflect very often on what being healthy really means to me. Sometimes I'm using it as a synonym for "fit," or even "thin." Other times, I'm using it as a bit of a cop-out, as in "I may be a little heavier than I should be, but I'm healthy."

I'm not feeling too healthy right now, and I haven't since Thursday night. I was so tired when I was teaching my class that I felt a little confused and disoriented. I was really scared, to be honest. Dr. Google did not help: I was convinced I had early-onset dementia, or seizures, or some weird form of narcolepsy, or, to quote my husband, I was going to "end up in the cookie house." That sounded delicious, but I was also worried that I might be losing my mind. It was a bit of a relief to wake up with cold symptoms and realize that my extreme exhaustion was probably just the start of a nasty bug.  My other symptoms: Stuffy head, congestion, fatigue, plugged ears, dizziness. I called the doctor on Friday and she had the nurse call back with, "Rest, fluids, and take medications for your symptoms." I called back today since I was still feeling lousy, and saw the doctor in person and she said, "Rest, fluids, and take medications for your symptoms. Seriously, take it easy."  Because I teach, I can't really miss class. I am going to have a fun night tomorrow.

Here are the kind of things I take for granted on a normal day that I cannot currently do:

  • Breathe deeply and completely through my nose without starting to cough
  • Carry laundry up the stairs without feeling exhausted
  • Exercise (carrying laundry up the stairs is exercise to me right now)
  • Work for more than a few hours at a time
  • Wear my contact lenses for more than a few hours
I'm not writing this post to whine, honestly. I have gotten used to a having a pretty amazing lung capacity from all my swimming and Spin classes.  I have very good endurance, normally, and rarely run into physical limits in my daily life.  

It hit me that there are a lot of people who, for one reason or another, cannot take a generally healthy body for granted.  For most of human history, being sick was probably something most people had to deal with a lot, and, before the advent of antibiotics and other modern medicines, many people died from diseases we barely think about now.  My grandmother, for example, had two children who died before their second birthday from pneumonia.  We take for granted now that the vast majority of children will live to see adulthood, and that most of our friends and family will enjoy 80+ years of healthy life.

I really have been taking my health for granted in my quest for "health" (a.k.a. fitness/thinness/etc.).  I am hoping that I am back to taking it for granted again soon.


1 comment:

  1. I've had the very same thoughts about what it means to be healthy. I awoke this morning with a sore throat and I've been exhausted and achy all day. I hope it's not what you've got...and I hope that you're feeling better soon!

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"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07