As the famous saying goes, Health is Wealth, and for centuries, human beings have recognized health as being an essential ingredient for happiness and success.
Yet, what does health mean? The definitions of health and healthy, have changed over the past decades and cultural mores have shaped and evolved what people consider to be healthy. Today, we might say health means not only the absence of disease but much, much more, and includes mental health as well, aiming towards a holistic wellness.
But when I was growing up in India as a skinny young girl, the notion of healthy meant being slightly plump—it meant you had the resources and means to eat well and look “healthy,” I often received unsolicited advice on how to get “fat.” Eat more eggs, more ghee, more sugar and milk, more frequent meals, and try becoming a non vegetarian.” My mother often got recipes from well meaning aunties and neighbors who knew I was growing up vegetarian. “Try giving her raw eggs mixed with milk first thing in the morning.” Well we tried that, and it was vile! It resulted in me waking up with a dread each morning for two weeks, and then, thankfully, my parents and I had the sense to understand that this was ridiculous and unnecessary. I ignored these comments for the most part and had the fortitude to withstand the subtle body-shaming and self-consciousness of being skinny.
Looking back, I am glad I didn’t succumb to the pressure to eat more than I wanted and change my diet into one that was filled with sugar, fat and cholesterol, and that my skinny body allowed me to be active and fit.
The definitions of health and fitness are very much culturally driven and very personal to each individual.
For me, leading a healthy lifestyle means eating a healthy and sustainable diet, working hard and working out every day to work off stresses, being active and fit for activity, being stress and anxiety free, being happy and grateful for what I have, enjoying food, family, music, and fun, and giving back to the community.
That’s why at SEEMA, we focus on wellness in a fulsome way, covering wellness of body, mind, soul and spirit.