You Can’t Hate Yourself Healthy: What Healthy Really Means

Health is not dieting your way to an “ideal” weight or punishing yourself with exercise because you just really wanted that slice of cake. Health is not scanning every room to rank yourself on the “who’s in the best shape” list or avoiding going out with friends because you worry about what they’ll think of the meal you order at the restaurant. Health is not obsessing over every calorie you eat or talking yourself out of going to the gym because you might not be as strong as the person grunting out squats next to you.


What does it mean to be healthy?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Some sources point out that WHO’s absolute use of the word ‘complete’ would result in categorization of most people as ‘unhealthy.’ Still, the point remains that optimization of well-being in each aspect – physical, mental, and social – is the means to reach greater overall health.

Health (and, alternatively, adverse health risk) can be measured using a myriad of factors including, but certainly not limited to, alcohol use, cholesterol, hypertension, nutritional status, BMI, physical activity, air and water quality, health care access, and quality of life. No single measurement is the deciding factor of whether or not a person is healthy, but rather, the bigger picture created by the collection of indicators is what matters.


Healthy is the loving act of taking care of yourself – giving yourself what you need to be okay physically, mentally, and socially. The trick is finding the balance between choosing nutritious foods and not making yourself crazy over calories, between doing exercise you enjoy and not beating yourself up if you miss a day. There is so much more to being healthy than how you compare to someone else, or even how you used to be. Health is about you in your life right now.

You don’t have to be perfect to be healthy. It would probably be harmful to your mental health if you tried to be perfect. What you can do is recognize that attention to your total well-being is how to reach a state of health and do your best to nurture yourself physically, mentally, and socially.

How do you take care of yourself and love yourself healthy?



World Health Organization. Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the International Health Conference, New York, 19-22 June, 1946; signed on 22 July 1946 by the representatives of 61 States (Official Records of the World Health Organization, no. 2, p. 100) and entered into force on 7 April 1948.

National Center for Health Statistics. Health Indicators Warehouse. Accessed February 2015.

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Healthy People. Accessed February 2015.