All too often, we let our weight and pant size determine our perception of what is "healthy." Of course, this mentality is reinforced by our image-obsessed culture that tends to equate certain body types with health and happiness. But as Insider reports, health has absolutely nothing do with appearance.
It cites the World Health Organization, which officially defines health as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." While you should consult your doctor to determine exactly what good health looks like for you, the publication tapped Cindy Geyer, MD, and dietitian Rachael Hartley to learn about the many science-backed signs of health and vitality. Read up on their answers below:
1. You eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full. All too often, "we forget to eat so we're starving and then we eat a ton, or we're eating mindlessly in front of the TV, or we're eating in an emotional context because it's how we're self-soothing," said Geyer. Hartley echoed this sentiment: "A healthy relationship with food is trusting your internal cues, not external ones, to decide what and how much to eat."
2. You're eating a diet rich in whole foods. Loading up on processed foods won't give your body the fuel it needs to truly thrive. "A lot of diets exclude certain foods, [but] when I look at clients' eating patterns I look for a wide array of foods," said Harley. "A diverse diet ensures that you're more likely to get all the vitamins and nutrients you need. This is even more true if that diet is rich in whole, unprocessed foods."
3. You have the energy to do the things you want to do. When questioned about good health, Geyer's mind immediately turned to energy. "It's so non-specific, but having the energy to do the things you want to do is usually a very good sign of good health," she said. "And that energy can be physical energy and emotional energy."
4. You can wake up without an alarm clock. Adequate sleep is one of the foundational building blocks of both mental and physical health. As a rule of thumb, "if you regularly wake up in the morning without an alarm and you feel rested and refreshed, that's a pretty good gauge that you're getting quality sleep," Geyer told the publication.
Head over to Insider for more.