Total Health: What Does It Mean to You?

Total health is a concept that is tough to define, meaningful words with a heavy definition. For some people, the achievement of well-being is learning how to recover from a less-than-favorable health detour, to make a decision to live more healthfully. Other people seek a slimmer waistline, better eating habits or a less-stressed state of mind.

One thing is for sure, however: No matter our different definitions of total health, we are all traveling down a similar path—one that leads us to a better (healthier) version of our current selves.

My life has always been heavily influenced by nutrition, fitness and what my mom always told us was “positive thinking!” I was the only kid in fourth grade with a toasted wheat bread sandwich stuffed with shredded carrots and alfalfa sprouts. I was also the only 16-year-old in my school who had her Pilates certification.

So, the life of living à la healthy had its perks. I learned at an early age what health meant to my quality of life, and held steadfast to those very principles that came hand-in-hand with hummus and five-mile running “adventures.”

As an adult I have, however, learned to tailor those ideas—those healthy living rules—to mean something to me. I would, after all, be remiss if I were simply to continue living under the notion that everyone defined total health in the same manner I did (or, in my case, the same way my parents did when I was young).

Because, the truth is, your interpretation of those words—total health—is really what is important. Because, without your personal definition, the accomplishment of such a matter would mean nothing to you. You would feel like you have to work out because somebody somewhere said it was a good idea. Chomping on lettuce would seem like a fine addition to a meal because they (whoever they are) said it was healthy. This will only work temporarily. It is not until an individual decides what total health means to him (and why it is important) that he will be able to start down that path.

While this might be easier for some of us than others (not everyone has access to the right information or the means to meet the need), it is important to keep in mind this one thing: You are working toward a better you—each day, every day.

I am not always perfect with exercising (sometimes chocolate cake is more appealing) and I don’t always have the loot to buy organic (thanks a lot, checkbook), but I know for sure that I wake up every day with the intention to live that day as healthfully as possible. And that’s all we can really ask for. Sure, a cozy couch and bowl of double-fudge brownie ice cream can sometimes have their way with my intentions and me. But, surely, that deterrence can be met with a trough-sized salad for dinner or an extra-long walk the next day. The point is to continue down the path, despite the many side trips we often experience along the way.

And, alas, we come to my purpose, the plan for this blog. I hope to share with you the ideas and inspirations that help to shape my everyday total health goals (dreams, aspirations, etc.). I do not want you to take everything I say to heart—I know you won’t anyway. Instead, make it your own, shape the information as you wish to see it fit your total health goals. This is a take it or leave it (or get creative) situation here, people.

All I ask is that you join me down this path... wherever it may lead for you.

I'm curious: What's your definition of total health? When do you feel you are at your best?


Caroline Shannon has been a journalist for six years, working for several publications, including Ideal Bite, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, First30Days, Maniac magazine and The Glass Hammer. She takes a long, hard run just as seriously as she does several Hint ‘O Mint Newman-O’s. She can be reached at

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jessicasee's picture
User offline. Last seen 4 years 3 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 07/03/2012

Total Health to me means my Mind is clear, I'm motivated and passionate about what each new day holds for me, my Body is free of disease and discomfort, and I have great energy for my daily tasks, my Spirit is at peace, and one with my Creator.

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