How do you define the word wellness?
Not an easy question to answer as there will be many different interpretations of it. If you’re the guy above it may involve donuts and Duff beer.
But what does wellness mean to you? Is it something you have a clear definition on or something you have not given much thought to?
The way I define wellness is a coming together of different elements. The elements being nutrition, exercise, rest, play, and happiness.
Each of these is great on their own but when they are all combined that is true wellness in my eyes.
However, I’m always interested in other peoples opinions on a variety of topics and I took this opportunity to reach out to some influential people mostly in the field of nutrition and fitness to get their take on how they define wellness:
A bunch of these people have been included on a www.greatist.com list of the 100 most influential people in health and fitness.
So in no particular order here are some people that I also see as an influence and who you should get to know if you already don’t, and how they define the word ‘wellness’
(still waiting to hear back from Kim Kardashian and Obama, but I guess they’re busy…)
HERE’S HOW WELLNESS IS DEFINED BY THE BEST OF THE BEST
1. MICHAEL EADES, M.D
Dr. Eades along with his wife is a New York Times best-selling author and have written some incredible books that focus on the lowering of carbs for a healthy lifestyle. My favorite which I refer to constantly is the amazing book Protein Power In this book he focuses on the need for us to control insulin levels and how these insulin levels are causing a multitude of problems in the body.
It focuses on the diet we were meant to eat and he is very active on Twitter and his blog
Dr. Eades defines wellness to me this way: “ The Obvious choice is the absence of sickness. But to me, wellness means the optimal playing of the genetic hand one is dealt.”
I like how this takes into account factors that might be out of your hands such as possible ailments that come from genetic factors. Not everyone has a clean slate and wellness is doing the best with what you have
2. MONICA REINAGEL
The Nutrition Diva herself
Monica Reinagal is a board-certified, licensed nutritionist and also a professionally trained chef. She wrote her great Nutrition Diva book and has appeared on the Today Show and Dr. Oz. Along with that, she’s also a classically trained Opera singer, just like me! Well not exactly… but I do dominate at karaoke…
If you’re not familiar with Monica Reinegal she is the host of the very popular podcast The Nutrition Divas Quick and Dirty Tips for Eating Well and Feeling Fabulous
When reaching out to Monica she defined wellness this way:
“ To me, wellness is the combination of mental, physical and spiritual health to support meaningful life.”
I like Monica’s definition as it has 3 cores as its root and they all come together in the goal of creating a meaningful life
3. BOB GREENE
Bob Greene is an exercise physiologist, certified personal trainer and best-selling author.
He’s also Oprah’s personal trainer and has appeared on her show many times.
He runs the best life diet brand BestLife and helps millions of people get healthy and provides a lot of great insights via twitter.
(side note: If you’re not on twitter this is a great time to get started and this is a list of some great people to start following)
Via twitter Bob shared with me his definition of wellness: “Wellness is a body in balance: You’re fit, eating nutritiously, energetic, happy. It’s both mental and physical well-being.”
Bob shows us how there is a need for balance and wellness can’t be achieved until mental and physical well-being is achieved. They can’t exist independently and depend on one another for total wellness to occur.
follow Bob on twitter @bestlifediet
4. JESSICA ZELINKA
(The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick)
Becoming an olympian is an incredible achievement. The dedication and commitment to a single activity are beyond remarkable. It’s even more remarkable when it’s centered around 7 activities
Jessica Zelinka is a Canadian heptathlete and in case you’re not familiar with the heptathlon its a two-day event involving 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put, javelin, 200m, long jump, and 800m.
I went to high school with Jessica and proudly we have seen her become the Canadian record holder in the heptathlon, win gold at the 2007 Pan American games and silver in the 2010 Commonwealth games. She finished an amazing 5th at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and also an amazing 7th at the 2012 Olympic games in London. This while also qualifying and competing and finishing 7th in the final of the women’s 100m hurdles against women who only focus on that one event, let alone 7…
Jessica is regarded as one of the fittest woman alive and in defining wellness she shared:
“for me, wellness could mean many things, including: Living life with the intention to continually strive for personal growth in all facets of health and well-being (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual..) Living life with a sense of balance and ability to remain centered, especially when life throws curveballs”
This is a very insightful response from Jess. As one of the top few people in the world at what she does, you can see how she is really aware of what makes up true wellness. As someone who has to be completely in tune and in balance with themselves to get the most out of her performance and ability, we can get a real glimpse into a part of what makes up the mindset of a world-class athlete.
5. TIM DIFRANCESCO
Tim is the man. He tells Kobe Bryant what to eat..
Tim DiFrancesco is the head strength and conditioning coach for the L.A Lakers in the NBA. Tim played collegiate basketball while also receiving a doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Massachusetts.
After working as the head athletic trainer in for the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA development league he got the call to the big leagues in 2011.
The big impact Tim has made in the league is bringing a new approach to nutrition and overhauling the diets of the NBA stars. Along with Dr. Cate Shanahan, he has helped players such as former Laker Dwight Howard eliminate their dependence on sugar and processed foods and take a whole foods approach to eating helping him regain his old form.
Tim has been dubbed “grass fed Tim” from his approach to eating the cleanest, paleo based foods you can get including all forms of grass fed meats and products.
In his definition of wellness to me Tim described it as “internal, external and perceived health markers align favourably resulting in a desire and ability to crush life”
I love it. You can see the mindset of a guy who still has competitive instincts and how with a balance of components true wellness allows you to not only exist but to thrive.
I feel like getting this made into a tattoo on my back. If there’s any room after my Justin Bieber one…
6. MARIE FORLEO
Marie Forleo is like the Oprah of the internet.
She runs the highly successful www.marieforleo.com which provides guidance for woman setting up a business and life that they love.
She also has the very popular MarieTV on youtube that focuses on business but also provides guidance on life, health, and wellbeing.
Marie was once originally a stock trader on the New York Stock Exchange but also has a background in fitness as she been involved with aerobics videos with a hip-hop flair as well as choreographing hip-hop on MTV
Marie has been interviewed by Tony Robbins, Richard Branson and the mighty Oprah herself (I think this is the 3rd mention of Oprah, this is getting a little out of hand…)
She is the perfect combination of brains, beauty and a bit of a sass (just like me) and runs the successful B-School which provides specific, intensive training for making an effective message and business.
Marie’s message to me was that she sees wellness more in the terms of the word healthy:
“healthy to me = full of energy, focus, love flexibility, strength, kindness xo.”
It’s cool how Marie sees wellness and healthy in the same light which is a great way to look at it. And I like how her descriptions are also great terms that I would use to describe her
Here’s Marie on Twitter @marieforleo
Brad Pilon is an author, blogger and fellow Canuck. He has a degree with honors in Applied Human Nutrition. He has worked in supplement research and development and has been on the forefront of the scientific world of health and fitness. He’s even had dinner with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Beats dinner with my Aunt Ginny…
Brad has been reading clinical nutrition journals since the age of 14 and his book Eat Stop Eat takes a scientific but incredibly complete look at intermittent fasting
He runs one of the best blogs out there at Eat Blog Eat and has thoroughly researched and scientifically backed up content.
Brad defined wellness “ as a state of being that includes the absence of seeking out or striving for the attainment of wellness”
Brad takes an almost philosophical approach to the subject and a very interesting viewpoint in that true wellness is something that is able to just occur. When one is too focused on wellness as a final destination that person might not truly achieve it as they possibly see it as something that needs to be “conquered” rather than something that can simply exist.
Check Brad out on twitter @BradPilon
8. NORA GEDGAUDAS
Nora Gedgaudas is an author, speaker, nutritional consultant and educator. She is a Board- certified nutritional consultant and a Board-certified clinical Neurofeedback specialist.
Nora is one of the top experts on the paleo diet and ancestral eating. She runs a popular podcast that can be found on iTunes and on her website Primal Body-Primal Mind.
Nora has written one of my favorite books also called “Primal Body, Primal Mind- Beyond the paleo diet for total health and a longer life”.
Nora responded back to me by email and in it she describes wellness as “someone functioning well in their lives without any sort of symptoms (mental or physical)”
This is another good observance of wellness being multifaceted in that its made up of a variety of components. Nora observes that wellness takes place in an absence of symptoms, I agree with that as symptoms can take the form of internal stressors or outward physical stressors both of which can interrupt wellness.
Check out any of Nora’s seminars or talks recorded and put on youtube and you’ll be amazed at the depth of her knowledge and ability to share information.
Here’s Nora on twitter @NoraGedgaudas
9. ANDREA BEAMAN
Andrea is a natural foods chef and former contestant on Top Chef.
She has successfully treated her own health issues with exercise, natural therapies, and healthy food and sees food as being medicine to us. She has written two books Health is Wealth and The Whole Truth as well as TV show appearances.
Andrea shared with me this definition of wellness:
“My definition of the word wellness is…if you are feeling good in your body and mind and enjoying life to the fullest, regardless of the circumstances, and your heart and soul is filled with love and gratitude…then you have achieved wellness”
Andrea takes the positive viewpoint of making the best of your circumstances as we can not control the outside factors that can affect our health and wellness but we can control our attitudes towards them
10. TED SPIKER
Ted is a professor at the University of Florida. He is the co-author of a dozen books including the YOU: series that are co-written with Dr. Oz
Ted is a regular contributor to Men’s Health Magazine and has hundreds of articles published in various other magazines including The Oprah Magazine, Fortune, Readers Digest and Runners World.
Ted defined wellness to me as:
“A strong enough body to do what a healthy mind wants you to do”
There is no doubting the mind-body connection and Ted emphasizes here that the two must work hand in hand.
SUMMING IT ALL UP
Looking over these remarkable peoples insight If there’s one theme that seemed to appear constantly it’s Oprah…her power refuses to cease..
All joking aside in regards to wellness a common theme I observed is the idea of balance. We need balance it appears in all areas of our lives and particularly in wellness. Many components need to come together if we are to strike the perfect balance between feeling well and being well.
You might be struggling in one area of your life and that’s affecting your ability to feel truly well. It might be the physical and fitness side of things, your diet may need some attention or just finding peace with certain situations.
Regardless of the situation identifying where you struggle will allow you to get back on track to experiencing true wellness.
So now it’s your turn, how do you define wellness? Feel free to share below. And if you haven’t already make sure to hop on the newsletter with the signup below to be the first to get new articles and updates.
And Oprah, if you’re reading this… Call me?
photo cred: Damian Gadal