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Getting Healthy: Knowing What's Right For You

What Is Health?

The word HEALTH may bring up a lot for you in our current climate that the last couple of years have brought us. It brings up a lot with new viruses, health goals, diagnoses, and advertisements. Health can be a challenging subject. Our culture defines health in too many ways to count.

Television, social media, exercise classes, and the grocery store are all around us, telling us what health should look like. How do we cut through the clutter and define health individually?

We know things are unhealthy, like being inactive, having chronic stress, eating junk food, and lack of sleep. First, we must decide how do we become healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually? We can probably all agree that most of us want to feel good, have energy, be less stressed, and have joy in our life. These questions are meant to ignite thoughts and conversation and open our eyes to what we can do to prioritize our health.

Ways Physical Health is described:

  1. My labs are all within range… -

  2. I can exercise regularly…

  3. The scale says…

  4. My blood pressure is….

  5. I eat or don't eat….

Knowing Your Numbers:

  • Do you understand your basic lab numbers and what they mean?

  • Do you keep track of your labs over time?

  • Do you understand what normal range is versus optimal range?

  • What are your next steps when your labs are not within normal range or optimal range? Do you work on lifestyle changes? Do you get on medicine? Do you take supplements?

Knowing and understanding our lab numbers can provide a powerful tool to improve your mental and physical health. Testing is used to diagnose disease, but more importantly, it is a way to become proactive in your health versus reactive to a disease. Testing is information, and when we pay close attention will support us in deciding on our diet, lifestyle, fitness, and supplement or medication choices.

More than 70% of chronic diseases are preventable.

You might wait until you get sick to pay attention to the numbers or only follow the directions from the doctor or a summary report. You can learn how to interpret your labs, catch trends or know how your body is feeling, know the optimal lab numbers, and become proactive in your health. Quick scans at a doctor visit at a 10-15 minute consult will not catch some of these things. You may know your health isn't where you want it to be; you may be experiencing symptoms you don't understand or even understand the health data presented to you.

Normal Lab Range vs. Optimal Lab Range

A normal result from a blood test only means that you are within the range of the average population. Some of these ranges are not getting better; they are getting worse. These averages include a larger percentage of people who are not healthy. Do you want to be average? In some tests, it is ok to be closer to the middle of the range, while in others, it is best to be optimal either at the top or bottom end of the range.

Getting comprehensive lab testing done yearly, understanding those numbers, and tracking them will put you ahead of most people.

Now What Do with the Numbers: Changing Behavior

Getting Support from a Health Coach

Health Coaching is the work I am called to do, and I feel it is a crucial piece in the healthcare industry to help someone take information and figure out how to implement actions into their daily life to become healthier.

  • Decipher and organize the information, brainstorm, and be accountable for the next steps.

  • Looking at the bigger picture and looking closely at home life and how someone's time is spent.

  • Identifying environmental factors that present challenges.

Environmental Factors:

  • Home life?

  • What do you eat?

  • How much movement do you get?

  • Where do you shop?

  • How do you spend your time?

  • Determining the source of your problem, not just the problem itself.

  • Are you ready to make the lifestyle and behavior changes needed to benefit your health?

    • Building rapport

    • Focus on Changes you want to make while offering support

    • Evoke tools and desires you possess within yourself to effect change

    • Planning to implement the goals and next steps with you

If I cannot motivate you to change, I might enlist other experts and refer out to trusted collaborators.

Making changes for optimal health needs to be a simple process so you see momentum in your progress. Overwhelming information and action steps often lead to failure and giving up.

Brandy Lane Hickman, NBHWC

2B Well Integrative Health Collaborative, Owner Inspired Nutrition, National Board Certified Health Coach, Kitchen Therapy

Board President, Missouri Nutrition Alliance Non-Profit


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