“Health” means “Whole”: An Exploration of Fulfillment

She earned her Master’s degree in nutrition and dietetics from Arizona State University. In her early career, she worked as a clinical dietitian in an intensive care unit.

In 2017, Abby co-founded EVOLVE Flagstaff, an integrative practice that offers weight-inclusive services including physical therapy, injury prevention, nutrition counseling, training, and meal preparation. Her nutrition practice mainly focuses on working with athletes and individuals with eating disorders. She helps her clients to re-establish their relationship with food and movement and unlearn behaviors that negatively impact their relationship with their bodies and food.

Apart from her work with clients, Abby is an aerialist and dancer, and director of a non-profit performing arts company, Dark Sky Aerial. She enjoys cooking, coaching strength and conditioning, and teaching yoga. Depending on the season you will find her outdoors biking, skiing, or reading in the sun with her dogs.

“Health” means “Whole”: An Exploration of Fulfillment

This may come as a surprise to you, but the root word of “health” means “whole”. And that’s not a claim we fabricated. The Oxford Dictionary lays it out plainly.

The word “health” is everywhere. It’s used (and misused) all the time. But what does it really mean?

At Way, we believe health is wholeness but not just physical wholeness. It’s mental wholeness, social wholeness, and without a doubt, emotional wholeness.

How to Start Exploring Fulfillment

One way we like to start exploring emotional wholeness is to ask and answer a simple question – What are some things I did today because I “had” to (like bills, chores, etc.)? Ask yourself that. You can write your answers inside Way or wherever you prefer.

Then ask and answer this question – What are some things I’ve done today that I “chose” to do (like leisure reading, going for a walk in nature, etc.)?

Once you’ve answered these two questions, step back and look at the list you jotted down. Now ask yourself, “What made me feel more fulfilled, doing the things I ‘had’ to do or doing the things I ‘chose’ to do?”

You may find you’re more fulfilled by the activities you “had” to do. The feeling of accomplishment and peace that comes from completing necessary tasks can be rewarding and may reduce your stress. But, doing things you “have” to do may also be frustrating or boring.

Doing the things you “chose” to do may be more fulfilling in the short term. Maybe you get a deep sense of joy, bliss, and delight from the “chose” to-do tasks. But doing things you “chose” to do can also mean you put off the tasks you had to do. And that may create anxiety or it could mean you won’t have clean laundry to wear in the morning.

What we hope you’re getting here is that something that seems unrelated to your emotional wholeness is connected to your emotional health. The feeling of fulfillment is one of the best indicators you can use in your daily life to understand what’s good, what’s missing, and what’s the source of your emotional stress.

Incorporating Wholeness and Fulfillment

When you have this basic understanding, you can apply it to your thoughts or decisions about what you eat.

Are you feeling stressed, so you reach for the nearest thing to eat?

Feeling energized and accomplishing many tasks? Consider having a lunch break instead of skipping it. Enjoy some granola, a protein bar, or have tea or coffee to maintain your energy levels.

Maybe you want to enjoy that Friday night date or night out with friends for pizza and some drinks?

All of these situations are something that diet culture tells you is “wrong”, but as long as you’re listening to your body, embracing your emotions, and understanding how they influence your decisions, you’re not doing anything inherently wrong.

We all have times when we forget why we do what we do, but these small questions can help you have more Freedom With Food and your body. When you can clearly see why you do what you do, you can choose those fulfilling, joyful, and blissful activities more often in your daily life.