Fit vs. Healthy, Can you have one without the other?

Sunday was my birthday. Wahoo, a whopping 31 years old! As I was thinking about this milestone the other day, I found myself comparing. Comparing myself to this time last year. Not in terms of body shape or size, I know those are different for numerous reasons, and that’s ok. Because life. But I found myself comparing my health status and then fitness status. Both were in very different places last year, which led me to the thought, is being fit and healthy the same?

Last year at this time, I was NOT healthy. Yes, I was taking my medication as prescribed, but I was not feeling good. I was eating ‘ok’, mostly paleo, but somethings slipped in here and there. I was unhappy at my job, I was SUPER stressed out and I was planning a wedding! All of these things, eating, stress, happiness make up separate pillars of health, and I was failing in every. single. one. I may not have had any actual disease progression, but in terms of measuring health in every other way you can measure it, I was in the gutter. So it totally makes sense that this time last year, I felt awful. I had pain everywhere, stomach issues/pain and joint pain, I guess the word of the moment was pain! It definitely felt like that. I remember thinking every day that everything hurt. Nothing was spared. I had my good days, where pain was minimal and only hurt for a minimal amount of time, then I had my bad days, where I felt like I couldn’t escape it no matter what. It was the pits.

But my fitness! My fitness was on POINT! I was going to CrossFit as much as I could, and I had recently competed in my first competition. I was lifting like crazy and making progress, albeit very slow progress. The part of my existence that I found the most joy in was working out and going to CrossFit. Was it the best decision for me considering my health status? Absolutely not. But did it make me happy? Absolutely yes.

So this contradiction in health status and fitness status brought up the original question for me, is it possible to have one without the other? After reflection on where I was in both health and fitness, my conclusion was an overwhelming YES. But when I dug a bit deeper, it became a bit more complicated. Can you be healthy, but not fit and conversely, can you be fit, but not healthy?  I took a closer look at each word to figure this out.

HEALTH: noun

1.

the general condition of the body or mind with reference to soundness and vigor

2.

soundness of body or mind; freedom from disease or ailment
Hmm, ‘Soundness, vigor and freedom’. All of those words give me a positive feeling when I hear them. I think of someone who is vibrant and energetic. Someone who is not suffering from daily woes and struggles. I also don’t see fitness involved with this definition at all!
FIT: adjective 

1.

physically healthy and strong.
Well damn! That’s interesting. ‘Healthy and strong’. The strong part is somewhat of a no-brainer, it’s one of (one of, not the only) clear goals of becoming fit, to become strong. But healthy? Healthy is really being lumped into being fit? But I was fit without being healthy! But was I really?
I may have thought I was ‘fit’, going to CrossFit and lifting all the time, but what was that ‘fit’ foundation being built on? It was being built on nothing, quick sand. It was an incredibly unsustainable lifestyle, and it came crashing down not long after my birthday.
Health is an integral part of life. That’s where your soundness and vigor come from. Yes, fitness can add to that vigor, but only if you have the foundation of health to build on. It’s possible to have health without fitness, and also fitness without health. But in the end, only one of those options is sustainable in the long run. One of those options will lead you down a path of wellbeing and one of those options will lead you to derailing on your journey. Debating on whether to start on a health journey or fitness journey? Start with the building blocks, start with your health.
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