The terms wellness and health and fitness are often used interchangeably to define the condition of good overall physical and mental health, especially when maintained by proper diet, exercise, and habits.

However, many people define health and fitness by the number they see on their bathroom scale. When a person says they are out of shape, they often mean they are overweight.

In reality, wellness should be defined by a broad range of health and fitness factors rather than just weight status. But the media’s attention on weight has a resulted in a lot of people thinking that their weight is the be-all and end-all of health. If they are at a normal weight, they are healthy and fit and, otherwise, they’re not.

Research studies have clearly demonstrated that a person’s weight status should not be the sole (or, even the major) determinant of wellness. It is certainly possible to be of a normal weight and have poor health and fitness and, likewise, to be overweight or even obese and have a high level of wellness.

But, if weight isn’t the primary criteria for health and fitnes, what is?

If you think about it, the criteria for wellness should be different for each individual because people’s self-perception of health and fitness is largely determined by what’s important in their life, which is extremely variable.

For example, take a look at this list of possible goals people could have relative to being healthy and fit:

* Increase self-confidence
* Address a health problem
* Improve in a sport
* Have more fun
* Wear different clothes
* Increase self-respect
* Lengthen life
* Increase strength
* Travel more
* Improve body image
* Lower stress and anxiety
* Prevent a health problem
* Reduce arthritis pain
* Increase endurance
* Perform hobby better
* Look younger
* Improve mood
* Slow aging process
* Improve flexibility
* Enrich relationships
* Improve appearance
* Enjoy retirement
* Lower blood pressure
* Improve mobility
* Change jobs
* Improve social life
* Increase energy
* Get better sleep
* Set example for kids
* Boost concentration
* Lower cholesterol
* Reduce tiredness
* Play with kid(s)/grandkid(s)
* Increase eating enjoyment
* Eliminate worry and guilt
* Increased stamina
* Better diabetes control
* Reduce back pain
* Be there for kids/grandkid

After reviewing this list, can you see how each person defines health and fitness may differ dramatically? The reality is that the true criteria for health and fitness are unique to each individual.

Allen Oelschlaeger ( is known for his no-nonsense and passionate approach to sharing his expertise on weight loss, nutrition and fitness and is the creator of the B.I.T.E. method for effortless weight management. Allen has degrees in biology and pharmacy and was an executive in the medical industry for over 20 years.