What Real Health Means to Me – Dr. Anne

Dr. Anne Zauderer

One of my favorite quotes, by the esteemed Maya Angelou, is “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” To me, this quote embodies what it means to have Real Health. Health is not merely the absence of disease, but it is also having a purpose and passion in life and the energy to pursue those endeavors.

Health is not something to be taken for granted. In the blink of an eye, it can be gone. Too many of us wait until “the right moment” to begin our health journey. Maybe it’s once our kids are grown, or our job is less stressful, or we can afford a gym membership. We have a perception of what it will be like to “live a healthy life.” Very often this includes giving up some of our favorite things (soda, fast food, sugar) or doing things we don’t want to do (i.e. exercise and eat greens). When you think about those things too hard, it’s very easy to come up with reasons to postpone prioritizing your health.

My perception of health is not a destination, but rather the journey you are on in life. Health is making one better choice every day. It’s very empowering to take control of where you are headed. You are not a victim of your choices, you own them. You can choose to do things that fuel your body and invigorate your mind, not because you “have” to, but because you choose to be the best version of yourself in that very moment.

A few things to keep in mind on your journey:

  • Don’t beat yourself up for the poor choices you make, but rather celebrate the good ones.
  • Make a plan and set goals, but make those goals very attainable for you.
  • Small changes over a long period of time that turn into habits have a greater impact than big changes that are short-lived.    

Never stop choosing to be your best self. Don’t just survive … THRIVE!


Each month we have guest authors write a column for our Health Hunters newsletter with the prompt “What Real Health Means to Me”. We’ve been blown away by the content, and the variety of answers, that they have provided. We know that Real Health is very personal and health goals vary. We hope that you find their stories inspiring and will share with your friends and family as well!

All “What Real Health Means to Me” articles

If you’d like to write an article of your own, please email us at newseditor@riordanclinic.org.