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Preliminary PDHPE Assignment Essay

1) Recount the story of the individual in relation to how the adversity they faced as affected their health status. The individual who I decided to research is now well known for her job hosting the Biggest Loser, Hayley Lewis. At 15 years old Hayley Lewis had won 5 Gold medals at the 1990 Commonwealth Games. She weighed 58kg and never thought anything about her weight at the time as she was fit, healthy and muscular. A magazine came out saying that she was “a fit 15 year old but a bit heavy legged. ” From then on she started to get bigger and bigger.

A year later her weight had crept up to 65kg and by the 1992 Barcelona Olympics she weighed 73kg. Hayley was told by her coach to lose weight and the more and more she was told, the more she turned to food for comfort. By being told she was “heavy legged” from the media and being told to lose weight the more this impacted on her physically, mentally, socially and spiritually. By being overweight this cut short Hayley’s swimming career as she was embarrassed, suffered anxiety and hated being publicly scrutinised.

Hayley Lewis also hated getting out of bed because she knew she had to put on her “togs”. She said that she was racing with girls 20kg lighter and you can’t hide anything when you’re in swimmers. She also said that she used to focus on her weight every time she jumped up on to the starting block instead of focusing on her race. By being judged because of her physical appearance made her quit her swimming career because she felt that she didn’t fit in anywhere. This affected both her mental and spiritual health.

Because Hayley Lewis had a negative physical health status this impacted on her emotional health as all the dimensions of health are interdependent on one another and when one area of health is going downhill this can impact on all the other aspects of an individuals’ health status. Hayley Lewis had a low self-esteem and didn’t believe in herself. This was because she was bullied about her physical appearance and the media made her feel shameful about her weight. She didn’t enjoy the success of being a swimmer either because of the shame and guilt she felt about herself and her personal body image.

Another factor that could have made an impact on Hayley’s health status is the death of her younger sister as this could have made her turn to food for comfort. Hayley Lewis had to face a 20 year weight battle from when she was 15 until she was 35 when she had her second child. During her pregnancy Hayley gained another 25kg. When she got a phone call from Jenny Craig to become an ambassador she finally realised how overweight she was and decided to do something about it. She lost 4kg in the first week and was finally getting back on track and gaining these precious years of her life back.

Hayley Lewis is now the current host of the Biggest Loser and says she can relate to the contestants so well as she knows exactly what they have been through and what they are going through. She hopes to inspire them and become as good a role model as she can so they get to love themselves the way she does about herself now. Hayley Lewis has faced major adversity in her life and it has affected her health status physically, mentally, socially and spiritually. She has finally pulled through and is at a great point in her life, has overcome her weight battles and has made herself proud for where her body has gotten her today.

a) Evaluate how the dimensions of health have interacted to construct the health status of the individual. Hayley Lewis’ physical, mental, social and spiritual health have interacted to construct Hayley’s current health status as all these dimensions are interdependent upon one another. If one aspect of health is positive then this will most likely have an impact on all the other aspects of an individual’s health. Hayley’s physical health when she was younger was fairly poor. When Jenny Craig came into the picture this made Hayley become aware and realise just how poor her physical health was.

Because of this sudden realisation, this has constructed Hayley Lewis’ current health status in many ways because she finally did something about her poor health. She started to lose weight and the motivation of the Jenny Craig program helped her pull through. She was given meal and exercise plans but as a retired swimmer she was used to having the pre-organised eating and training schedule. She had overcome her previous body image demons and she realised that she had a new focus in life because of becoming a parent.

She had to step up and become the best role model she could be for her children. She threw out all the old photos she had of herself as an overweight teenager and returned to the pool in 2000 with a renewed confidence. She still has “good days and bad days, like everyone” but has learnt to love, admire, appreciate and nurture her body with respect as you only get one. Her previous physical health has now constructed Hayley’s current health status as she is now a size 8-10, lost 20kg and has maintained her weight by eating nutritiously, planning her meals and exercising often.

Hayley now has a positive physical health status and hopes to inspire others, such as the biggest loser contestants, with her own personal inspiring story. Hayley Lewis’ emotional health has had a major impact on the construction of her current health status. Mentally, Hayley never used to believe in herself and had a very low self-esteem and body image. Now that she has become aware of her poor health status and has lost 20kg she now has a positive headspace and a positive outlook on life. She has a renewed confidence but still has “bad days” like everyone.

By relating to the current biggest loser contestants this has made her feel proud to where her body and mind has gotten her today and wants to help them out so they can feel how she feels about herself now. Hayley’s new and improved positive emotional health has had a major impact on all the other aspects of her health and has created an overall positive health and wellbeing for herself as the dimensions of health are all interdependent upon one another. When Hayley Lewis was younger her social health suffered because she was overweight physically and didn’t look positive on life because of her poor emotional health.

She was bullied, compared to others and was always being judged, if not by the media, by her coach and family & friends. She now has a very positive social health as she is now married to a very understanding and cooperative husband and has 2 children. Her confidence is now booming compared to when she was fighting her 20 year weight battle. Her confidence has allowed her to improve her relationships with family and friends and now she can also relate to the biggest loser contestants because they have become her friends.

She is very inspirational towards these contestants and has also become very close to them and helping them renew their lives and start fresh. Spiritually, Hayley now feels a sense of belonging and worth compared to the adversity she faced because she has fought and finally won her weight battles. She is now fit and healthy, can relate to and feels apart of the biggest loser family and also has a special family of her own. She now has a very positive headspace and this has impacted on and changed her life in many ways.

Hayley’s life changing experience of winning her 20 year weight battled has occurred because she finally became aware of how poor her health was. The 4 dimensions of health, physical, mental, social and spiritual, have all worked together with each other and have constructed Hayley Lewis’ current health status in a very positive way. Because she started losing weight she noticed that all her emotional, social and spiritual aspects of health have benefited her overall health. This is because all these dimensions are interdependent upon each other and construct the overall health status of an individual.

b) Evaluate how the relative and dynamic nature of health has impacted upon the health status of the individual. Due to her own personal experiences Hayley Lewis would now rate her health as being optimal. She has battled with her weight for 20 years and has finally overcome that. As well as being at her goal weight by eating healthy, exercising and creating meal plans for herself she has to take into account how the relative and dynamic nature of health has impacted upon her own personal health status. Relative and dynamic nature of health refers to how health can vary from time to time and fluctuate all over the place.

Illnesses, accidents, personal experiences, environmental factors or an individuals’ socioeconomic status can have an impact on an individual’s level of health at any point during their lives. These continual changes in a person’s health mean that health is dynamic. Judging where a person is along the health continuum at any point of time is highly subjective as people all over the world have different perceptions about what is optimal or “normal” health. By overcoming her 20 year weight battle, Hayley Lewis now has a better knowledge of what good health is.

She perceives herself in a more positive way and the result of this is that the public and people all around her are perceiving her in a more positive way also. By believing in yourself can affect how others see you and believe that you have potential whereas if you don’t believe in yourself then others will think the same. This is one of the reasons that Hayley Lewis’ confidence has risen over time because now that her self-esteem has risen she realised that people were starting to perceive her, and her health, in different and a more positive way.

By being the host of the biggest loser and becoming friends with the contestants has affected Hayley Lewis’ health status. She is now socioeconomically advantaged as she has a permanent job with a high income. This will impact her health status because it can affect her choices such as buying more, but nutritious food, and she now has more money to spend on fitness and recreational resources such as gyms and swimming pools. This can impact Hayley’s health physically, mentally, socially and spiritually as she now feels a sense of control and value over her life.


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