How healthy are we, actually – Part 2
In part one of this blog found here, we discussed what has gotten us to be one of the unhealthiest nations in the world. Obesity and metabolic disease account for 93% of Americans being “sick” to one degree or another.
This is also a time we are seeing more diets hitting the mainstream than ever before. You might be asking yourself “Should I start with Keto, or Paleo. Vegan, or Atkins?” There is no wonder why our society is so confused.
As I have heard before:
“A confused mind always loses.”
I want to start where a lot of people start to combat fat loss, and it is usually starting a new healthy exercise routine. Owning a private small studio gym, I love this but I also know it is an uphill battle. So let’s do the math:
There are 168 hours in a week. Working out 6 days a week for 1 hour per day is still only 3% of your total 168 hours of your week! I am going to recommend below that exercise alone is not the solution, and you have to invest your time and energy into more than this.
There are 4 pillars to health and longevity, and when maintained and amplified over the course of the 168 hours each week, they can have dramatic effects on our lives. These 4 pillars are the basics, and when done brilliantly well can extend our lives. These things can have our healthspan match our lifespan, because isn’t that what we want anyways? I don’t want the last decade of my life to be bedridden, or for someone else to have to take care of me.
I want to be in control, to be able to walk up and down stairs, to hike, bike, ski and travel in my 80’s, 90’s and beyond. Here are the 4 pillars to health that I feel so strongly that will keep us healthy for a very long time:
- Happiness (our relationships)
We have seen what a time investment looks like for exercise, what about sleep? During the week, sleep should be one of the biggest investments in time that you make. Striving for 7-8 high quality hours of sleep will promote so many good things in your body. This is when all of the repair, regrowth and adaptations in your body occur.
Remember the last time you went one, two or even three nights in a row with little to no sleep? How did you feel? Did you feel like working out, eating well, or pushing forward on a tough project at work? I am guessing not. Sleep is literally the base of the pyramid, and if you are not getting your sleep right, there is no pill or diet or ANYTHING that will help you advance into the healthiest version of you.
Next up – Nutrition! I am going to make this a true no-nonsense topic since we hate to use the “D” word at the gym (that is DIET, BTW!). Remember when I said in Part 1 of this series that 60% of our calories in America come from ultra processed foods, and for kids that number balloons to 67%! That is where I want to start.
You know where the majority of our processed foods come from in our diet? It’s that amazing invention that we made to give ourselves permission to eat more and more, and here it is:
SNACKS = America’s invention to eat more processed foods!
(This is actually an “item” you can buy on Amazon!)
Ask yourself this question – on the days when you are eating well, do you even need a “snack?” The answer should be “No.”
The first meal that you eat in the day will set the stage for how you eat the rest of the day, and here is the secret:
Prioritize FAT and PROTEIN in the morning. Obviously, these fat and protein options are healthy ones (think eggs, avocado, etc). Think of it this way – most of our diet should consist of fat and protein by caloric amount, and vegetables and fruit by volume.
Thomas Jefferson (who lived to the age of 82) said it best, when asked what his diet looked like:
“I eat vegetables with a side of meat.”
We always like to say this to our clients – prioritize protein first, then fill the rest of your plate with color. The increased amount of phytochemicals in dark vegetables and fruit are about the best “snack” options out there!
Let’s move back to “junk food” and “snacks” again, shall we. I think Dr. Mark Hyman said it best when he gave his opinion on sugar. He said:
“Treat sugar like a recreational drug.”
If you think of sugar in those terms, you will be much better off. If you use sugar daily and all of the time, think of it as a huge detriment to your health. If you see sugar as an “every once in a great while” sort of substance, just like any other recreational drug, that at least will change your mindset about what it is and how it interacts with your body.
Every time you prepare a meal, think first of what protein source you will have, followed by a vegetable or fruit, followed by a healthy fat source. Eating like this will not only lead to you being fuller for longer, but it will also limit any snacking.
The last 2 pillars to health (exercise and happiness) will be in part 3 of this blog, so check it out very soon!
Looking for a kickstart to get your healthy habits started right? Check out our 14 Day Kickstart program below: