It is something that, as a society, we just never talk about.
They gave us a pyramid. Then they gave us a plate.
But they never actually talked to us about our food.
Not the government. Not our schools. Not the news media. Not celebrities. Not even our doctors.
Sure, they told us to get skinny. Then they told us we were beautiful as we are.
But the topic of health is not the topic of beauty, at least, not on all levels.
The topic of health is related to energy, to brain function, to total wellness, to the absence of illness, to mood, to so much!
And so many of us have just been told, conditioned even, to just accept fatigue, mood swings, memory lapse, lethargy.
If we do go see a doctor, they just tell us things like “welcome to the life of a working parent.”
Or “this is 40.”
They don’t ask us how we sleep, if we move our bodies, or how we eat. And the truth is, pretty much every single health and wellness issue is related directly to those three factors.
The Three Legged Stool
So, when you are feeling off, or if you have been feeling off for some time and you’re ready for a change, take a look at the three legged stool that is holding you up, or letting you down.
In motivational speaker Tony Robbins’ new book Life Force, he talks about how it was a point of pride for him for so long to barely get any sleep. He thought for years, as many of us do, that humans were only as good as their productivity. So he slept 4 or 5 hours a night.
It was only as he aged and had a few injuries, a few health issues, and began to recover more slowly than he was used to, that he began to take his sleep seriously.
He discovered what very few of us are tuned in to. A minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night is required for your brain and your body to clear out all the bad stuff it has been exposed to during the day, to repair your muscles and any internal damage that has been done, and to prepare you for the next day.
A minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night means a minimum! That means you should likely be planning for at least 8 and expecting a minimum of 7. One sleep doctor recently said he plans for 9 hours. He gets in bed by 9PM and knows his eyes will pop open at 6AM.
If you’re having trouble, remember to make it a routine, going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning, within an hour of the set time. Stop eating a couple hours before you go to bed. Enjoy a nice relaxing tea. And turn off all your screens!
Before you know it, you will have one of your three legs on your stool firmly in place.
150 minutes, they tell us.
A minimum of 150 minutes of movement each week is what is required to expect our bodies to just keep functioning at a basic level of health.
And almost no one meets that goal.
A recent study showed that only 22% of Americans exercise regularly.
Exercise keeps your heart healthy, your brain healthy, your gut healthy, everything!
Moving your body every day is what keeps things inside your body active and moving, which is what you want if you want optimal health.
And exercise affects your ability to sleep!
So if you’re not exercising, you’re likely not sleeping well. Furthermore, exercise affects your mood. Exercising regularly gives you endorphins, which are the long term mood elevators. You want those!
Make sure you’re getting that bare minimum - it’s about 20 minutes a day - and try to move throughout the day. Just get up and move for a few minutes here and there.
It adds up quickly and can change your life dramatically.
And finally, and I would say most importantly, food.
Food is the foundation for a healthy lifestyle.