Diet and exercise are the two areas we think of when we try and make our lifestyles healthier. But there’s more to a healthy, happy life than that.
The world of health and fitness is abuzz with the publication of Dr. Rangan Chatterjee’s new book The 4 Pillar Plan, where he sections positive lifestyle changes into four factors of consideration. But what are these four pillars and how can they fit into a Career Girl’s busy life?
Pillar #1: Relaxation
Probably the most undervalued component of health, the book stresses the importance of relaxation. Let’s be honest, we’d all jump at the chance of a bit of relaxation and yet, it’s still not a priority for most Career Girls!
For our own health, Dr. Chatterjee believes we should go screen-free for at least one day a week. This is most probably unrealistic for many of us, so instead aim to have at least one sit down meal a week. No devices allowed! Alternatively, take time enjoying your food and the moment, without any distraction.
He also encourages a daily practice of stillness. Press the pause button and try 3-4-5 breathing: breath in for three, hold for four, and out for five. When we breathe out longer than our in-breath, we activate the relaxation part of our nervous system. Perfect for a trying work day!
Pillar #2: Fuel
The book does not offer the classic one-size-fits-all dietary advice we’ve all come to know and probably resent! Instead, it recommends general changes we can make to our diet that will improve our overall health.
Naturally, the recommendations include eating five portions of fruit and veg and your classic eight glasses of water a day. But more interestingly, Dr. Chatterjee urges us to eat in a strictly defined window each day, promoting the twelve-hour window technique.
By restricting your eating window your body receives quite a few benefits, including better control of your blood sugar and weight. It can also help your immune system function better!
Pillar #3: Move
Working alongside a busy schedule the plan recommends us walking at least ten thousand steps a day. This seems like a colossal challenge, but it’s not as hard as it seems!
Download a step count onto your phone if it doesn’t already have one built in and set your daily target to ten thousand. It will take into account all the steps you took that day, whether it’s to and from your station or car, getting your morning coffee or grabbing lunch!
You’ll be surprised how much you actually move and if you’re short of hitting the target, walk the long way round!
Dr. Chatterjee further suggests some kind of strength exercise twice a week and to focus on our glutes. Sitting down for a lot of the day takes its toll on these muscles because our brain has no reason to activate them. Fit some movement into your day easily, by doing some glutes exercises while your morning coffee is brewing!
Pillar #4: Rest
Dr. Chatterjee emphasizes that trouble sleeping has nothing to do with our inability to control our sleep, but rather the things in our everyday life. Work, technology, and personal stresses all keep us up at night!
Save your sleep by removing tech at least ninety minutes before going to bed and manage “commotion”, the inability to switch off our brains is the main cause of bad sleep.
Minimise any activity that will cause emotional tension before bed. Avoid having fraught or deep conversations before bed; if work emails are stressing you out, make a pact with yourself not to check them after eight thirty and avoid giving your brain a workout by sorting through finances and other such activities that demand concentration right before bed.
How do you juggle health and fitness with a busy career? Let us know in the comments below…
…come to those who sign up for our emails