7 Pillars For Living Better, Longer
Get Fit Now
What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘Fit’? I believe we are fit when our body and mind are optimized to create the life we want.
As a Functional Health and Wellness Coach, I can help you create a personalized plan for Overall Wellness based on your current health and fitness, what your needs and preferences are, and how much time you have.
Making improvements in one aspect of wellness will often translate into improvements in another. For example, Exercising helps with Stress Reduction, which helps with Sleep. Mindfulness helps with Urge Control, which helps in Weight Loss.
There is no one prescription for wellness. Together we will create a personalized plan that best suits your own unique wellness needs. In Pillars I and II, I chose to provide an example of exercise and ways of eating that work for me.
A natural way of soothing our mind and strengthening our body from the cellular level to outward appearance
My Current Exercise Routine:
- Daily movement, such as walking outside or climbing stairs periodically throughout the day. 5 great reasons you should take a walk today
- Moderate Cardio several times/week for 30 minute sessions, getting my HR up into the 120-130-ish range. I use a treadmill on an incline as well as the elliptical and stair machine in the gym. What does moderate exercise mean anyway?
- HIIT workouts (sprints)- 2 days/week for increased fat burning. Benefits of HIIT
- Resistance training 2 to 3 days/week for stronger bones and better all around aging. Strength training
- Stretching each day to maintain flexibility, reduce joint pain and make exercises easier to perform. Stretching
- I also enjoy hiking, kayaking and snow skiing.
A personalized recipe for creating a body and mind more resistant to modern diseases and one that optimizes healthy aging.
Good nutrition can boost your mood, improve body composition and mitigate the risk of illness such as type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and more.
I chose my current way of eating to optimize brain health, live healthier for longer, and build muscle while losing fat. I would say I stick to this way of eating around 90% of the time. The other 10% allows for occasional splurges like chips and salsa, a hot fudge sundae or holidays.
My current nutrition plan:
- Whole foods way of eating that is a combination of Paleo/Mediterranean/Keto
- Macro goals change but are currently at: 30% protein, 15% carbs, 55% fat and approximately 1800 calories
- Intermittent Fasting: a shorter eating window, typically around 8 hours, occasionally 6.
- Fasting: bimonthly 24 hr fasts, 2 to 3 day fasts several times per year.
- For the most part, I avoid sugar, grains, legumes, industrialized seed oils, alcohol and excess caffeine
*Knowing what you are eating is essential and I think skipping this step will make it difficult to meet your fitness goals. That is why I include a Zoom lesson on tracking and using the scale as part of our coaching.
- Purchase a food scale and learn to use it with the Cronometer app to track your calories and macros, 3 times per week minimum. It is simple to learn and actually quite fun. Once you have an idea of what you’re eating it isn’t necessary to track as often. I strongly advise not skipping this step.
III. Mindful Living:
This is simply the practice of being fully present in any given moment, being keenly aware of your surroundings as well as your thoughts and feelings. Your thoughts are what cause your feelings. Those thoughts can be managed to better facilitate self worth, inner peace and kindness toward others.
- Mindfulness: I would not be able to make progress in any of the other Pillars of Wellness without this practice. Some benefits include—better mood, self awareness, impulse and urge control, rumination mitigation, and stress reduction. Benefits of mindfulness
- Mindful Meditation (MM). When used regularly, this practice results in a more purposeful, less reactive presence. To get started, try an app like Calm. They offer an awesome 101 course for MM. Or, do a search on YouTube or Google for “Mindful Meditation”
- Dopamine ‘Reset’. Craving reduction is achieved through periodically omitting unhelpful quick-fix soothers like —snacking, alcohol, scrolling social media—to regain impulse control and learn healthier ways to soothe normal but uncomfortable feelings like boredom, stress and loneliness.*
*I am developing a course for this exercise. Look for it, coming soon.
IV. Sleep Hygiene:
This is a tough one, for me included. But it is not impossible to improve, even with a busy schedule. Without adequate sleep, everything else tends to fall apart, so prioritizing it is crucial.
Try experimenting with one or two of these until you find something that makes a difference:
- Along with the other Pillars of Wellness mentioned in this article, here are some tips to consider trying if your sleep is suffering: 8 tips for beating insomnia and improving your sleep
- Align your Circadian Rhythm: circadian rhythm
- Avoid Blue Light at Night: How artificial light is wrecking your sleep and what to do about it
- Consider Red Light Therapy. They now make devices for personal home use: Red light therapy
- Use your bed for sleeping/sex only
- Keep your room temperature very cool
- Make sure your room is as dark as possible
- Try using white noise to mask extraneous sounds
- Keep smart phones unreachable from your bed. Use an alarm clock instead
- Read something that doesn’t excite negative emotions
Research is clear that isolation isn’t great for humans. This guideline does not exclude my fellow introverts. ☺
- Foster close relationships with family and friends
- Join groups of like minded people for hobbies/activities
- Give back by volunteering in your community and/or globally
- Learn how to use compassionate communication (AKA Non Violent Communication or NVC). It’s a great way to solve conflict and express our needs or desires without putting others on the defensive. Nonviolent Communication Language
VI. Stress Reduction:
If you’re not managing your stress, and there will always be things that cause us stress, your health can deteriorate in spite of exercise and good nutrition. Rather than thinking of this as putting out fires, this is just part of a healthy wellness routine, something to address each day.
- Start noticing when you’re feeling tense or unhappy. Just that awareness can help
- Brain Dump: List your internal stresses (thoughts, ruminations, feelings…) and external stresses (job related, relationship problems, financial…) and see what can be improved
- Pick the low hanging fruit: 9 steps to perfect health
- All the other Pillars come into play here: sleep, nutrition, exercise, mindfulness, close connections and creativity.
Experience joy, wonder, satisfaction and learning by getting lost in a hobby. Set aside time for that every day to give your mind a break.
I’m so happy you are here, looking for information to take charge of your health and improve your overall wellness!