Most people are aware they need to make better food choices, but so many more have no idea the role and effect sleep, stress and filling nutritional gaps has on whether or not you achieve your goals.
There's a lot more to achieving your health and weight loss goals than what you put on your plate and how often you get up and move your body. Don't get me wrong, intentionally moving your body every day will allow you to keep moving and be comfortable doing it. And of course, nutrition is important. After all, food is the foundation to creating health.
But like building a house, or anything for that matter, the foundation is a good place to start, and it takes a lot more things added on before the project is complete.
I literally had a conversation with someone at the gym yesterday about this very thing. One of the regulars, I'll call him Bob, commented he recently gained a bit of weight. His pants felt the same-ish but he was wondering how he'd be able to tell if the scale bump was an increase in muscle mass or just weight.
Now, those of you who know me and have followed for years, know that I do not advocate using the scale as your only measuring tool. The question I often ask a clients is, “How would you measure your success if you didn't have a scale?”
I do this because building health is so much more that weight loss alone. In fact, the only way you will get to your optimal weight is when you get to your optimal health. An unhealthy body, a body full of inflammation, holds onto the weight.
Building a healthy body is just like building a house. Start with your foundation and then make sure you're addressing all six components of health so you can build on that foundation and end up with a rock solid structure you can not only live in, but feel great in as well.
The six components, or six “plates”, as I talk about with my clients and, as I shared with Bob, are nutrition, exercise, water, sleep, stress, supplements. Picture the juggler at the circus with the long poles and plates spinning atop each one. He starts them one by one, paying attention to the balance of each one as he goes.
Even after they're all up and spinning, if one plate starts to wobble, the juggler needs to adjust his stance and get under the wobbly one to make sure it doesn't come crashing down, right? It's the same with your health. Turns out Bob's sleep, stress, and nutrition plates were no longer up and spinning, hence the bloat.
I would say most people are aware they need to make better food choices, get in some daily exercise and drink more water. But so many more have no idea the importance and impact good quality sleep, managing stress and filling nutritional gaps has on overall health and weight. If only half your plates are up and spinning, you're only halfway in the construction phase, making it impossible to achieve your goals and create that healthy structure you're looking for.
Sleep is something people of all ages struggle with. Without good quality, restorative sleep, your body is not able to properly metabolize the food you're putting in. Lack of sleep stimulates the body to release cortisol, which in turn causes fat storage, which creates internal stress and inflammation. Inflammation is the root cause of all disease, so clearly this is a path you don't want to go down.
Stress—the other “S” word—also increases cortisol, inhibits sleep, raises anxiety, makes it difficult to concentrate and focus, affects mood, and can even contribute to physical pain, slow healing, and suppress immune function.
Supplements are gap fillers. We all have gaps. Can we get all the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients from our food? It's possible sure, but highly unlikely. Because we're not perfect people. You may be able to get a full nutrient profile on your plate every single meal for a week or so, but it's not realistic to think you're going to do it 24-7, 365 days a year. I know I don't, so I make sure I fill the gaps where necessary. Like putting that insulation in the walls on a new build. Could you live in a house without insulation? You could. Would it be very comfortable when winter hits? Probably not.
In order to know where you are in the construction of your healthy body, ask yourself, “How many plates do I have in the air?”
Great job if you've been able to get all six up and keep them up! But if you. Need some help to get them up, and keep them up while eating the foods you love over the holidays, email [email protected] for info on Thrive the Holidays group coach, starting Nov. 1.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.