It is said that every business should have a mission statement, a philosophy or a set of values to work by and stand for. Written down or not, we all have some sort of mission statement. This rambling below isn’t so much of a mission statement, but a look at the foundation that makes for long-term health and happiness. My pastime is carpentry which is why I use the analogy of pillars and foundations. This writing below isn’t complete but it is a good start to get people thinking about their foundations, and also a base for me to expound on in the future.
The most important thing for a house, or any building for the matter, is its foundation. No matter how big, small or crazy the design, if the foundation sucks…the building will crack and crumble over time.
We all have foundations whether we have thought about it or not. These have been continually built since we were born and we have added bricks to strengthen them or put cracks in them to weaken them. Our current foundation is how we live our life and it should be inspected periodically. Through the years our lives change, and to maintain a long, healthy, active life we need to understand our foundation and keep it shored up. Below I list four pillars that I believe form a foundation for a healthy, happy life. This is my personal opinion but I believe that these are the most important. Each will contain many subsets, and many of those subsets will coexist in multiple pillars or at least have an influence on those other pillars. Nobody is going to have all four pillars perfectly solid, and if you think you do…it is probably time to check yourself (before you wreck yourself). Shout out to the three dimensional six sided symmetrical shape of frozen water.
To make any of these pillars stronger there will need to be change and sacrifice. That doesn’t mean you have to bring in the wrecking ball and start over, but it does mean that you need a plan and understand that many small changes (bricks) will build that strong, solid pillar. Here are the four pillars and their subsets that I consider to be the most important…we will dive deeper into many of these in the near future.
- Nutrition – I hate saying that one of these pillars is more important than the others, but I believe that nutrition could be the most influential across this spectrum. Nutrition is the fuel for our gas tank. If it has made ‘Merica fat and sick. Well, why can’t our food make us healthy again? Food is medicine!! It fuels our brain, workouts, sleep….everything! Just “eating healthy” probably won’t help to change your lifestyle, you need to have a general understanding of what your food does for your body.
- What types of food are you eating? Food is medicine
- How much food? Too much of anything isn’t good…except Netflix
- What is your body type and carbohydrate tolerance? Endo, ecto, mesomorph…this will help determine the foods you can eat.
- Are there certain food groups causing inflammation? Bread might taste great, but it is probably getting your body hot…and not in a good way!
- Do you drink enough water? Digestion, metabolism…many bodily functions (being alive) rely on water.
- Do you maybe drink too much alcohol? If you ask “What is too much?” Then you know the answer to that question. 🙂
- Sleep – This could be the most underrated pillar in the bunch. As ‘Merican’s we sleep around 2.5 hours less (nightly) than we did in the 70’s. Sleep is our “reset” button which basically controls all of our hormones. (missed the sleep post?)
- How much sleep do you get on average? My bet is not enough, you need 7 hours minimum!
- Is your sleep pattern consistent? Late weekends…sorry, not good for long-term health.
- Do you struggle with food cravings? Sufficient sleep helps reset your hormones and can help kick the cravings.
- Are you not recovering from workouts? We repair when we sleep.
- Are you scared of the Boogie Monster? F$%^ YES!
- Environment – Our environment…yes, this includes the weather and climate around us but also encompasses our job, friends, family, financials, news….etc… Our “environment” is probably the least conscious of our four pillars since it is how we have lived our entire lives. This pillar could be having a huge negative or positive impact on your life and you might not even realize it. I am going to list some main points that come to mind, but there could be hundreds. The key related point to all of the following questions is going to be stress, which we will look deeper at in another email…but I just wanted to get you thinking about this subject.
- Do you like/hate your job? Probably, as does most of ‘Merica….a lot of this could be your perception too…more on this later.
- How’s your attitude? You think everything sucks…but you expect a positive outcome? You can do damn near anything you put your mind to…but to do anything, you first have to believe in yourself.
- Do you run day and night with your kids? Never enough time in the day and you struggle to say no.
- Do you have “your” time? hahahahaha for many parents…”my time” This is a must, and something that should be scheduled. You aren’t just a worker, chauffeur, chef…you need YOUR time too!
- Do you eat shitty foods? Shitty foods may taste great, but they don’t help with your cortisol levels.
- Do you have friends? We are tribal animals that need to be social. If you have friends…are they narcissistic assholes that belong on reality TV? Maybe it’s time to weed out some friends.
- Do you get outside? We spent what…a million plus years surviving in nature and now we go from climate controlled house, to car, to work (with artificial lights), back to the house. We are built to be outside, our bodies love it…our bodies NEED IT!!
- Do you watch the news? Stop it…no seriously, there is nothing gained by watching the news and you can get your weather on your phone!
- Keeping up with the Joneses? You are you, stop trying to be someone else and stressing yourself out!! I met the Joneses…they suck.
- Do you challenge yourself mentally? TMZ isn’t a brain teaser!
- Do you ask questions?
- Do you question the norm?
- Do you have conversations with people of differing opinions?
- Comfort, whether metal or physical is a long term cast.
- Movement – This category covers everything movement. Our ancestors would move 5+ miles daily for food…for hundreds of thousands of years! Now we circle the parking lot for 20 minutes to park as close to the store as possible!
- Do you move enough? 10k steps should be a daily minimum…on a lazy day!
- How is your mobility? “I’ve never been flexible!” No, you have never tried to be flexible! Our bodies are built to move 100+ years with minimal breakdowns (trauma aside), lack of mobility is a huge factor in quality of movement and the breakdown of the body. Why not stretch in front of the TV? Massage, chiropractor, dry needling, foam rolling…there are many ways to get unstuck.
- Posture? I’ll bet you just sat up straight?! Poor posture leads to a lack of mobility and stability.
- Do you workout or challenge your body? Our bodies have evolved through physical work and need to be pushed. Body fuels the mind, and strong active bodies burn more calories long term…thus living longer (with a higher quality of life).
If you are still reading this…then you must be really bored!! 😉 Anyway…those are my thoughts on a foundation for my, your…anyone’s life…nutrition, sleep, community and movement. There are many talking points throughout, and we will cover many in the future. I mainly wanted you to think about the foundation of your life and how all the variables in your day effect one another. Many variables you can control, many you can’t…but those you can’t control, you may need to change your perception when thinking about them.
Losing weight or getting ripped isn’t accomplished by doing just one thing…it is accomplished by the sum of your parts…you are the product of your pillars. Have a plan of that house you want to build, and work on building/solidify that foundation, one brick at a time. Thank you for your time and please let us know if you have any questions or comments. Have a great day!!