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Why BodyWHealth? It’s simple. To prosper, you need to unlock the powerful linkages between mind, body and emotion. When you do this, you open yourself to a life of abundance. There is no bigger prize. It starts with your body. To support a life of extraordinary achievement, joy and fulfillment, you have to build the vessel to carry you there. Here is how you prepare for WHealth …
People often ask me to share the single most valuable thing they can do to secure BodyWHealth. My response is unequivocal: run from the flames. Unless you do something about it, you will be consumed by the inflammatory fire that causes degeneration and decay; you will die early and live poorly. Exercise reverses this, driving rejuvenation, youth and health. So, the first Golden Rule for BodyWHealth is to walk at least 10,000 steps on at least 5 days of every week for the rest of your life. What should you do next?
My answer again is unequivocal, after exercise, the most valuable thing you can do to achieve WHealth is to ensure that you control your weight. The reason is simple. Excess weight, especially in the form of abdominal fat is toxic. It fuels the systemic inflammatory overload that causes decay. Our body maintains a delicate balance. Inactivity and obesity drive the pro-inflammatory armies that break us down. Inflammatory cells thrive in fat – it’s like a powerful turbo-boost for the bad guys.
The origin of excess fat is very easily explained. It relates entirely to your energy balance. When you consume more energy than you need or use, your body very smartly packages it away for a day of famine. It’s part of our evolutionary design. The problem is that modern men and women (in developed countries) seldom face famine. On the contrary, we have too much readily available food – the sizes of our meals are increasing, and the energy content of our food is also rising. So our energy intake is higher than we need.
Worse still, we are largely a sedentary population. Modern technology and society do not require the levels of activity we were designed for. So, we burn less energy and eat more. The result is that our well-intentioned bodies store fat; and this excess fat incites the inflammatory army and accelerates decay. This is a deathtrap!
How do we restore the balance? We need to burn more energy – this is one of the reasons for the first Golden Rule. AND we need to reduce our calorie intake. Research has shown that the most effective way to reduce calorie intake is to track your calorie consumption. Awareness is key. When you count the calories you eat every day, and with every meal, you eat mindfully, and limit excess. Not surprisingly then, the second Golden Rule for BodyWHealth is to Count Calories.
The good news is that weight loss (especially when combined with exercise) makes a huge difference. It reduces your risk of premature death and the scary diseases that keep us awake at night! And there is even better news: it doesn’t matter how much you weigh when you start. Losing weight from any starting weight (unless you are underweight already) has benefit. You don’t need to reach ideal weight in order to start significant gains.
So, once you’re counting calories and headed towards your ideal weight. What else should you think about?
One of the easiest places to lose excess calories is by watching what you drink. Almost 200,000 deaths a year are directly attributable to sugar-enriched drinks. There are many good tips on avoiding this dangerous trap. The good news is that the general population is increasingly aware of this hazard, and it’s becoming easier to choose healthier drinks.
One of the surprising drivers of obesity is poor sleep. We know that good sleep habits prevent the accumulation of body fat. We also know that you make better food decisions when you’re well rested. Also, sleep has been shown to suppress obesity genes. We sometimes think that sleep deprivation only makes us tired. Wrong. It’s a powerful WHealth drive, and helps you achieve your ideal weight.
I feel very strongly about your destructive relationship with your bathroom scale. Instinctively, the first thing many of us do when we decide to lose weight is to replace the batteries in our bathroom scale and weigh ourselves regularly. This is the last thing you should do. In fact, it is very dangerous because it leaves you perpetually focussed on the problem rather than the solution. If you need more convincing, read the full blog about this, and then throw your scale away!
Counting calories and controlling your weight is a simple, but not necessarily easy goal. There are many stumbling blocks on the journey. But It’s a very important one. Sometimes, after you start losing weight, you get stuck. You’re doing all the right things, but your weight plateaus. You may be moving too fast, even eating too little. Your body is smart and compensates. I urge you to read the full explanation of this important phenomenon, and be patient!
You also need to understand why you are over-eating in the first place. It may be that you’re surrounded by too much temptation, or you simply love food. It may also be that you’re comfort eating. This is a far more complex situation and requires more careful attention – sometimes even professional help. My general rule of thumb is to ask where I feel the hunger. If I feel it in my belly, it’s probably genuine physical hunger. If I feel it in my head, then it’s probably an emotional hunger instead.
Finally, I insist that you record your calories in a log, especially if you’re new to BodyWHealth and new to counting calories. You can use simple pen and paper, or there are fantastic modern tools to help you. My favorite is the smart phone app MyFitnessPal. I use it to log my calories and my steps. It doesn’t matter how you do it. Just do it!