The 4 Pillars of Health are the foundation of physical and emotional well-being. If your goal is to simply lose weight or you’re training for an event, It’s very difficult to reach those goals if even one of the pillars is weak
or in dysfunction. If goals are somehow reached despite weak pillars, it’s nearly impossible to maintain for an extended period of time. When the body is not in balance, things are bound to break down eventually.
How the 4 Pillars were born
In my 17+ years of experience, I’ve seen numerous cases of clients seemingly doing everything right, yet having difficulty losing weight or feeling healthy. In each case, one of their pillars was weak or non-existent. For example, I’ve had many clients who exercised regularly, ate well, and went to sleep at 10:00 every night but couldn’t drop weight. Inevitably it was their stress that was sabotaging all of their hard work. That’s how the 4 Pillars were born. Whenever a client tells me they’re doing everything right, but aren’t seeing results, we check the strength of each pillar and make adjustments. Each pillar is significant by itself, however they are often affected by each other.
It can be argued that nothing is more important to your health than the food that goes into your mouth. The food you consume literally becomes the cells in your body. Consuming the correct whole foods will provide the formation and regeneration of strong and healthy cells, tissue, muscle, and organs. However, consuming processed, toxic junk foods will lead to weak joints, inflammation, increased body fat and disease.
Food is also our primary source of energy. (sorry Red Bull, you’re not a real food and you only provide fake energy). Whole foods from nature come packaged with their own digestive enzymes to help us break them down, extract nutrients, and convert them into usable energy. However, when we process, refine, and alter foods from their natural state, problems arise. Many of these practices kill off enzymes and strip foods of their nutrients. This puts the body in a position where it first has to identify the food as a real food. The body then has to expend energy to create enzymes in an attempt to digest and extract any remaining nutrition to use. This is counterproductive. Food should give us energy, not cost us energy. This is why coffee and energy drinks are relied upon for fake energy.
Consistent exercise is vital for the health of our skeletal, cardiovascular, and hormonal systems. When most people think of exercise, they see it as a means for aesthetic gains. They tend to overlook the internal physiological effects of exercise. Although out outward appearance can tell us a little bit about our health, it can also be misleading. I’ve come across a lot of good looking, strong, athletic people that are completely dysfunctional and sick on the inside.
The body is a system of pumps that move energy through the body, and expels waste from it. If we aren’t moving, then we aren’t pumping. This will show itself in the body as stagnation, constipation, lack of energy, and the accumulation of fat. Consistent movement will keep our joints strong, maintain bone density, regulate hormones, boost metabolism, aid digestion, and (of course) keep us looking our best.
Proper sleep is the most underestimated of the 4 Pillars. Getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep is important, but the timing and quality of sleep is even more important. Our circadian rhythm, or body clock, dictates that we go through 2 repair cycles throughout the night…but only if we are asleep. From 10pm-2am we go through physical repair. This is the time that our muscles repair and grow if we’ve been working out. This is also when our organs go through repair. From 2am-6am we go through psychological and hormonal repair.
If we go to sleep after 10pm, these repair cycles don’t start later. We just miss out on them. Going to sleep at 2am gives us ZERO hours of physical repair. All the work we did at the gym breaking down muscle fibers will never pay off. If our organs and brain don’t get the repair they need, all physiological functions of the body will suffer. Cortisol will be released at the wrong times during the day, and we will likely suffer from adrenal fatigue. Remember, sleep is not just a time to rest. It’s a time to repair and grow.
Stress can override EVERYTHING. I’ve seen many people master the first 3 Pillars, but they still feel tired and can’t drop weight. More often than not, stress is the underlying factor. People who are high stress, high anxiety, or are chronic worriers typically carry more body fat, take more medication, and are much more prone to illness and disease. Fixing this pillar is a two pronged approach.
First, we must try to eliminate as many stressors as possible. We can’t choose our family, and it’s not easy to just quit our job. However, there are some stressors that can be avoided more easily. For example, ingesting toxins is a huge stressor to the body. Cleaning up our diet, and choosing healthier household and personal care products can eliminate a tremendous amount of toxins, and stressors to our body.
Secondly, we need to work on coping mechanisms instead of taking prescription drugs. Working on our mindset, aligning with what makes us happy, and daily meditation exercises are some effective tools for this. Stress is cumulative. If we can consistently step outside of the cycle even for a few minutes, it can significantly reduce the load on our body.
Mind Body Fit has recently began providing Holistic Health and Fitness Training services in Head of the Harbor and in Nissequogue as well as the greater Smithtown area.