1-Sentence-Summary: The 4 Pillar Plan is your guide to the right diet, exercise, relaxation, and sleep decisions that will improve your health dramatically.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
If one day you saw a rash on your arm, what do you think you might do? Most people might visit the doctor who would likely prescribe some medicinal cream to make it go away. The problem is, although your rash might go away, there’s no telling where it came from in the first place. You could have problems with your immune system, for example, which the doctor would have completely overlooked.
What modern medicine does is often treat symptoms rather than get to the root of our physical ailments. A better way is what author Rangan Chatterjee calls progressive medicine. This pattern focuses on the interconnectedness of bodily systems instead of just the visual aspects of our medical issues.
Rather than being reactive, we ought to proactively seek to build healthy habits of relaxation, eating, movement, and sleep. These are the pillars of health that Chatterjee refers to in his book The 4 Pillar Plan: How to Relax, Eat, Move and Sleep Your Way to a Longer, Healthier Life.
Here are the 3 healthiest lessons I’m practicing after reading this book:
- Sugar is terrible for your body and we need to de-normalize it.
- Movement is greater than exercise for physical fitness, and incorporating it into your day is more simple than you think.
- The value of sleep isn’t just about how many hours you’ve slept but the quality of that sleep also.
Do you want to wake up and live each day with energy and vibrance? Read on to discover how you can!
Lesson 1: One thing that everyone’s diet can use to improve health is less sugar.
I recently read an article about a woman who gave up her vegan diet after many years on it. She had begun to feel groggy and strange. After learning about orthorexia, or the disorder of eating too healthy, she knew she had to change. Once she added a little more meat and other foods to her diet, she began to feel much better.
In the comments, I saw some vegans disagreeing with her decision. But their thoughts reflected something I was thinking also. It’s the truth that we’re all different and foods affect each of us in various ways.
But one thing all doctors can agree on with every diet is that we consume far too much sugar.
You may think you’re good at avoiding sugar. Unfortunately, it’s normalized nature in our lives makes this hard to do. Our breakfast cereals, granola bars, sports drinks, and just about everything you love to eat is riddled with the stuff. To fight back, we each need to de-normalize sugar.
This starts with knowing what’s in the foods you already eat. Check labels before you buy. Be careful to learn and watch out for the many different words that companies use to disguise sugar to get you hooked on their products. Anything ending in -ose is a sugar, so watch out!
Lesson 2: Focus on moving more throughout each day rather than exercising too little or too much.
Did you know that people who regularly run marathons may develop similar heart conditions as people who don’t move much each day?
A problem that many of us have is that we either exercise excessively or not enough. And what’s worse is that we maintain the mentality that it must be an either-or thing with exercise. This leaves most of us stressing out over not enough time to do our workouts. Or worse, giving up entirely because we just can’t fit it in.
A better way is to focus on movement each day rather than exercise. According to the author, we should make this a change in how we speak, too. We should remove the word “exercise” and say “movement” in its place. But how can we get more movement in our schedule?
The easiest option is to incorporate more walking. I’ve had a Fitbit for nearly five years now and that little reminder it gives me to walk each hour is really helpful. Sticking to my walking habit has helped me lose weight multiple times after regaining it. Thanks to walking I’ve maintained a steady weight over the last five years rather than gaining.
Additionally, trying some simple strength-training exercises can help. These don’t have to be strenuous or time-consuming. They can be as easy as doing a few lunges, push-ups, or squats on your break at work.
Lesson 3: Quality of sleep is a vital component of overall health that you may be overlooking.
Have you ever wondered why you feel grumpy or tired all the time? It’s interesting that so many of us struggle with these and other frustrations and we fail to realize that the solution is simply improving our sleep.
Our bodies, including brains, emotions, muscles, and everything in between, cannot function without sleep. That’s because sleep is the time when your body takes out all the waste that cells build up when you’re awake. This is what makes getting your z’s improve your energy, attention, and learning capability, among many other things.
Getting the right number of hours of sleep is important, but did you know that the quality may be more important than that? If you’ve ever slept eight hours and still woken up groggy, you know what I mean.
Improving the quality of our rest is as simple as evaluating it against three standards:
- Do you feel refreshed when you wake up?
- Do you wake up at around the same time each day without an alarm?
- Can you fall asleep within 30 minutes of laying in the bed?
Even taking a quick moment to rate yourself in these areas right now will put you on the path to better sleep! Other ways to improve sleep include embracing darkness at night time and getting into a bedtime routine. You can also arise and retire to bed at the same time every day.
The 4 Pillar Plan Review
The 4 Pillar Plan is a great book that everybody needs to read! I’ve always known that diet, exercise, and rest were important, but some of these lessons are new to me. I’m excited to try them out and improve my health and energy!
Who would I recommend The 4 Pillar Plan summary to?
The 28-year-old who works for a startup and always feels burnt out, then 57-year-old who has type 2 diabetes, and anyone who wants to have more energy and feel better.