Another installment from the book Wellbeing by Tom Rath
With every bite and drink we take, we make a choice. We can select something that is a net positive and benefits our health or we can choose something that is a net negative.
- What we eat and drink, coupled with adequate sleep and vigorous exercise, make our bodies run much more effectively.
- Lifestyle changes are difficult to make. Therefore, we need to understand how negative choices affect us today. When we see the connection between short-term incentives enabling us to make net positive decisions in the moment, it helps us reach our longer term goals.
- Positive and negative daily decisions accumulate over the years and shape our lives and generations after us.
What we eat
- Eat more omega-3s from fish, nuts and seeds
- Eat less omega-6s from meat and vegetable oils
- Meals high in carbohydrates and sugar send a message to our brain to consume more
- Food with unsaturated fats such as avocados, nuts and olive oil signal our brain that we are full and we should stop eating.
- Eat vegetables with darker tones of red, green and blue
- Reds in apples, tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, red peppers, radishes, chili peppers and pomegranates.
- Greens in broccoli, asparagus, artichokes, spinach, sprouts, lettuce, arugula, collard greens, kale or Swiss chard.
- Blues in blueberries, blackberries, cabbage and grapes.
- Positive Defaults for your Health
- Make a shopping list and buy healthy foods at the store, so that your kitchen and refrigerator are full of healthy foods. Spur-of-the-moment choices are usually not the best.
- When eating out, choose a restaurant that serves mostly healthy food.
- Better yet, taking a nutritious meal to work is healthier and saves money.
- Only 30% of Americans get the recommended 30 minutes of exercise five days a week.
- People who exercise at least two days a week are happier and have significantly less stress.
- Each additional day of exercise—up to six days a week—boosts energy levels.
- On days when you don’t have 20-30 minutes to exercise, a mere 11 minutes of lifting weights increases metabolic rate, which helps burn fat throughout the day.
- One of the primary benefits to exercise is that you feel better about yourself and your appearance, and it boosts confidence.
- Getting a good night’s sleep clears stressors for the day before and gives us a fresh start on the day.
- Adequate sleep increases our chances of having energy and high wellbeing throughout the day.
- Adequate sleep allows our brain to process what we learned the day before and solve problems.
- People who get too little sleep (5-6 hours) are 34% more likely to experience a substantial weight gain.
- People who get too much sleep (9-10 hours) are 25% more likely to experience a substantial weight gain.
- Economics of poor health in our country
- Healthcare costs consume 16% of the US GDP and is on the rise
- Healthy Americans are paying a tax of $1,500 per year to subsidize unhealthy Americans
- Half of all healthcare cost are consumed by 5% of the population
- 75% of all healthcare costs are due to largely preventable conditions such as stress, tobacco use, physical inactivity and poor food choices.
- Creating sustainable change best happens in the context of community. For example, if you enroll in an intensive weight-loss program, after 10 months, the chances of your maintaining your weight loss is:
- 24% if you enroll alone
- 50% if you enroll with a social support group of three strangers
- 66% if you enroll with three friends or colleagues
People with thriving Physical Wellbeing effectively manage their health. They exercise regularly and feel better throughout the day as a result. They make good dietary choices, which keeps their energy high throughout the day and sharpens their thinking. They get enough sleep to wake up feeling well-rested and to process what they learned the day before—and to get a good start on the next day. People with thriving Physical Wellbeing look better, feel better, and will live longer.
Three Recommendations for Boosting Physical Wellbeing:
- Get at least 20 minutes of physical activity each day—ideally in the morning to improve your mood throughout the day.
- Sleep enough to feel well-rested (generally seven to eight hours) but not too long (more than nine hours).
- Set positive defaults when you shop for groceries. Load up on natural foods that are red, green and blue.