Hippocrates, a Greek physician who lived around the time of 460 B.C., summed up health with simple and powerful messages. Over time his messages have clearly been forgotten by many because as of today, health is now considered an extremely tough concept to understand.
Eating balanced diets, exercising properly, sleeping well and avoiding over-consumption have become very difficult for millions of people throughout the world. With diseases like diabetes and obesity rates increasing throughout the world every year, I believe it is time to get back to the simple Pillars of Good Health.
There are thousands of different diets, pills and exercise plans for anyone looking to lose weight, gain control of their diabetes symptoms or even become more physically fit. Regardless of the seemingly unlimited information and resources available, obesity and diabetes rates continue to rise. So what’s the deal? Why haven’t these solutions helped more people take hold of their health?
One of the reasons for this is that many people do not have the support structure needed to progress to their optimal health. Excuses like “I don’t have the money to eat healthy” or “I don’t have the time to be physically active” are easy to debunk. Within our Facebook Group for our 21 Day Jumpstart Challenge, we have talked at length about the types of excuses and how to mentally overcome them. It’s because we can talk through what holds us back from good health and share stories of struggles and successes that people have become more honest with themselves and more accountable for their own health.
When I talk about the Pillars of Health, I take into account that many people are starting out behind the proverbial eight-ball a bit. I understand that we can’t snap our fingers and start over with a clean bill of health. I believe that’s exactly why combining the four pillars of health with a support structure of peers and specialists you can achieve the goal of optimal health.
Let’s first talk about a couple of Hippocrates’ simple and powerful messages and how you can apply them today.
“Everything in excess is opposed to nature.”—Hippocrates
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “everything in moderation.” This quote is from Aristotle, another Greek philosopher, who said, “The virtue of justice consists in moderation, as regulated by wisdom.” The main takeaway, then, is to understand that the “excess” we battle every day is artificial ingredients and sugar. We consume massive amounts of artificial ingredients and sugar on a daily basis consciously and unconsciously. Becoming more aware of what we eat on a daily basis is the first step to avoiding this excess.
“Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease”—Hippocrates
“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates
Our bodies are made to fight and adapt to diseases. We only need to give our bodies the resources and support to do that. A very powerful thought to hold onto is this: Eating healthy (whole and natural foods), sleeping well and being physically active are enough to fight and defeat common diseases without the help of modern medicine. On the other hand, eating processed and unhealthy foods on a daily basis feeds disease.
The Four Pillars
The Four Pillars of Good Health are: hydration, nutrition, sleep and physical activity. Let’s go over these one by one.
With all the options today to quench thirst, it’s no wonder we forget to drink enough water on a daily basis.
This is one of the first things we talk about with our members of the 21 Day Jumpstart Challenge. Drink 64 ounces of water a day and eliminate sugary and artificially sweetened beverages. The progress our members achieve within the first week from just changing their liquid consumption is amazing whether it’s staying properly hydrated during sleep and waking up less groggy, having lowered their blood glucose levels to a more normal range or having fresher-looking and feeling skin.
Drinking pure water allows your body to function normally and cleanse itself without the aid of any fancy “detox” liquids. Think about what you drink on a daily basis and how much of it contains artificial ingredients and sugars. Now think about how those ingredients are building up and being processed within your body. Our bodies can break down natural foods with no problem but were never meant to break down and cleanse themselves of chemically engineered ingredients. Keep that in mind and drink more pure naturally flavored beverages.
You already know that eating habits have a lot to do with weight loss and weight gain, and that eating well can make a major difference on the way you feel. Nutrition is all about balance. Many times we find ourselves totally out of balance, eating too many carbs and sugar in place of nutrient-dense vegetables and lean proteins.
Unhealthy foods have become less expensive and more convenient to find for the last couple of decades. This convenience has unconsciously created routines so that people incorporate unhealthy foods into their everyday lives. We are now less likely than ever to think about the nutritional value attributed to the food we eat.
Instead, we’ve simply replaced sensible balanced eating with emotional eating so we’re more concerned with eating to make ourselves happy than eating to make ourselves healthy. There’s instant gratification in eating sweet and savory unhealthy foods, but there’s the ultimate long-term gratification of good health when we eat vegetables, complex carbs and lean proteins.
We look to find balance throughout every aspect of our lives. During our 21 Day Jumpstart Challenge we focus on stringing together days of good nutrition while reminding everyone that staying balanced does not mean never having a cookie or piece of cake. It’s about making the right choices more often than not. The way you choose to eat does not have to be “all-or-nothing.” In other words, you do not have to pile one unhealthy food on top of another.
Think about a standard fast food meal. Cheeseburger with fries and a soda/diet soda. You’re eating a non-lean protein, with simple carbohydrates and saturated fats and washing it down with tons of sugar or artificial sweeteners. But what if you instead had a cheeseburger with a side salad and a cup of water?
The point is to think of balance. Add more lean protein, complex carbs and nutrient-dense vegetables to your diet and remove the non-lean protein, simple carbs, saturated fats and sugars. Nutrition is all about balance.
All human beings need sleep. But it’s what happens when we sleep that matters. Our bodies cleanse themselves of toxins, repair damaged cells, boost our immune systems, accelerate healing wounds and provide sustained energy. Although we all have different sleep routines and patterns, the one commonality is that quality sleep makes a huge impact on everyone’s overall health. For those with diabetes sleep is incredibly important to keeping your symptoms in control and improving your overall sense of wellbeing.
Nowadays, however, we’ve found ways to avoid getting the right amount of high-quality sleep. These ways vary from work to a highly active social life or simply not wanting to miss out on daily activities. We’ve pushed sleep down our priority list, and it usually becomes one of the first things we give up when it comes to finding enough time to complete our to-do lists.
However, there’s no way around it, improving “quality” of sleep is an absolute must if you want to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. It is the ultimate pillar in my mind because with a good night’s sleep you enjoy a more positive mood and have the energy you need to achieve anything throughout the day.
Being physically active on a daily basis is a daunting thought for some of us. You may think of gyms, running and the explosive movements of athletes. But to be physically active, you just need to get up and walk! It’s as simple as that. Walking for 20 to 30 minutes a day can help you burn excess calories, lower your blood sugars, reduce stress and improve your metabolism.
However, many people struggle with this. They become too comfortable relaxing on the couch or sitting at the computer throughout the day. I usually think about the idea of inertia: A moving body will tend to continue to move, while a body at rest will tend to stay at rest. Most people are stuck at rest and have forgotten their bodies need physical activity to continue to function properly and retain strength.
No matter your age, weight or level of physical ability, you must find time to do some sort of physical activity. It can be simply walking or doing some upper body stretches with a resistance band. All the physical activity your body needs you can do in your home or in the immediate area outside your home. The benefits of being physically active compound daily and can improve your quality of life in the long run but you have to get up and get moving.
Smart Diabetes Solutions Mission
One thing we have found to be profoundly effective and beneficial for our members’ in regaining their health is support. We’ve witnessed what our members can do when they combine quality resources with the daily support of peers and specialists. When we first set out to help those affected by diabetes, we believed it was a matter of providing the most comprehensive materials possible in an easy-to-use format. That is just a small part in helping those affected by diabetes to establish lasting healthy habits.
What has really proved to work is gradually introducing new healthy habits along with daily support. That daily support you will find in the 21 Day Jumpstart Challenge Group or The Complete Wellness Membership Group. Our specialists are in the groups daily doing everything we can to provide helpful lifestyle ideas and answer questions. Please feel free to check out our 21 Day Jumpstart Challenge here.
For our graduates of the 21 Day Jumpstart Challenge, you can find your next challenges inside our Complete Wellness Membership here! The Complete Wellness Membership focuses on helping you build each of these four pillars into your life.
Our philosophy is about building a foundation that will allow you to continue to progress towards great health and well managed diabetes for life. The results of this can mean more energy, more confidence, more stable levels, improved mood and so much more. This process takes the overwhelm out of change! Not only will you find brand new monthly challenges inside the program, but you’ll also find weekly meal plans with delicious low-carb recipes, exercise videos, mini-nutrition classes, log books and so much more! Click here to learn more about the membership now!
Hi I’m Kyle Jensen the Wellness Coach at Smart Diabetes Solutions. Through poor eating habits and an inactive lifestyle I put myself in a bad state both physically and mentally. After years of retraining my mind and body I decided to take my newfound understanding of health and help others in their journey. I remember the struggle and how many times I almost gave up. Now I want to help others who are overweight or have Diabetes live a happier more healthy life.