The 4 Pillars
These 4 pillars started off as a list of things that I learnt as I went along that I began sharing with others in the Lumen community but then I clearly saw how the key aspects contributed to my recovery and becoming strong. I call them my 4 pillars because they need to be aligned for us all to optimise our health and wellbeing. They all contributed to incredible fat loss, and a body composition beyond my wildest dreams at age 51 but more than that an amazing sense of wellness - spirit - body and mind. Neglect in any of these important areas of self-care will sabotage any of our personal and professional goals but most significantly our health. I will be developing some brief "help" documents for download in due course in each of these areas as well as signposting to some of the experts and their resources to read or listen to.
My stress levels prior to me experiencing a "burn out" were consistently high with my Garmin Fenix recording most days "you had almost no restful moments try to slow down and re-charge before you burn out. The Garmin produces this information based on heart rate variability measurements. What is clear is that average daily stress levels continually high will contribute to fatigue and burn out. Monitoring and managing stress was key to weight loss but is also key to good levels of consistent energy and overall health. If you are stressed your body is not usually able to burn fat as it is in "fight/flight" and will want/opt for a glucose supply, either broken down from what is stored or recently consumed. If it needs it the body will make it! Managing stress is key to overall health ! I highly recommend a good wearable device from the Garmin range to signpost and inform better decisions and healthy choices around almost everything! It helps me to pace myself better and listen to my body.
Eating brain healthy foods, the right balance of macros [protein, fats and carbs], eliminating refined and processed carbs and fats as much as possible will support a healthy metabolism, reduce cravings, maintain lower blood sugar levels and improve mood, concentration and energy levels. Avoiding the mood/energy /concentration "daily roller coaster" by eating well makes life's daily challenges a lot more manageable !
Gaining sufficient and quality sleep is crucial for good health, fat loss and overall energy levels. Preparing and prioritising sleep are important factors as this will help with ensuring you gain sufficient REM and deep sleep and wake rested and energised for your day. Lumen talks about "sleeping your way to a healthy metabolism" and this is undoubtedly true in my experience. I slept my way to a healthy recovery and continue to ensure my sleep habits are good so that my health is optimised. If you want to live longer and live well, think well, be well, sleep is critical. Have a look at this 3 minute TED TALK
Moving is also very important to overall health - from improvements to heart health, bone health, muscle mass, and brain health and preventing disease, the more we can integrate exercise into our daily regimes the more healthy our metabolism and overall health will be. The most important thing is to find activities that we enjoy are as we are more likely to sustain new habits when there is enjoyment and positive emotion. A good balance of cardio, strength and lower paced, more mindful activity will help to support both physical and mental health with their impact on brain chemistry and hormone levels. Many folks sigh at the thought of cardio but it really can be a brisk walk for an hour vs an hour on the treadmill or bike!