How do you feel right now?
Are you rested? Energized? Fully present and maybe even optimistic about your day & work?
Or do you feel like you are slogging through, sleep-deprived, and unable to think clearly?
If you are feeling less than your best self, you will be unable to serve or lead others well. You cannot pour from an empty pitcher.
Living healthy is the foundation for effective leadership and service. It must be a priority.
You don’t have to be a triathlete to live healthily. But you do need to practice healthy habits more often than not and know where you stand.
There are a variety of assessments and measurements that can help with this, such as
BMI (body mass index), which uses height and weight to assess one’s fitness. It’s not the only metric you should use, but it’s a fast and easy way to gauge how close you are to a healthy weight.
Another is to ask yourself to honestly answer this question: How do I physically feel on a regular basis? Do I feel energetic, enthused, present and optimistic more often than not? (Of course, there will be days where you feel less than your best, but I’m talking about how you tend to feel most often.)
There are two main contributors to your BMI and physical well-being: food and exercise.
Food is fuel. Your body expends energy daily that has to be replenished. How you refuel it either contributes to or detracts from your positive physical well-being.
Travel is a big part of my work and it caused me to struggle with weight for years. I found a food/fuel system that made sense to me and one that I could implement even while travelling. It is based on Tim Ferriss’ slow carb diet, and the fundamental approach is to eat lean protein and vegetables most often and eliminate dairy, starches, grains, and fruits. I found the meals to be simple and tasty. Once I got used to slow carb fuel, I felt stronger, more present, and happier. The plan also includes one day off a week, where you can eat what you want. This is also intentional because the cycling of high calories can help the body’s metabolism.
The “no grains or flour” idea was reinforced to me via Dr David Perlmutter’s book, Grain Brain. Perlmutter’s research shows that eating whole grains can cause dementia, ADHD, anxiety, chronic headaches, and depression.
Another key part of the slow carb approach is to make sure to eat breakfast! According to a 2011, NPD Group Study 31 million Americans skip breakfast. Numerous studies link skipping breakfast to increased risk of diabetes and coronary disease as well as a negative effect on mood, memory, and metabolism.
In addition to eating well, find the motivation to exercise more. Even just 30 minutes of walking (broken up into 10-minute segments if you need to) daily can improve cardiac health and cognitive memory.
Make sleep a priority as well. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Don’t shortchange this very important health requirement.
My approach may not be an exact fit for you. But I challenge you to change your mindset about food and physical health and think in terms of fueling your body, mind, and spirit. Research for yourself and become intentional about your food, your activity, and your rest. See how your changes make you feel and continue to tweak until you find that more often than not, you are enthused about life and have the energy to pursue all it has to offer.
The bonus? You’ll become an even more engaged, inspiring, effective leader, team member, family member, and community member.
PS: Tim Ferriss give tips on a three-minute slow carb breakfast if you’re time-crunched in the mornings. See how it makes you feel. If it works for you, keep at it and incorporate slow carb foods into the rest of your daily meals.