I often hear from clients and evolved members that they can’t exercise due to an injury or limited time. “So how can I still lose belly fat?” The good news is, you don’t have to have an intense exercise to burn fat. You just have to really dial in on the other environmental factors or what I like to call “pillars of health”.
The following pillars are the foundations to achieving robust good health, a great looking body, a strong immune system, boundless energy, complete mental clarity, increased productivity, happiness and self-confidence.
If you’re limited on one pillar (let’s say you just had a baby and are limited on sleep), you really have to dial in on a few of the other pillars in order for the lack of sleep to have a minimal impact on your health.
Keep in mind that some pillars must be mastered based on specific goals. If your goal is to be a body builder, you will have to work out…a lot. But if you’re just looking to stay lean, and you’re not metabolically broken, you can get away with working out a few days a week or just walking a lot throughout the day – you just have to dial in on the other pillars, like sustenance.
Here are the 9 pillars of health and how they can contribute to good health and well-being. Determine which ones you can really master and start dialing in.
1. Mindset –
This includes motivation, mindfulness, experiencing gratitude, developing a morning ritual for success, laughing, being intentional, empathy, mental challenges, new experiences, meditation, mind-body connection, personal development, finding meaning and purpose, and being “in the zone”
When you change false and self-deprecating beliefs, your actions and behaviors will change which change your results.
Connection with the subconscious is a powerful tool for getting results as well. Your subconscious mind controls all the processes of the body (mind-body connection). Anything that is captured in your subconscious will directly affect you in the form of emotions, circumstances and events.
Regardless of your religious affiliation (if any), feeling a connection with nature, a higher being or purpose cultivates spirituality, and is an important part of graceful aging and wellbeing.
2. Sustenance –
Food is not just energy and nutrition for your body but also information for your body. It’s used to communicate and influence every cell and gene in your body, telling it how to look, feel and function. The higher the quality of food (and supplements) you consume, the better messages your body has to do what you want it to do (like burn fat).
This is why it’s crucial to eat nutrient-dense, real whole food and drink pure water if you’re limited on exercise.
3. Stay Active & Play –
This includes walking, strength training (which will help you maximize fat loss, strengthen bones, enhance brain function, and improve metabolism), build muscle definition, increase speed and just move without thinking about it.
Learning to create a lifestyle around natural physical movement and unstructured free play can be a great way to get a workout in and not even know it.
4. Sleep and Recovery –
This includes quality sleep, intentional rest/down time, and workout recovery.
Sleep deprivation and overexertion (such as lack of improper workout recover) causes stress on the body which in turn, releases cortisol, a hormone that, in excess, can lead to fat storage, especially around the midsection. You also become insulin resistant which makes it difficult for your body to burn fat. Research suggests that appetite-regulating hormones (ghrelin and leptin) are also affected by sleep and that sleep deprivation could lead to weight gain. So if you’re sleep deprived, you are going to end up hungrier, you are going to be better at storing fat, and craving sugar.
Additionally, if you’re getting poor sleep, you won’t get the Growth Hormone release for building muscle and burning fat. It’s particularly important to get more of the deep, rejuvenate sleep that helps repair your body and organize and clear your brain.
5. Social Connectivity & Having Fun –
This includes accountability, doing things you enjoy, spending quality time with friends and family, experiencing love, sex, having emotional connections, giving to others, raising your happiness set point, relationships and communication.
Having a strong community and social connection that holds you accountable to take the actions necessary to create the results you want. This also increases your likelihood of sticking to habits and being successful. You are also more likely to stay in shape after the program is over. Sharing victories with others makes them a reality. This makes you more motivated to work harder and accomplish your goals.
The people we associate with determine our behaviors and habits so it’s important to surround yourself with people that have similar goals. Plus, everything’s easier and more fun with friends who share your interests!
6. Stress Management –
This includes stress root causes, neutralizing stress, becoming efficient, regaining calm, gaining nervous system health.
Stress of any kind, including physiological stress (job-related stress, family/marital stress, anxiety and phobias, lack of sleep, unresolved childhood trauma, low self-esteem, guilt, etc.) and physical stress (structured exercise (intensity, volume, & frequency), sports, manual labor or a highly physical job like construction, police, etc.) all elevate cortisol, which in excess, can lead fat storage, especially around the midsection.
The result of chronic overstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system is similar to chronic inflammation, in that stress can contribute to diseases and disorders. Stress can also cause binge eating and can affect your metabolic rate (how fast calories are burned) – you actually burn fewer calories when eating under stress than someone who eats the exact same thing but isn’t stressed out.
7. Symbiosis & Digestion –
The microbiome is the approximately 100 trillion microbes (bacteria, viruses and fungi – 10X more than human cells in the body!) that live upon and, mostly, within us. Research has shown that the connection between your body and your microbiome is the foundational key for optimal health and wellbeing. It can influence numerous processes in your body including your metabolism, weight, energy production, mood, immune system, psychological processing and thinking patterns (that’s right, mental health!), digestion, how much we eat and what we choose to eat, and the regulation of gene expression, which affects everything from disease risk to muscle growth.
The gut is often referred to as your “second brain. The microflora actually communicate with the cells that line the intestinal wall and “tell” your intestine what to absorb into your bloodstream and what to prevent from passing into your body. If you have more inflammatory “bad” bacteria in your gut, the “wrong stuff” can get through, which is called malabsorption.
Having a diverse and healthy microbiome is important for better metabolic health, less belly fat, and an easier time losing body fat. It’s important to build the symbiotic relationship between the microbiome and our bodies through the growth of a healthy gut flora and restoring the integrity of your intestinal barrier.
8. Sun Exposure –
Sun is essential for getting Vitamin D which affects over 1000 genes in the human body and serves as a substrate for sex hormones like testosterone, human growth hormone, and estrogen. It moderates immune function and inflammation, assists in calcium metabolism and bone formation. Sun exposure is also important for maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm (your sleep-wake cycle) which affects every cell in our body from the cardiovascular system, to digestion, immune function, metabolism, and endocrine/hormone balance. Learn more about getting vitamin D here and here.
9. Smart Supplementation –
It should be used to compliment your nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, not replace an unhealthy one. Supplements address nutrition deficiencies that may prevent you from achieving optimum health and reaching your full genetic potential.
Supplements are not a replacement for food and should be used for three reasons:
Now, I’m not saying you can watch an unlimited amount of TV or eat whatever you want and still achieve your desired health and fitness goals. What I’m saying is that the more you dial in on each of these pillars, the easier and faster the goals will come.
To get the last pillar or learn more about how to dial in on these pillars, pre-register for our health program here.