My work with BNP Paribas allowed me a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the world's eighth largest bank. BNP's commitment to the development and support of an inclusive culture that cultivates the wellbeing of both the individual and the collective is extraordinary. As such, it's only natural that a compassion based model of high performance would fit so well.
The word mindfulness has begun to infiltrate all aspects of our lives and for good reasons. There may not be a more important role than mindfulness when it comes to nourishing oneself. We can begin with a basic understanding of the four macronutrients available for consumption: protein, fat, carbohydrates and alcohol. Understanding how each one of these macronutrients can be represented on your plate at each meal will have you ahead of the game from the start.
For optimum health and wellness, concentrate on the frequency, quantity and quality of each meal. With that said, frequency comes first as it is our lowest hanging fruit. How often and at what time are you sitting down to eat? Simply opening up our awareness of our day-to-day habits is increasing our mindfulness practice. Once we have established the frequency at which we eat, we can address the quantity of each meal.
When was the last time you looked down at your plate and thought, "I wonder how well the macronutrient profile of this meal will nourish my body?"
So many people just want to be told what to eat to accomplish some goal, be it weight gain or weight loss. The fact of the matter is, we lose the ability to truly venture into a mindful eating practice when we "don't want to think about what it is we are consuming". Eating does not simply nourish the body but it also provides copious amounts of pleasure when we indulge in what we enjoy. And the truth is, we ought to enjoy every moment.
Here we have the ability to revolutionize the way we understand wellness. As all the pieces converge, we can put into practice a healthy and holistic lifestyle in which we cultivate a community health standard. Let us all take the first step in implementing a mindful nutrition practice, as there is no other place more accessible than at home. Mindfulness begins at awareness. Conscious awareness of the quality, the quantity and the frequency with which you eat not only ensures a balanced diet but also lays the foundation to living an optimal life. When our bodies have been nourished well/mindfully, we have the building blocks to live a dynamic life. To nourish well is to live well. To nourish mindfully is to thrive.
In our efforts to educate the population, we must necessarily chip away at the rock that is the Crossfit-Biggest Loser-Bootcamp-Marathon running culture of American fitness. While none of the aforementioned is necessarily “bad”, they ALL fail to address the absolute foundation of health and wellbeing…MOBILITY. Mobility isn’t just the capacity to move sufficiently to survive the demands of daily life. To be fair, we have cars that park themselves, movie theater seats that fully recline, and suction cups on our putters that help to pick up the weighty PRO V we just bogied. To be fair, most of us don’t really have to move that much at all to survive the demands of our daily, privileged lives. So what happens? Well, what happens is the tissue that makes us who and what we are begins to die. Yes…die. The truth is, as we move our tissue less and less, thru its fullest and most natural range of motion, that tissue doesn’t get what it needs from the simple act of fluid, neurologically controlled, full range movement. As we tighten or stiffen over the years, more and more of our tissue begins to lose almost everything that classifies it as “living” . While the leading cause of death in the U.S. is heart disease, it’s becoming more and more clear that before the heart disease sets in, we slowly stop moving. We stop because it hurts to move. We stop because we simply don’t have to move. We stop because we don’t make time to move. The GOOD NEWS is, it’s all reversible! That’s right. Start moving today, through a fluid, full range of motion and your tissue will come back to life. Start moving today, without a target heart rate, or a number of miles to complete. Just start moving today, and tomorrow will be a better day.
Last year I returned from a trip to the Philippines, where as a Board Member of the Empower 2 Play Foundation, I was helping to educate and entertain over 300 of the country’s poorest children. Let’s just say I received an education of my own as well. The people I was lucky enough to meet, were among the kindest, most humble, and loving people I’ve ever known. While they own little to nothing, they have much more of what so many of us here in the U.S. work so hard to get. What they don’t have is options. They don’t have the option to eat healthier, join a gym, or seek professional guidance in their search for optimal health. Optimal health itself is really not an option. While not all Americans have these options, a good number of us certainly do. The question is, do we take advantage of them? Perhaps it’s time to reevaluate our relationship with our own health and well being. First, get some help looking into your body’s movement patterns, restrictions, and inefficiencies. Second, learn to correct them. Third, dedicate 10 minutes every day to taking care of your body by performing your Big 3 Movements to correct your greatest imbalances. Finally, find some time to sit with yourself and “come home” as I say. Making peace with ourselves is a big part of living a healthy lifestyle. It’s not all about sweat and half marathons. It’s about being kind to ourselves so in the end, we can perform the greatest exercise of all, being kind to others.