So before we embark on this Biggest Loser Health Challenge I figured I would start with the basics. These are simple things a body needs in order to function well or at an ideal level. I call them the rudiments or basics. I briefly mentioned them in the last article on exercise (link). They are (in what I feel is the order of importance) 1) Sleep 2) Water 3) Food 4) Exercise.

Let’s start with the most important thing, SLEEP. By far sleep is the most important thing a body needs to function. If you don’t think so ask anyone who has a newborn baby at home. Not all bodies require the same amount of sleep. This is where it gets a little tricky for some folks.

In my experience, most adults need about eight solid hours plus or minus an hour or two. If you are getting adequate sleep you should not feel like you need a nap during the day. If you do you may want to talk to your doctor about doing a sleep study or some other investigating to figure out why you are not getting adequate sleep. This is assuming all is well and nothing is stressing you out in your life. But, as a general rule, just use good sleep hygiene and you should be okay. So, things like having a good sleep routine, going to bed when it is dark, when you are tired, not being overstimulated before you sleep (no Facebook, or just putting the phone down), limiting stimulants like caffeine, chocolate, nicotine or whatever keeps you awake, are some things you can put in to get better sleep.

Water does a body good. Bodies are made up of about 60% water. So it may seem obvious that water is pretty important to a body but most people don’t drink any or enough. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Most people drink things that pull water from the body. Things like caffeine and alcohol are notorious for drying out a body. And they probably are the two most consumed things in our country by adults. A quick medical tip, a lot of ailments that people come to the doctor for are headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and cramping which are simply due to a lack of water intake. There are some tricks to getting more water in your body. My personal favorite thing to get more water in my body is diluting pretty much everything I drink by first filling my cup half full of water. Hey, it works for me. Also, I find exercise (#4 see below) in general makes me crave more water. But, getting an adequate daily intake of water is an essential thing for all bodies.

Food. Now, once again, I preface this by saying I might offend a few folks on this one. Food is extremely important for the body. I will make it simple. By food, I mean real food. Not stuff in boxes or pills or supplements in bottles. When you walk into a grocery store most of the real food is along the perimeter of the store. The stuff that is in the isles, in boxes, is not really good. Real food goes bad if left out on a plate for a day. For example, if you leave a piece of fish, or chicken, or some potato salad on a plate overnight you do not eat it the next day or you will get sick. That’s real food. Real food attracts bacteria, fungus or any other critters when left out because it has nutritional value. Real food has a very short shelf life.

The other day I was at a party and my friend Corina mentioned that food from Natures, a local grocery store, goes bad faster than a more popular grocery store. And I thought to myself, well that makes sense as Natures doesn’t use a lot of chemicals and preservatives in their food. Real food needs to be eaten relatively quickly. The longer the shelf life, the farther that item is from real food. That being said, real food includes fats, proteins and carbohydrates in all forms. Just eat a balanced diet of real food with all of these elements and you will be fine.

Exercise. The last thing I wanted to go over is exercise. This is the fourth essential thing that a body needs in order to do well. Bodies have a purpose. That basic purpose is to move. Bodies are meant to be used by movement. If you take away the basic purpose of something that thing will stop having any use. In my experience, this is another thing that I see in my patients. The patients who tend to have more problems with their bodies are the ones who don’t use their bodies in the first place. They do not exercise. Their bodies break down and don’t function properly. And then the problems start to set in. Then they become introverted on their nonfunctioning body or body part. Medical tip, the usual cure to these body ailments is to get the body moving again on a gradient. See the last article on exercise. A lot of times we refer patients to physical therapy to do just that. Making a body move with effort is a game that all bodies need on a daily basis.

Sleep. Water. Food. Exercise. Make sure you put these four things in, meaning do them daily and your body will do you well for years to come. Hope this helps.

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