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5 Simple Practical Steps to Health and Happiness

Beyond Nutrition

When did it all become so complicated? Take healthy eating for example. We are bombarded with advice on what to eat and how to eat. Low carb, paleo, gluten-free, cold-pressed, juice it, blend it . . . it’s enough to make your head spin!

Why does it have to be so hard? We’ve been eating for centuries. Truth is that all healthy diets are based on the same principles. We know what to do, yet we are swayed – no, we are bullied – into thinking one fad diet is superior to another and if we don’t get it right we are going to miss out.

On the other hand there is a trend to over-simplify. Everywhere you turn, there is a quick-fix for something. 5 steps to flat abs, 5 steps to looking young, 5 steps to burn belly fat. As if living life can occur in 5 steps.

The downside to this fast-track mentality is not only the obvious, that it fails. But when it fails to deliver life’s virtues in 5 quick steps we become disillusioned and less likely to try again. Not a great set-up for self betterment.

But here is the reality: No sound bite will turn your life around. No fad will make you live longer. And no 5 steps will end your woes.

So, lets make a collective decision to abandon the 5 step, quick fix ideology and reject the over complicated formulas as well. Let’s chose to believe in the no-fad, no nonsense, work hard, be patient, life-is-a-journey philosophy that will ultimately give us joy, fulfillment and health. To that end, I have created my own 5 steps…

Step One: Breathe! Know that a healthy mind is the first step to a healthy body. So take time to meditate, think, process and plan. What seems like a failure today is just an opportunity to improve tomorrow.

Step Two: Sleep! Lack of sleep results in irritability, anxiety and an inability to focus on the important tasks ahead. Lack of sleep also results in a surge of hormones that result in insulin resistance and weight gain. At least seven hours of sleep is ideal, eight is even better.

Step Three: Eat clean. Chose fruits and vegetables, high quality proteins, unprocessed, unrefined carbohydrates. More fridge, less pantry. More from the earth and less from a package. More homemade and less store bought. Eat with family not technology and nourish your body.

Step Four: Stay active. Commit to a 30 minutes a day. Walk. Dance. Jump. Run. Do something. Anything that keeps your body moving. That 30 minutes a daywill keep your body strong and your mind clear.

Step Five: Have compassion. Smile at your neighbor. Compliment your co-worker. Listen to your spouse. Hug your children. Science shows that acts of kindness do more for you as the giver than they do for the recipient. Although it makes them feel pretty good too!

Above all: be kind to yourself!

Setting goals are important. But they should not be a prescription for self condemnation. Try your best today but remember there is always tomorrow.

This life is a marathon not a sprint, and with the right intentions you will reach the finish line one way or another.


Wishing you a happy and healthy you.

Article by Dr. Adrienne Youdim MD. Reprinted from Focus Magazine, March, 2016. 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

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