Walk ParkHow do you feel, right now, as you read this post or listen to this podcast?

Are you fully present, engaged, possibly optimistic about what’s to come today and in the coming days?

Or do you feel like you’re fighting a losing battle, sleep-deprived, or without a clear head, heart, and spirit?

If you are feeling less than your #BestSelf, you are unable to serve others well or to lead others well.

Living healthy is the foundation of effective service and leadership. It must come first.

What is a desirable standard for physical well-being? You don’t have to be a triathlete to qualify as “living well.” But you do need to know where you stand.

A commonly-used metric for physical health is BMI (body mass index), which uses height and weight to assess one’s body fatness. 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 valuable metric for physical health is to assess how you physically feel on a regular basis. If you have positive physical well-being, you feel energetic, optimistic, present, and enthused about life. Though your feelings about your physical health is a subjective measure, it is an important element of your well-being.

There are two main contributors to your BMI and physical well-being: food and exercise.

Food is fuel. The human body is a machine that expends energy in daily life. How you fuel your body contributes to your positive physical well-being or to your lack of it.

Traveling for client work caused me to struggle with my weight for years. The first food/fuel system that has made sense to me is Tim Ferriss’ Slow Carb diet. The basics are to eat lean proteins and vegetables, and to eliminate dairy, starches, grains, and fruits.

Meals are simple and tasty. Once your body gets used to your slow carb fuels, you feel stronger, more present, and happier. Even better: the diet includes one day off a week, where you can eat anything you want! This cycling of high calories actually helps the body’s metabolism.

The “no grains or flour” idea is reinforced in Dr. David Perlmutter’s new 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 – 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.

If you do nothing else with what you learn in this post, commit to eating a slow carb breakfast every day for two weeks. 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.

Adding exercise will help you feel better, stronger, sooner. The simplest exercise? Walking. Recent studies have found that as little as 10 minutes of walking daily improve cardiac heath and cognitive memory. Start slow and build up to 30 minutes walks once a day.

Consider getting a step counter to help you keep track of your fitness goals. The Fitbit One just got Consumer Reports top rating.

What do you think? How do you manage your physical well-being daily? Try the two-week slow carb breakfast test and tell us how you feel afterwards. Share your thoughts about this post/podcast in the comments section below.

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The music heard on these podcasts is from one of Chris’ songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). Chris plays all instruments on these recordings.

S. Chris Edmonds

S. Chris Edmonds

Chris helps leaders create purposeful, positive, productive work cultures. He's a speaker, author, and executive consultant. He blogs, podcasts, and video casts. He is the author of The Culture Engine and six other books.
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