Eat, move, sleep. No brainer, right? This is Tom Rath’s formula on fighting cancer. Our problems, the slightest of our disappointments, seem to fade away in the view.
For Tom, time is crucial. There is no room for unnecessary worries. Instead, he spends his precious days crunching the latest studies on how he can starve his tumors. Grace in the midst of a crisis becomes his best weapon.
Tom summarized the arsenal of living a healthy life, embodied in his book: “Eat, Move, Sleep.” His odds of living longer are decimated by cancer. In contrast, we have tremendous capacity to change the fate of our genes dramatically now.
Looking back, I didn’t put much thought in those three—I ate crap, barely moved, and slept less.
His book helped me re-evaluate my life. As with every habit formation, the first step is to know thyself. Our habits are deeply ingrained in us, so it’s imperative to take a step back, and see how we can form ours in our own pace.
I took Gretchen Rubin’s test and found out I was a Questioner (you can take yours, too). Questioners meet inner expectations without fuss, but it has to make sense. Being a Questioner, I had these on mind:
—What are the immediate benefits if I make it a habit to eat healthier? What If I do it long-term? For the rest of my life?
—What do I get from increased movement? How much time is enough?
—How much better will I feel if have enough sleep? Does sleeping more mean I’m going to miss out? Or my body will thank me more for it?
I needed to know the answers. So I eat, move, and sleep well. I got caught in the movement and never regretted it.
I was bordering overweight two years ago but now have lost 8 kilos. Gradually reducing my carbohydrate intake (especially refined ones like white rice and added sugar) and increasing good fats (eggs and avocados) have led to this benefit. I have PDA (patent ductus arteriosus, a congenital heart disease), asthma and PCOS. Watching my diet and sustaining it for the long haul has helped me avoid exacerbating my condition.
Running for 20 minutes at an endurance level three times a week has been liberating. I love that I feel light and energetic—one of the most notable changes I’ve felt since shifting. Plus, it gives me a tomato blush, quite the best part. Because I run and walk most days, I have attained the best slumber of my life.
These are no maxims. No one size fits all. So it helps to ask ourselves what piques our interests, how we can introduce these small changes, and how such changes make us feel.
Of course, going through a change can be challenging. Still, at the end of the day, we have the best say on our habits. We decide.
The good thing is that the first steps are the most difficult. As we conquer these self-made barriers, habits take shape, and we gain muscle: It becomes automatic.
Take a moment to look at how you eat, move, and sleep. And see what you can change in each aspect in small, concrete ways. It’s important that the three aspects work together: If you eat well, you’ll have the energy to move well. If you move well, it can help you sleep well, too. They lean on each other.
Also, no shortcuts. So slowly build on your diet, movement, and sleep. Guard against possible pitfalls. Create accountability if necessary. Cherish baby steps. When you add them up, it can only make your days brighter.