Dr Rangan Chatterjee’s “The Four Pillar Plan” – book review

I picked up this book on offer at Tesco. It had a big advertising featurette in The Bookseller, and I suspect that my buying it was not a coincidence. Here’s hoping that unsubscribing from The Bookseller will lower my book-buying budget!

I wanted to improve my lifestyle in some vague, effortless kind of way. This book had a nice, illustrated feel to it and is written by a qualified GP who has appeared on BBC. I thought I’d give it a go. Little I knew that I would become a convert.

This is not a book aimed for fitness fanatics. In fact, I would suspect I am younger than most of the target audience. But I found this book incredibly helpful. Especially, the section about healthy eating.

The premise of Dr. Chatterjee’s book is that there are four basic areas that we need to focus on: relaxation, food, movement and sleep. This is all fairly common sense, and there is much of this advice that I would be very tempted to ignore (including don’t use your phone as an alarm clock). But having said that, the section on healthy eating I found useful. I am a carbohydrate lover, absolutely hooked on bread and pasta. But Dr Chatterjee’s approach did not urge me to eliminate all carbs, which is already encouraging. His method is more focused on making sure that you do eat all the nutrients you need, and eliminate as many unnecessary sugars and processed foods as possible. Crucially, he provides something called a rainbow chart, which is now hanging on my fridge. It encourages you to eat a variety of vegetables during the day to ensure you get the nutrients that you need : Dr Chatterjee says it works very well for small kids – but I find it works on me as well. The focus is on vegetables – because all too often people focus too much on fruit containing high quantities of sugar. I do think the presence of the chart encourages me to pay attention to what I eat during the day.

The other useful part of the book is its focus on movement. Instead of a gym-obsessed, calorie-counting approach, the book endorses HIT and basic strength training. Another suggestion is to activate one’s glutes by a set of daily exercises which is supposed to help  reduce back ache. So far, it seems to be working for me.

I am now hooked to listening to Dr Chatterjee’s podcasts on ITunes.

If you’re looking for some basic tips on how to improve your health, this book is a good place to start.

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