Natasha Whelehan joins us again today with a review of her latest non-fiction read, The 4 Pillar Plan by Dr Rangan Chatterjee.
You’ve climbed the cancer mountain, been through the rigours of active treatment and now you might want to make some lifestyle changes as part of your “new normal”. In a world filled with information on diet, lifestyle and wellness, the question can sometimes be, where to start? With so much often conflicting information it can seem like a minefield.
That’s why I really liked this book. If you want an accessible framework with suggestions for simple, easy-to-implement changes that can really make an impact on your overall health and wellness, then The 4 Pillar Plan is a great starting point.
Written by Dr Rangan Chatterjee, MD (known from BBC’s Doctor in the House), the book puts forward four lifestyle pillars:
Dr Chatterjee outlines each of his four pillars, and explains how he believes that making even small changes in each pillar can have a beneficial effect on your overall health and wellbeing. This in itself is quite different to many of the books out there which can tend to have just one, possibly two primary areas of focus e.g. diet and/or exercise.
This isn’t a rigid, day-by-day diet or exercise plan. Rather The 4 Pillar Plan is a nice mix of scientifically-backed information (don’t worry, the book isn’t full of medical jargon), combined with case studies and tips drawn from Dr Chatterjee’s experience as a doctor plus his own personal experience.
I loved that this wasn’t a formal step-by-step plan, but rather I could pick and mix what appealed to me and what would work for my lifestyle. At the end of each pillar, he makes five suggestions for how to make changes in this particular area, but success is not dependent on carrying out all five suggestions in every one of the four pillars. The book instead encourages balance across the four pillars – not perfection – and that’s something I really liked.
For me, sleep is an area I would like to improve so this was a pillar I went over more than once. I’ll definitely be trying a few of the ideas in this chapter, including leaving my phone downstairs at bedtime and introducing a ‘no tech’ period before bedtime. For you it could be the Move pillar. If it is, maybe the 5 minute kitchen workout is your starting point. Wherever you are, the book encourages small changes to start and offers useful, and more importantly, achievable tips on how to bring about these changes.
I listened to the book on Audible (currently my new favourite app!) but this format wasn’t ideal for the Move pillar as he talks through some exercises to help encourage movement in your glutes which I’d personally have preferred having a visual aid for.
Overall though, I really enjoyed the book. I liked the four pillar framework for looking at health and lifestyle and found the book easy to understand. Plus it got me thinking more about some of my habits and has given me some great ideas for improving my overall wellbeing.
About the Author
Dr. Rangan Chatterjee is a pioneer in the emerging field of progressive medicine and is changing the way that we look at illness. He is known for finding the root cause of people’s problems by taking a 360 degree approach to health, which was highlighted in his ground-breaking BBC One TV show, Doctor in the House. He is the resident doctor on BBC One’s Breakfast, a regular commentator on BBC Radio and gave an inspirational TEDx talk on making diseases disappear. He writes for The Huffington Post, Mind Body Green and has a monthly column on lifestyle medicine in Top Sante. He regularly lectures on his subject at events and conferences around the world.
Paperback £8.00, Kindle £10.63 on Amazon.co.uk