The Stacking Plan: what to eat and do
Often giving things up makes us want them more, making the whole exercise counter-productive. Sally Beare tells us more about her take on healthy living - Stacking Plan
Each week of the Stacking Plan, you read the relevant chapter and then put that week’s habit into practice. Apart from that, you eat whatever you normally eat. By the end, you should be on top of a basic optimum diet and also know why you need those nutrients, as well as feeling their benefits. You are also likely to find that you no longer crave or want junk foods, and if you do have them, they are much more manageable.
If you want to do the whole ten weeks at once, or make each week last longer than a week, you can do so. One of my Stacking Planners, musician Jethro Sheeran, was very busy and often on the road when he was doing the Plan, so some weeks he made last two weeks or more until the habit became ‘habitual’. He also had to find some ingenious ways to get the good stuff in, such as buying a bag of spinach, adding seasoning, and eating it like a bag of crisps.
What to do
There are four main lifestyle elements in the book. These are the key lifestyle factors I have pinpointed as being highly significant for health, based on a combination of scientific studies and my research on places around the world I call the Longevity Hot Spots, which I have written about in my other books. These ‘doing’ habits go hand-in-hand with healthy eating, with all five elements feeding into and enhancing each other.
We all know that exercise is vitally important for good health, and many of us are now aware that ‘sitting is the new smoking’. But who actually exercises enough? Only twenty per cent of us, according to a 2013 study.
It’s not our fault – we lead busy lives and work long hours at desk jobs. Experts recommend half an hour to an hour of exercise three or more days a week, but even that can be hard to fit in. So, if you can’t manage that, try adding in just a little physical movement into your day for now. It all helps – for example, just ten minutes of brisk walking a day has been found to improve heart health.
Tips for keeping moving:
Walk briskly to the tube or bus stop, around the block, up any gradient you can find, in a local park, up and down stairs, or wherever you can whenever you can during the day. Try walking for five or ten minutes every hour or two if you are normally sitting at a desk all day.
Work out at work: if you work long hours, see if your workplace can organise exercise classes at the office or invest in treadmill desks.
Keep a hula hoop at home and use it for five or ten minutes a day, perhaps whilst watching TV. Excellent for tummies, bums, and thighs – Beyoncé is said to be a fan.
Do housework: you can work up quite a sweat doing a bit of vigorous wiping and vacuuming, and it’s therapeutic too.
Go hiking, Nordic walking or cycling or play team sports at the weekends.
Join a fitness class near you such as yoga, pilates, circus skills, martial arts, or a dance class.