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Designing a Healthy Lifestyle

Lesson 2 of 5

The Importance of Lifestyle in Your Health

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Designing a Healthy Lifestyle

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Lesson Info

2. The Importance of Lifestyle in Your Health

Lesson Info

The Importance of Lifestyle in Your Health

So let's talk about the power of lifestyle remember when I say lifestyle? I'm referring to these four things you know what you eat your exercise, sleep and stress now off of course we know lifestyle is important we just talked about it, but there's one reason beyond the obvious that you should be being attention to your lifestyle for and that is epi genetics. Have any of you heard of epi genetics, a couple of you that's great. So epi genetics is the science that studies the influence off our environment and our lifestyle on gene expression, so this might be surprising for some of you because we tend to think that we're kind of stuck with the genes that we inherit. Well, it turns out that that's not quite the case and this is how it works, so we inherit a set of genes from our parents, and that doesn't change throughout our lives. However, a gene can either be active or turned on think of it like a switch, or it could be inactive and turned off, and one of the things that influences whe...

ther a particular gene will be turned on or off is our lifestyle. Okay? And this is really important when we consider inflammation and information is that chemical reaction in yourselves? I'm sure some of you have heard of thiss that starts the process of chronic disease ok, so that's a starting point in the cell and it that is influenced by the foods that we eat, whether we're sleeping on on how much we're stressing or I'll be managing our stress properly or not, or I'll be working out. So all of that influences this process of inflammation, and what we're finding out now from the science is that our lifestyle and practices like mindfulness and compassion on our ability to form strong social connections all of them can tone the sea switch off on the inflammatory jeans, and we want that right. We want information to be low and can turn on the genes related to immunity, so that makes us stronger and able to lead a healthier life isn't that amazing? That is the power of epi genetics, and that is a power off life stop, so let's, get back to this gap, right? This's great, we know lifestyle works, but, hey, I want to do it! I just gone seem to do it. So what I'd like to ask and I wantto see what the studio audience has to say, and definitely I would love to hear from the chat room as well. I just want you to tell me about one habit, one lifestyle change that he would love to make, and maybe you've tried in the boss to make, but it just hasn't stock and I also want you to tell me you know what happened what went wrong so anyone in the audience yes jennifer I have a sweet tooth yes and I find that when I'm busy and active it's not so bad that in between when there's not as much going on uh that sweet tooth gets the better of me that's for sure yes so thank you for sharing that jennifer so and I think this is a very common issue that a lot of us can identify with right so when we're active and when we're feeling good you know we seem to eat better but then when we're stressed out or sort of the slower periods of our lives we sort of resort tio our sweet tooth right? Is that great great thank you anyone else yes just with you know, exercising like I've always had a really hard time making that you know an actual routine in my life what kind of get it started for a little bit and then you know maybe you get stressed out something happens and you're not managing that well and you get distracted and so I'm less likely to keep exercising and that kind of just makes me feel worse yes and I so feel you being joseph I was there I was there and I had the exact same issue so it was again it seems like our schedules and sometimes there's a lack of time and and energy to follow through to our lifestyle gold anyone else want to share go um I like when it's time to relax I'd like to be able teo I think when the day is done and I've done you know, it's been in productive great day even sometimes my mind will still keep going and I'm not actually taking the time of the decompress yes, thank you for sharing that fatty mine actually you've touched on a point that we're going to address in just a second, so so hold on to that. Um rhonda did you wantto I was going to say the same thing about exercising, you know, just really wanting to not just get started, but to stay on that and not get distracted by all of the whatever else that happens that kind of throws you off the schedule. Yes, thank you for sharing that rondo in the chat room as well. A lot of people agree on exercise. Fred was all about the exercise and daisy says I would like to exercise more but only works when I do it with someone else who waits for me to show up. So it's hard to develop a regular practice and calm says meditation is something that he's tried to work on, but he can't can't stick to it kim stars says that trying to develop a work life balance and not working too much overtime and katie is working on her diet says wants to give up carbs in there to eat better yes thank you so daisy come andi all of you have shared your thoughts thank you so much so this is a big issue right it's usually time a lack of energy sometimes a lack of motivation sometimes a lack of resource is or even knowing what is the right thing to do all of thes air obstacles that sort of create this gap between wanting and doing something well we're here to address that gap so in order to understand this we need to get into our brains and it's really fascinating what's happening in our brains so it owns out there are two systems that control our behavior the first is our unconscious or fast brain okay so this unconscious or fast brain controls ninety five percent of our behavior ok and there is a reason for this so this unconscious fast brain was one that developed early on so it's sort of more primitive from an evolutionary standpoint and the reason it controls most of our behavior is so that it can protect us and the reason is that at any given point like right now for instance we are being bombarded by millions of bits of information sensory information that are coming at us eleven million bits per second now imagine a vehicle conscious brain had to sift through all of that information we would be completely paralyzed, right or and all we would go crazy so what the fast brain or the unconscious brain is designed to do is that it picks up that information it quickly gets into gear and it sorts out information and it recognizes patterns on develops shortcuts and then it quickly responds right? So it decides based on my experience throughout our life okay, if this sensory input is coming that's good grade I should go towards that or oh no, this is this is bad for me I should stay away from this ok? So it was designed to protect us the unconscious fast brain is also something that controls our instinctual and emotional behavior. So all of our emotional centers are in this fast brain and we're going to note later on how important this becomes thiss is also the part of the brain where all of our habits live all of our habits and our routine's live here so this is going to become very, very important as we'll see in a second this is ah habit loop and a habit loop consists of three things for any habit to form you first need a q a q or a trigger now this is some something that is either coming from inside you so for example when you're feeling anxious or stressed or it could be a trigger from outside the environment and that trigger then leads to a certain kind of routine that you have developed over the years or a behavior okay? And then doing that routine or behavior gives you some kind of instant reward so it usually makes you feel good in some way and because it makes you feel good then that sends a signal back in that in your far sprain saying, hey, you know, that was a good thing we feel good the next time that q happens let's do that behavior again ok, so for example, for angie when she was really young and feeling anxious she didn't know what to do so she would reach for a piece of chocolate that would be in her kitchen and eating that piece of chocolate would give her an instant reward, right? It felt good it felt soothing to her in that moment of stress and so this feedback loop was set up that was just reinforced every single time that she was stressed in the future. So do you see how that works? That's how these habits get set up in our brain on because this is the unconscious or fast brain now as an adult and she doesn't even consciously think of it, you know, when she stressed before she knows that there's something sweet and her mouth she didn't actually want to do it it just happened okay, luckily we have a conscious or slow brain now when I say slow it doesn't mean that this you know this part of the brain is actually really brilliant it just means that when it comes to speed it's not as fast as our unconscious brain this is a part of the brain that takes care ofthe all the logical rational adult matured good for you planning that needs to be done and this is also the part of the brain that sets goals so right now as we do this class and you're writing out your blueprint you're conscious or slow brain is the one in charge okay? Another important thing about this slow or conscious brain is that this is where our willpower and our attention reside okay and the's too are crucial because what we be attention to becomes important in terms of our behavior and then will power for sure I'm sure all of you have noticed is that it's very important to help you reach your goals but I'm sure you've also noticed that both attention and will bowel are limited resource is right we wake up in the morning joe's of wanting to exercise right but then by the end of a workday we're so tired and we've used up that resource of our willpower to make all of the decisions throughout the day that the last thing we want to do when we get back home is go to the gym right and so instead we go watch that netflix marathon or we call up that ex boyfriend we shouldn't be calling. Um, or we just reached for that cookie, okay, so that's, our unconscious brain stepping in because we've run out of, well, power and attention on the resource is of the slow brain, so I hope it's clear to you. Now, what is going on in your brain in terms of what is in charge of your behavior, right? But this is also good news because we're going to use this information now so that we can come up with a design that will work for us. The main take away I want you to hold on to is for your lifestyle plan toe work. You need to figure out a way to align the slow and the fast brain. Okay, we need to make thes to connect with each other more often and get on the same page. Ok, so we're going to see how that can actually take place. So one of the other things that were going tio incorporate into our design, as I alluded to before, was what designers use all the time and that's designed thinking now, one of the aspects of design thinking is that you put yourself in the shoes of the user that you're creating a product for right you try to figure out what their needs you know you empathize with them and you say what did they really want what's important to them so when we design our own lifestyle we start with empathy as well and the first thing about empathy is realizing as we've just seen that it's not our fault right it's not our fault that our plans haven't worked out so far it's not just the fact that we have a sweet tooth we don't need to blame ourselves for that right jennifer or the fact that we've wanted to exercise but haven't been able to so it's just the way up brains are wired ok so that's the first thing this is not about blame so push that blame away it's not that you haven't worked hard it's got nothing to do with you it's just a matter off our wiring so we start with understanding that the second saying that that weekend loan from design thinking is the fact that designers when they've designed a product they don't design the forcing and say ok that's it that's my master p's no they iterating iterating iterating they produce so many different versions right that's why we have like an iphone five and six and version seven and so on if the design process never ends and it's the same thing with when we design our life exiled ah common mistake that we make is we think ok, lifestyle design have to come up with this amazing plan and routine and then if I don't follow through with it, I'm a failure so that's absolutely not the case, so I want you to throw that thought out the window and what we're going to learn to do is we're going to literate, we're goingto tinkle with our plan, we're going to try something out we're going to see if that works and if it doesn't, you just tweak it and we'll change and we'll move along okay great! Finally along with design thinking, we're going to use mindfulness now mindfulness, as I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with is our ability to pay attention to the present moment and to bring ourselves completely right here right now without being stuck in the past was stuck in the future, and when we do that when we are mindful in any moment, it allows us to be very clear and have insights about what is going on, and then we can use that information to respond in a way that is skillful. So that is sort of the essence ofthe mindfulness now what's really interesting is if you've ever meditated or practice mindfulness, the instruction is always bring your focus back, bring your focus back to your breath over and over right that's always the instruction here's the cool thing when you do that you want strengthening the networks in the brain that connect your slow and your fast brain okay, what this means is that the next time you are triggered by your fast brain if you are mindful you will be more likely to be ableto pause breathe and say hey, I know I'm stressed but in the past when I reach for that cookie it didn't quite work out I felt good in the moment but really lousy afterwards and do I want to do that again? Maybe not right and you choose something different so mindfulness literally strengthens those neural networks that helped to align the fast and the slow brain and make it more likely that you will be successful in your plan and lastly, we're also going to use the power off compassion and compassion is a skill it's an ability to recognize when either you yourself or somebody else isn't pain but then to do something to take action to alleviate that pain. So we're really going to use all of our skills of compassion a little bit later on in our plant but just hold on to that idea. So with this understanding of the science and with this understanding off the different ideas that we can use let's get teo the actual plan and before we do that I do want to point out that I've put together research based evidence based guidelines for healthy choices in other words, you know there's so much information right now on the internet it gets really confusing what should I be eating low carb high carb you know, what should I do or how much exercise is good for me and so on? So what I've done is I've put together some key guidelines for you that you can follow to help you as you go about designing your plan, okay let's get to our plan so every time you see this little icon, it means we're writing something on our blueprint ok? So the first question and I'd like all of you at home as well as the studio audience to quickly take a minute and write down what is the lifestyle goal that you would absolutely love to reach for you health and what I'm going to do throughout the building of this blueprint is I'm going to use tom and angie as examples so that you can see how they worked their blueprint out as well. So for example, tom's goal wass manage stress and angie's goal was lose weight, so it doesn't have to be anything complicated just go with what are you most inspired to change? What is the goal you want to set right now, okay, so go ahead and write that down and the next thing after you've identified your goal is you need to know. Why is this goal so important and meaningful to you? And this is a step that most of us do not know to take it's, actually, something that can pretty much make or break your plan. And I call it setting your mindful intention.

Class Description

Eat better, move more and stress less, with a little help from science.

You know you want to make changes to your lifestyle and live healthier. So what's stopping you?

In Designing a Healthy Lifestyle with Wisdom Labs, you're in for some good news: you don't need to work harder to live better, it is more a matter of design. 

In this class you'll learn:

  • A surprising and impactful reason why lifestyle choices are so important for your health 
  • Which strategies work best (as proven by science) when designing habits 
  • How mindfulness can boost your chances of success 
  • What to do when you fall off the wagon (again!)
Rather than getting overwhelmed by all the changes you would like to make, come to class with a lifestyle goal in mind. By the end of Designing a Healthy Lifestyle with Wisdom Labs, you'll have a clear road-map on taking the first, next step and building on it till you get to the lifestyle you desire. 

Class Materials

Bonus Material

Guidelines for Healthy Choices

Bonus Material

Blueprint - Design My Lifestyle

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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What a great class!! Parneet shares some great insights and tools that break down why we procrastinate or don't act on our goals. The science behind it is pretty fascinating. My favorite part was that it was short! Don't get me wrong, I'm a big creative live fan and customer. but sometimes the long classes become overwhelming and hard to follow. Absolutely recommend this 100% I'm exited to start applying her concepts and see what happens!

Nena Metelo

I enjoy the way Parneet explains, so calmy and eloquently, small triggers that help big life-changes. She helps us find and integrate in everyday habits the really small and easy steps we need to help us achieve grand goals.


Parneet is an intelligent, warm, and engaging person. It is amazing how much I got out of such a short course/lecture. She explains everything very clearly, and I know that her strategies are going to help me live a more fulfilling life. Thanks, Parneet!