At our Rittenhouse fitness and wellness center we don’t want clients to have a “new year, new you” moment. Where you start again a frenzied journey to “finally” get healthy. As fast as possible.

After the holidays we may have gained a few pounds. And we may have skipped a few workouts. So extreme and speedy results look tempting.

And, our elevate fitness and wellness center team believes that the media encourages this. It makes good copy or posts. We’ve had clients and friends asking about HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training, Extreme Fasting, Micro-Dosing and Detox Diets. All are trendy. And all can be dangerous.

But here at elevate our fitness and wellness center team prefers a more traditional approach. We’re here to get and keep you healthy. Forever.

This usually involves fitness and diet. It may involve physical therapy and behavioral changes. But it never involves extremes.

We were pulling together our thoughts. Then we came across a NY Times opinion piece. Author and physician Yoni Freedhoff summarized the basics of being healthy in just 48 words. We couldn’t do it better.

So here are the 48 words:

Don’t smoke (2).

Get vaccinated (4).

Avoid trans fats (7).

Replace saturated fats with unsaturated if you can (15).

Cook from whole ingredients — and minimize restaurant meals (23).

Minimize ultra-processed foods (26).

Cultivate relationships (28).

Nurture sleep (30).

Drink alcohol moderately at most (35).

Exercise as often as you can enjoy (42).

Drink only the calories you love (48).


Dr. Freedhoff’s explanations make total sense (here’s the link again). And we like his blog Weighty Matters too.

And here are a few observations from our fitness and wellness center team about the suggestions:

Not smoking – a no-brainer. Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. And that’s responsible for almost 500,000 deaths a year in the US.

Get vaccinated – it’s a great disease prevention tool. Whether it’s the measles, polio or just the flu, why risk getting something that you can avoid?

Trans-fats – they’re bad on so many levels. They can increase obesity, raise your cholesterol and clog your arteries. That leads to heart disease.

Whole ingredients – clients tell us that it’s challenging. Our

Rittenhouse fitness and wellness center team disagrees.

Organic vegetables, whole grains and antibiotic-free meats have gone mainstream. Steaming things doesn’t take longer than microwaving a Hot Pocket.

Ultra-processed foods – see trans-fats. They’re bad and as Freedhoff notes engineered to make you eat more. As much as a full meal’s worth of calories per day. So, people get fat fast.

Socialize – we’re meant to interact with others. People who feel chronically lonely are as likely to die prematurely as smokers or the morbidly obese.

Sleep – little is more important. Sleep deprivation leads to obesity, heart disease, diabetes and more. Studies show that we all need about 8 hours of sleep to function well.

Alcohol – less is more. It causes almost 100,000 deaths a year. That’s just in the US. And increases risk of heart and liver diseases and diabetes.

Exercise – more is better in moderation. You can over exercise. And most of us don’t. Even moderate exercise increases your life span. This can be  as simple as taking the stairs or walking a couple of blocks.

Only drink calories you love – because liquids don’t fill you up. And there are lots of calories in many of our favorite drinks. From orange juice to red wine 6 ounces adds about 100 calories. And that’s mostly sugar which turns into fat.

Okay the elevate fitness and wellness center team admits these suggestions aren’t the newest or the sexiest. But we guarantee that they’ll help get you and keep you fitter. Because:

The Basics Work. Eat well. Sleep more. Exercise regularly.

As always if you have questions or want some help, we’re here. Just contact us.