Dr Rangan Chatterjee never set out to write a book but following his hit TV show, Doctor in the House, he had significant interest from publishers.
The 4 Pillar Plan is Dr Chatterjee’s blueprint for how to live well in the modern world. It divides health into four pillars; diet, sleep, movement and relaxation. Dr Chatterjee believes that by making small, manageable changes in each of these areas we can all find and maintain good health and avoid illness. Since its launch in January, the book has sold more than twenty thousand copies, reaching bestseller lists in bookshops and on Amazon.
“I’ve been very lucky,” he tells me, genuinely surprised by the book’s success.
Writing the book gave Dr Chatterjee the chance to reflect on his practice and forced him to better understand his pioneering ideas. “I think the way we’re collectively living our modern lifestyles is having a negative impact on the way many of us feel,” he says. He believes that in 80% of patients he treats, illness is driven by poor lifestyle choices. “The way to fix this is not through drugs but to make small, achievable changes to the way we live.”
After spending years exploring how medicine is practised across the world, Dr Chatterjee has come to adopt a 360 degree approach, looking at lifestyles and understanding the root cause of illness. It is this ground-breaking approach which has been highlighted in his TV show and made him a popular voice in the field of progressive medicine.
“I want to empower every single person to become the architect of their own health.” ~ Dr Rangan Chatterjee
The 4 Pillar Plan draws on Dr Chatterjee’s sixteen years as a practising doctor and decade-long experience as a GP. It cites real life case studies to demonstrate success stories and interweaves these with useful tips and sensible advice. The book starts off with relaxation which seems apt for our ‘always-on’ culture. Dr Chatterjee suggests an electronic sabbath, of foregoing the use of smartphones an hour before bed and an entire day without screens. The very thought might be terrifying but it makes perfect sense. In the section on diet, he warns us about our overreliance on sugar. Later in the book, he encourages us to do some form of strength training twice a week, reminding us that muscle is the forgotten organ and in the last part on ‘Sleep’ he shows us how to create an environment of absolute darkness.
“It’s not about the perfect diet or the perfect gym routine, it’s about balance.” ~ Dr Rangan Chatterjee
I’m particularly drawn to things that seem do-able for a deskbound writer and both the five minute kitchen workout, (just three times a week) and the advice to spend twenty minutes in the light every morning seem like tools I can easily adopt into my routine. Once I’ve mastered these, I can see how I might have a go at things like a gratitude journal and a micro-fast.
With so many people looking for a quick-fix in the New Year, you might be forgiven in thinking that The 4 Pillar Plan is another clever marketing ploy selling us all hope. I found it to be quite the opposite. In a culture that’s been pulled into extremes, where so much information and misinformation exists on what to eat, how to exercise, low fat, no carbs, or whatever it is we’re supposed to be doing, it seems to me that we have forgotten even the basics on how to live well. Dr Chatterjee’s book serves as a timely and much-needed reminder of how to do just that.
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 the first series of his ground-breaking BBC One TV show, Doctor in the House, which airs its second series this May. 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.