Dr. Chatterjee sits down with Jay Shetty to discuss transforming the health industry
What would you do if your doctor prescribed eating dinner as a family as a cure for your health?
It’s unusual, but that is a prescription that Dr. Rangan Chattergee has been handing out to his patients for the last decade, and it’s making a difference. His focus on discovering and addressing the root cause of people's health problems is changing lives.
Dr. Chattergee’s list of accomplishments is long. The British doctor and international bestselling author is the host of “Feel Better, Live More,” the biggest health podcast in Europe and the television show, “Doctor In The House.” Recently he had the chance to sit down with Jay Shetty at the On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast and discuss simple health hacks.
Simple is Good
At first glance, Dr. Rangan Chatterjee’s mission to help 100 million people feel fantastic by restoring them to optimal health seems massive. How does one person even begin a task that large? The answer is actually much more simple than you may think – one patient at a time.
After practicing medicine in England for 20 years, Chatterjee began to notice trends. Financial status, education, and family background didn’t seem to be indicators of the illnesses people presented with. People of all walks of life were setting foot in Chatterjee’s office with problems he knew a pill would not solve.
Chatterjee committed to focusing his practice on two things:
- Making health simple and accessible for all
- Communicating with patients in ways that inspire them to make changes for better health
Chatterjee explained, “I think so many people feel like health is too complicated. And one of my big aims is to try and simplify it.”
Jay Shetty wishes he’d grown up with that focus. He grew up overweight but lost most of it at age 14 years old. He didn’t grow up with a good relationship with health.
“The interesting thing was that I developed this feeling that health just meant not being overweight, and I didn't realize there was so much more to it,” Shetty said.
Don’t Put The Cart Before The Horse
Simple is good, but does it translate to results? Many set big goals, like committing to 45 minutes at the gym five days a week. Go big, or go home, right?
This all-or-nothing approach can be crippling. Either they are overwhelmed before they get started, or they only focus on one area of improvement and neglect others. Both scenarios will lead to a lack of results. Instead, Chatterjee encourages Jay Shetty listeners to take a different approach than the all-or-nothing. Start small, be balanced, and expect results.
“Small things done consistently make a huge difference,” said Dr. Rangan Chatterjee. He encourages his patients to practice balance by making small changes in each pillar instead of trying to completely transform one.
“Whatever change we're trying to make in our life, it doesn't have to be this big unattainable goal,” said Chatterjee. “We can break it right down to the simplest possible way of doing it. Just do small things consistently.”
Jay Shetty agrees. “I think all of habit change are small things that are big priorities,” Shetty stated. “Usually we do it the other way around. We try doing big things and they're all a small priority.”
Instead, Jay Shetty encourages readers to make small things a big priority, and as you grow, so will your commitment to the goal.
Enjoy Meals Together
In this age of social media and ever-advancing technology, it’s easy to assume people are more connected than ever. It’s much easier to keep close relationships today … right?
Dr. Rangan Chatterjee doesn’t agree. He witnessed major disconnects in family dynamics when living with families during his TV show, “Doctor In The House.”
“People aren't eating together,” he said. “It would be dinner time, and the dad might be in the kitchen, the mum might be on one end of the sofa watching television, the teenage daughter was on the other end of the sofa on Facebook while she was eating, and the son was somewhere else.”
Could a suggestion as simple as putting phones down and eating together make a difference? Chatterjee found that it did. His TV guests and patients all reported back that they feel much closer to the people around them.
Chatterjee says the difference is marked – and it’s not the food. The dining room table contains no special magic. The power is in connection, something Jay Shetty has a firm belief in.
“There’s a big difference between people who try and do things collectively, collaboratively, and with accountability versus people who are just doing things individually,” he said.
Dr. Rangan Chatterjee encounters loneliness and depression at an alarming rate. Many substitute their phones for face-to-face interaction with other people.
“Studies have shown that the feeling of being lonely is as harmful for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day,” said Chatterjee. So what’s the cure? Human connection. “Make time to interact. It could save your life.”
Put the Phone Away and Choose Sleep
Another reason for the failing level of overall health today is lack of sleep. Many people view sleep as optional these days. Dr. Chatterjee, however, counters that sleep is the bedrock of optimal health.
He challenges people to assess their habits surrounding sleeping. Here are some of Chatterjee’s tips for sleep success:
- Wind down without screens an hour before bed
- Don’t charge your phones by the bed
- Cut out caffeine in the afternoon
- Structure the day to accomodate an earlier bedtime
- Wake up slowly and screen-free
Prioritizing sleep restores the body and helps set intention for the day to come. So does having a morning routine, one thing Dr. Chatterjee applauds Jay Shetty for having.
“I've avoided watching two extra television episodes in the evening so that I can get that time back in the morning,” said Jay Shetty. His usual bedtime is around 9:30 PM.
Dr. Chatterjee believes sleep is the key. “When you sleep well, it's easier to do all those other things,” he said. “It’s easier not to be reactive. It’s easier to eat well.”
Love What You Do Because You Do What You Love
Dr. Chatterjee firmly believes that focusing each day on something they love helps people live fuller lives and makes them more resilient to stress – and he’s not afraid to prescribe it.
Patients who are depressed or hate their job are often skeptical when the only prescription they walk out of his office with is an encouragement to do something they love each day. The results, however, are astounding. Health and overall well-being improve dramatically.
“I’m not surprised,” Jay Shetty said. “I just recently spoke at an event and said, ‘Stop trying to get everyone to find this one purpose that overarches their life and give them something just to get excited about. Even if it's for three months.’”
Use the Mundane to Practice Intention
Some of the most mundane spaces in the day can slip away without any acknowledgement. Practicing intentionality in the mundane helps foster an appreciation for simple tasks. Start small by meditating while your coffee is brewing, for example.
Practicing intention also provides consistency and encourages growth to spill over into other areas of life. It’s not always immediately visible, but it makes a difference.
“It bleeds into other aspects of your life,” said Chatterjee. “Often you don't get all the benefit in the moment. You notice it later.”
Blazing Trails in the Medical Community
At the end of the day, Dr. Rangan Chatterjee believes that optimal health is possible for everyone. He has made it his mission in life to help set that standard. Blazing trails in the medical community around the world, he tirelessly works for safe, simple, and practical solutions to issues that many face.
“I'm super passionate that all of us have the right to good quality health information,” Chatterjee said. “I think the same things are affecting people in all walks of life.”
His wisdom in On Purpose with Jay Shetty was so valuable. His new book, Feel Better in 5: Your Daily Plan to Kick-start Great Health, is available now.
Hear More of On Purpose with Jay Shetty
Love hearing from Dr. Rangan Chatterjee? You can listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like Chatterjee’s, check out his website at jayshetty.me.