Review: The 4 Pillar Plan by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee

The thing about leading a healthy lifestyle is that most of us know what we are supposed to go it – but we don’t. In his book “The 4 Pillar Plan – How To Relax, Eat, Move, Sleep Your Way To A Longer, Healthier Life”, Dr Rangan Chatterjee does just this.

Acres of articles have been written about motivation and willpower when what is really needed, I think, is a structured guide to exactly what we need to do.4 Pillar Plan book front coverDr. Chatterjee is the star of BBC One’s Doctor In The House and his particular mission is to tackle two of today’s biggest threats to our health – type 2 diabetes and obesity.  The 4 Pillar Plan is a comprehensive programme of 20 diet and lifestyle interventions.

These are the kind of tactics which, if followed could help us to avoid bunging up our doctors’ surgery waiting room and possibly even A&E if we take just three of the nuggets of wisdom in each pillar to heart.

His pillar approach is broken down into four distinct areas:- Relax, Eat, Move and Sleep – in each of which he offers sensible, do-able, no-nonsense steps based on recent research.  You won’t find any navel-gazing or chakra massaging.  Much of this advice is probably stuff you heard from your mum – and promptly ignored.

It is important to take a holistic approach to this.  You can take each pillar at a time but you do need to take steps in each of them. Dr. Chatterjee says that the non-food elements are important because our whole system is interconnected. If we are stressed, we eat more and sleep less, for example.

4 Pillar Plan - a healthy salad and mineral water

Photo by Lauren Lester on Unsplash

The 4 Pillar Plan does contain a healthy eating plan but it is just part of an overall approach.

To give you an idea of the type of advice that is included, here are some examples from each pillar.

Pillar 1 – Eat

Try to eat at least 5 portions of vegetables every day – ideally of 5 colours.  This is important because these contain chemicals called phytonutrients which help our hearts, fight cancer cells and reverse brain ageing. Good sources include broccoli, red onions, asparagus, carrots and olives.

Introduce daily microfasts – eat all your food within a 12 hour window – so breakfast at 7 am and supper by 7 pm. After 12 hours a process called autophagy will have started, cleaning our bodies and helping with weightloss.

Unprocess your diet – avoid food products which contain more than 5 ingredients – much easier than worrying about calories, carbs or fat content.

Pillar 2 – Relax

Have a ‘digital sabbath’ – Dr Chatterjee recommends a digital free Sunday to give us a break from the constant onslaught of social media and online advertising.

Eat one meal a day at a table – in company and with no mobile devices!

Schedule 15 minutes of me-time every day – this could be reading, gardening, meditating – but no screens.  Prioritise your self care.

Pillar 3 – Move

Aim to walk at least 10,000 steps a day – put your Fitbit through its paces or buy a pedometer.

Do three or four ‘movement snacks’ a day 5 days a week – put on some music and sing or dance, do some star jumps or play with the kids.

Wake up your sleepy glutes – exercise your buttock muscles at least once a day to counteract the effect of sitting down all day.

Pillar 4 – Sleep

Sleep in the dark – use an old fashioned alarm clock not your mobile phone. Install blackout blinds or extra thick curtains.

Manage your racing mind – don’t have difficult conversations right before bed or watch the news if it upsets you.  Read a calming book or write in your journal instead.

Embrace morning light – spend at least 20 minutes outside (without sunglasses) every morning.  There is even a study which shows that people who do this have a lower body mass index!

You can choose which pillar to work on or work on them simultaneously.  I think you are better off picking a few small changes to incorporate into your routine and seeing how they work for you.

This is a fantastic, common sense book which is certain to have something you’d be willing to try – and small changes can lead to great improvements long-term.

*Post contains an affiliate link.

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Disclosure: “Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.”


  1. Natalie+Crossan
    31 January, 2018 / 10:24 pm

    Sleep a I don’t sleep properly at all! eek

  2. Lynn Neal
    31 January, 2018 / 6:21 pm

    Sleep so important to help us function properly!

  3. Nikki Hunter-Pike
    31 January, 2018 / 9:22 am

    sleep for me, i think getting anything else in your life sorted with any clarity at least requires you to be well rested

  4. Emma Middleton
    30 January, 2018 / 11:59 pm

    Definately Move, since the beginning of the year I have decided to move more, and having my new puppy has really helped with that

  5. Gemma Cook
    30 January, 2018 / 6:29 pm

    Definitely sleep, with 4 children I barely get enough.

  6. astrid c
    30 January, 2018 / 2:56 pm

    id start with move

  7. Kate Phillips
    30 January, 2018 / 1:56 pm

    Sleep first – as it’s the basis of wellbeing and I’ve been struggling to sleep well this past year.

  8. Deborah Clarke
    30 January, 2018 / 11:51 am

    Sleeping!!! I’m such a bad sleeper. I’m always tired . Fab giveaway sounds interesting. My fingers are firmly crossed x

  9. Diane Tait
    30 January, 2018 / 10:54 am

    Sleep, that mystical thing I’ve heard of in my youth!

  10. Rosiene Huxtable
    29 January, 2018 / 5:14 pm

    Sleep ?

  11. Meryl Thomas
    29 January, 2018 / 4:18 pm

    I would start with sleep, as it is important

  12. Sheila Reeves
    29 January, 2018 / 7:07 am

    I think I’d try Pillar one, been trying to meal plan and this would really help – try and get more vegetables in, and eat at regular times

  13. Laura Harrison
    29 January, 2018 / 12:26 am

    Definitely sleep, would love to improve the quality x

  14. Sandra Henry
    28 January, 2018 / 8:49 pm

    Move ?

  15. sheri Darby
    28 January, 2018 / 8:05 pm

    Relax – i get far too stressed about too many things

  16. Angela Macdonald
    28 January, 2018 / 6:59 pm

    I would start with Eat as this is the 1st pillar and I like to do things in order

  17. Kim Neville
    28 January, 2018 / 3:50 pm

    Eat as I don’t always have my 5 portions of vegetables every day

  18. Elizabeth Smith
    28 January, 2018 / 2:14 pm

    Pillar one because I’m halfway there – set yourself up to succeed

  19. janine atkin
    28 January, 2018 / 2:04 pm

    move – i dont do much excersie at all

  20. Jules
    28 January, 2018 / 12:10 pm

    I’d start with Pillar 4 – sleep, as I have health problems and I’m disabled, so this would be the easiest one for me to start with. I’d gradually introduce the others.

  21. A.E. ADKINS
    28 January, 2018 / 8:28 am

    Pillar 2 – Relax (However I am posting this on a Sunday!)

  22. Betty Wojnar
    26 January, 2018 / 5:28 am

    I would start with the sleep pillar because that is my biggest problem

  23. Pam Francis Gregory
    24 January, 2018 / 4:10 pm

    Sleep – I don’t get enough!

  24. Christine Lockley
    23 January, 2018 / 9:38 pm

    I’d start with “sleep” as at the moment I’m struggling to sleep and am up and down all night

  25. Sarah+Carter
    23 January, 2018 / 9:40 am

    I would start with the relax pillar as I really need to relax more x

  26. Amanda winner
    22 January, 2018 / 7:45 pm

    Sleep ????

  27. Leila+Benhamida
    21 January, 2018 / 9:01 pm

    I will start by moving more.

  28. Carole Nott
    20 January, 2018 / 9:39 pm

    I would start with eat – this is the mainstay of any healthy routine

  29. Rachael Sexey
    20 January, 2018 / 5:43 pm

    Sleep as I am currently on medication for sleeping problems but I want to come off it and no depend on it

  30. Samantha R
    20 January, 2018 / 11:16 am

    Probably relax otherwise I’d be too stressed to do any of the others!

  31. Sandra Fortune
    19 January, 2018 / 8:46 pm

    These all sound great having lost 3 stone last year I need a bit more exercise . I had pneumonia in October last year and couldn’t do much for about 6 weeks so I think no. 3

    • linda
      1 February, 2018 / 10:11 am

      Congratulations Sandra – you are the lucky winner. Check your email inbox.

  32. Adrian Bold
    19 January, 2018 / 1:01 am

    Sleep, as I’m always exhausted!

  33. Lynn Brown
    16 January, 2018 / 10:32 am

    Move – I don’t move enough to long at a PC

  34. Ruth+Harwood
    14 January, 2018 / 9:57 am

    Probably Pillar 4 as I never get enough sleep!!

  35. hannah+wood
    13 January, 2018 / 11:26 pm

    Would be to try and relax

  36. Katherine Lucas
    13 January, 2018 / 2:34 am

    Pillar 4 – Sleep as that is where I really struggle

  37. Amanda+tanner
    12 January, 2018 / 11:36 pm

    Sleep as I’m always waking up during the nig

  38. Danielle Spencer
    12 January, 2018 / 5:15 pm

    Sleep as it is the part I struggle with the most.

  39. 12 January, 2018 / 7:19 am

    I’ve never actually heard of this book before but I think the main points are great and so true! I do always struggle with sleep though x

  40. john+prendergast
    12 January, 2018 / 12:27 am

    Sleep takes me ages to nod off

  41. Kim+M
    11 January, 2018 / 4:31 pm

    Eat – need a much healthier diet

  42. Chris Andrews
    11 January, 2018 / 11:43 am

    Which of the four pillars do you think you would start with and why? . . . .relax ‘cos l am usually so wound up about something or other

  43. Hannah
    11 January, 2018 / 9:56 am

    I do often have trouble sleeping so will be taking some of the sleeping tips

  44. jo+liddement
    11 January, 2018 / 9:23 am

    I would start with Eat as i intend to eat more probiotic foods this year to boost my immune system.

  45. Laura Pyper
    11 January, 2018 / 9:19 am

    Pillar 4 – Sleep
    Im really stuggling to sleep at the moment so i would start with that

  46. Angela Treadway
    11 January, 2018 / 12:23 am

    Relax as i need to chill out more lol x

  47. Sara Goodman
    10 January, 2018 / 8:39 pm

    Sleep, it’s the thing I struggle with most and I really feel it.
    Thanks for a fantastic giveaway 🙂

  48. 10 January, 2018 / 3:05 pm

    I love the sound of this, I really want a good, positive plan for this year.

  49. Fiona+Johnstone
    9 January, 2018 / 7:04 pm

    Pillar 1 Eat. I really need to improve my diet

  50. Sheri
    9 January, 2018 / 3:02 pm

    I like the idea of the four pillars. I am looking to be more healthy this year and I am doing it and setting goals on a weekly basis.

  51. Lynne+Harper
    9 January, 2018 / 1:58 pm

    Sleep has always been an issue for me, it definitely comes in waves of struggling as well. I really need to learn to relax more and stop my mind racing

  52. 9 January, 2018 / 10:31 am

    We are trying to eat more fruit and veg as a family so this plan would fit in nicely with our goals.

  53. 8 January, 2018 / 6:56 pm

    I like the concept of the four pillar plan, especially when he says we should eat all our meals within a 12 hour window and I think it is great that he says we should have a digital detox. That is something that I definitely need to do!

  54. Kayleigh
    8 January, 2018 / 1:30 pm

    Sounds good! I need a much healthier sleep pattern x

  55. Annabel Greaves
    8 January, 2018 / 12:47 pm

    Pillar 4 of sleep – I can suffer from insomnia so these are great tips to try

  56. Aimee Bradley
    7 January, 2018 / 10:57 pm

    This sounds amazing. There are so many that I feel would really benefit me. Thanks so much. The book is now on my wish list

  57. Dean+T
    7 January, 2018 / 10:36 pm

    Has to be sleep, sometimes my sleep patterns are all over the place

  58. Rose Stephenson
    7 January, 2018 / 9:46 pm

    I just need to look after myself better in all aspects of my life.

  59. 7 January, 2018 / 9:37 pm

    Relax – would be nice to do that ever

    7 January, 2018 / 9:33 pm

    I think it would have to be eat as i do tend to skip my required amounts of fruit and vegetables each day.

  61. ashleigh+allan
    7 January, 2018 / 4:24 pm

    Eat as its the one i need to do something about most!

  62. Helen+Thurston
    7 January, 2018 / 3:01 pm

    I’m not sure – probably Move and Relax as I think these are the areas which I need to try harder with.

  63. Jodie A Green
    7 January, 2018 / 1:54 pm

    2, i really would love to be able to relax more!

  64. Solange
    7 January, 2018 / 12:59 pm

    Sleep because I’m always tired.

  65. Margaret Gallagher
    7 January, 2018 / 12:15 pm

    Relax i think the others will follow

  66. Christine+Dodd
    7 January, 2018 / 11:05 am

    Sleep – since I moved home in November I am struggling to settle

  67. iain+maciver
    7 January, 2018 / 10:46 am

    sleep to try and improve it

  68. laura+stewart
    7 January, 2018 / 10:24 am

    Sleep im always tried x

  69. Victoria+Prince
    7 January, 2018 / 10:14 am

    Pillar 4 because sleep is so important to everything, and if that improves I think the others will feel more managable!

  70. Margaret Clarkson
    7 January, 2018 / 9:01 am

    I would start with the move pillar because I think it would be extremely beneficial

  71. Sallyanne Rose
    7 January, 2018 / 8:26 am

    Sleep! Undisturbed

  72. Daniel Marchant
    7 January, 2018 / 8:19 am

    Totally sleep… It’s waking in the morning too early

  73. Helen best
    7 January, 2018 / 7:51 am

    Brilliant I’m sleeping but up several times

  74. 7 January, 2018 / 7:29 am

    This is good solid advice -which I am aiming to follow – into the 2nd week of Jan and still there!

  75. Tracy Nixon
    7 January, 2018 / 4:48 am

    Sleep – as that is the area of my life I struggle with most!

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