Achieving and maintaining good health is as easy as following the Golden Rule and Ten Commandments for good health.
The Golden Rule
Do unto your body as you’d like your body to do unto you.
You are only capable of what your body allows, and your body allows only what you allow it. If you want to avoid illness or injury, you must give your body what it needs to do so. You must stretch and maintain flexibility to avoid ligament and tendon injuries. You must consume vitamins and minerals to avoid illness. You must consume protein to build muscle and protect your bones and organs. You must rest your body to remain alert. Give your body what it needs, and it will reward you with good health.
The Ten Commandments
1. Thine body is a temple. Thou shalt not worship any bodies but thine.
The only thing you take with you to the grave is your body, and you only get one of them. You must take care of it as you would a home, or better yet, a place of worship. Don’t just keep a clean home; keep a temple with spotless, stained-glass windows.
And you shouldn’t try to imitate anyone else’s body because your body is unique. Your body might not be meant to emulate any other. I was obsessed with obtaining the “Rocky body” for years. I figured if Sylvester Stallone could put over 200 pounds on a five-foot, ten-inch frame, so could I. Well, lower back problems made it difficult for me to carry the upper body weight necessary to achieve the 200-pound goal, so I slimmed down to my high school weight of 150 pounds and focused on my core strength to accommodate my lower back.
Know your body’s capabilities and incapabilities, and accommodate it. If you have bad feet, ankles, knees or suffer from chronic back pain like me, don’t carry around a lot of upper-body weight.
2. Thou shalt not take thine body for granted.
You only get one, so don’t abuse it. Even if you work your way back from years of abuse, whether that be from overeating or a poor diet, lack of exercise, or drug or alcohol abuse, your body won’t be the same after that abuse. That doesn’t mean you can’t still be in the best shape of your life at advanced ages, but think of your body like the picture of Dorian Gray in Oscar Wilde’s seminal novel. Your body, like the picture, displays the “sins” of your days, so to age gracefully, you must have discipline.
3. Thou shalt not consume more calories than thou burns.
Regardless of your exercise regimen, if you want to maintain your weight, you mustn’t consume more calories than you burn in any day, except...
4. Remember the cheat day and keep it weekly.
Keeping a weekly cheat day on which you consume just a few more calories than you burn keeps your metabolism high in order to burn more calories while sedentary and sleeping. It will also help satisfy your urges to consume those not-so-healthy foods.
5. Honor fitness and nutrition.
Good health is not achievable without honoring both fitness and nutrition. You must move regularly and eat a healthy diet, not one or the other.
6. Thou shalt not skip breakfast.
People who don’t eat breakfast are starving their bodies of calories when they’re needed most. Breakfast means breaking your fast. Your body has gone seven hours or more without being fed, yet has been burning calories all that time. Your body nor your brain can function at optimal levels without breakfast.
7. Thou shall exercise 30 minutes per day.
The magic number for activity is 30 minutes per day. If you can just stay on your feet and moving for half an hour per day, you’re body and brain will benefit.
8. Thou shalt not rob thy body of snacks.
Instead of eating three, large meals per day, eat one big meal at breakfast, a bit smaller meal for lunch and even smaller dinner, filling in the gaps with healthy, fulfilling snacks like fruits, vegetables and nuts (if you’re not allergic). If half of your calories per day come from snacks and the other half from meals, you’ll be spreading your calorie consumption out to allow your body to optimally use those calories instead of storing them.
9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s diet.
If your body feels good, you should feel good about your diet -- enough so that you don’t envy what others eat. Your diet should also allow you to enjoy things others enjoy, and a focus on consuming smaller servings of sweets or salty carbs to satisfy any urges. Attempting to eliminate any and all vices is impossible and dangerous, so instead of consuming carbohydrates, replace those calories with fats. Fat is the preferred fuel for human metabolism anyway.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s sleep schedule.
If you’re tired you should sleep. Naps are incredibly invigorating, so if you don’t get at least seven hours of sleep per night, or work an erratic schedule, take naps to get seven or more hours of sleep per day.
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