Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Getting It Straight

by David G. Woolley
Editor's note: This is the third installment in a summer long look at food. Come back next week when we share some ideas about food cravings and the motivation you'll need to take charge of your health.

There is a proper order of things. Go to bed before you get up. Socks before shoes. One foot in front of the other. Always floss before you brush. Sunrise. Sunset. It makes sense. Any other order would be, well, out of order. For the less obvious answers to those casue and effect questions we invented science: the study of observable phenomena. Questions like: Is he smart because he likes to read? Or does his love of reading make him smart? Is your child lovable because she is well-behaved? Or is your child well-behaved because she is loved?

I shared an office space with four cubicles. There were some people in the cubicles too. One was the assistant baseball coach at a large university. About thirty years old, from Northern California. Big guy. Not a pound of fat on the man. He was what you would call buffed. He kept a regular personal workout schedule. He also had a terrible diet. Everyday around lunchtime he made the trek to the candy machines and returned with arms full of candy bars, sodas, twizzlers, Twinkies, ho-hos, and an assortment of chips, fruit pies and ice cream bars. The vending company loved him. His body likely didn't.

The rest of us cubicles in the office specialized in some sort of health related profession so we couldn't help but analyze his diet. We decided he wasn't a poster child for the local health food store. We also spoke in hushed tones. Under the radar. We didn't think he could hear us. We were wrong. One day at lunchtime he'd had enough. He stood from his junk food covered desk and in a commanding baseball coach voice informed us that the reason he worked out was so he could eat like that.

The math really isn't too hard. A doughnut is roughly a mile jog. Tack on two more miles for a bag of chips, a cheeseburger and fries. An hour or so of weight lifting should cover the daily sodas and two pieces of pizza just so long as you don't twaddle. A gym membership has got to be worth at least a daily chocolate bar and an occasional cheese cake. And give me the dessert bar for an hour of racquetball and some stretching. You may have to throw in a yoga session and a dip in the hot tub if the math is a little off. Doesn't moderately low to average body fat equal health? I mean, really. If you're not overweight then your body must be getting what it needs, right?


Hidden within the Word of Wisdom are some straight-talk jewels worth remembering. Its a health code with a built-in nutritional psychiatrist. Why wouldn't it have one? It was written by the Creator Himself. A counselor who can help correct some of those inverted health obsessions like this:

Do you run so you won't be weary and walk so you won't faint in order to eat whatever you like? Or do you eat so you can run and not be weary and walk and not faint? If you're going to live healthy you need to get that one cause and effect relationship straight.

All the long distance training, the weights, the athletic participation isn't going to nourish your body, keep your organs healthy, or fend off disease. There is a proper order, a cause and effect relationship built into the Word of Wisdom. If you eat healthy foods, avoid the unhealthy stuff, if you stick to the code (the health one) then you'll be blessed with the ability to run and not be weary and walk and not faint.

Staying active is part of a healthy life. A pass to the gym, running shoes, or a ball are good tools for staying active. But its a properly nourished body that provides the strength, the will and the ability to stretch those muscles, elevate that heart rate, and develop that coordination and flexibility. Get it backwards and you may lose the ability to be active.

If all this talk is inspirational. If it encourages your will and discourages some unhealthy eating. Great. Stop counting calories. Toss out all the unhealthy food choices. Get rid of your food cravings (which is the topic of next week's food post) and nourish your body. Do that and you'll find that you've got some extra energy that will naturally lead you to have a desire for a more active lifestyle. All your health worries may up and disappear. So will those extra pounds.

Eat well. Live well.

Join author David G. Woolley at his Promised Land Website. He is also a weekly contributor to the Latter Day Authors blog and he writes commentary and opinion at the Utah Ranger's Far Post blog


Sandra said...

These posts have gotten me to thinking about all the things that I know but don't do for whatever reason I give myself to justify it at the moment. I also have been thinking about all the things I do right as well. I have a health issue, that while not caused by improper diet, is affected by the way I eat. I know that I feel so much better and am able to do so much more, actually live so much more, when I take care of that one simple thing- the food that I use to fuel my body.

One thing that irritates me, though? My daughter just came home from her library reading program with an award for accomplishing her goal. Her reward? A gift certificate to a local fast food place.

David G. Woolley said...

Well done Sandra! You're a trooper. Like most of us, it isn't until you aren't enjoying perfect health, that you appreciate it and you also educate yourself on how to achieve it. Keep it up. Your body will love you for it.

David G. Woolley