Saturday, February 05, 2005


Be Nice to Your Body – Lose Weight

With all it’s traditions of self-denial, sack-cloth and ashes, Lent isn’t exactly a fun-filled festival, is it? Perhaps not, but we can still learn from it. In particular, we can learn how to be grateful for the wonderful things we’ve been given.

For example, each of us has been presented with at least one marvellous gift: our human body. It talks, walks, sings, runs, swims: it can paint masterpieces, compose music, do maths and a million other things besides. Above all, it can show love, kindness and great affection.

Having a body like this means that each of us has the potential to enjoy life to the full and to help others to do the same. Now comes the catch. What do we do with this fabulous gift? What do we do with this fabulous body of ours? Answer: we waste it!

We waste it in a thousand different ways! For example, we smoke, we drink too much, we stuff ourselves with bad food, we stop exercising, we stop trying out new things and we stop loving our family and friends. Result? We become unhealthy, unfit, unhelpful, unloving and unhappy.

Do we realise what we are doing to our body? Sometimes we do, but usually we just fall into bad habits without really thinking about it. Well this is where Lent comes in. The six weeks of Lent give us ample time to reflect on our behaviour and come up with some positive answers to put things right.

So what can we do? How can we look after our wonderful mind and body and become better people in the process? Well of course it depends on the sort of person we are. After all, each of us is completely different. Nevertheless, here are three general suggestions which may help.

To begin with, your body needs lots of good food. It needs lots of fruit and vegetables, bread and potatoes, regular oily fish, lots of low-fat milk and yogurt and a little regular meat. Eating this sort of food fills you up, boosts your energy and makes you feel great. By contrast, eating lots of red meat, coleslaw, pastries and chocolate, makes you tired, bloated and fat, which is a complete waste. I mean, how can you be happy when you go to bed feeling like this? How can you make others happy when you wake up feeling like this? Answer: you can’t!

Next, your body needs plenty of fresh air and exercise. You probably get a fair amount from rushing around after your beloved family, but not enough. Solution? Try to have a brisk twenty minute walk every day, and if you don’t want your neighbours gawking at you in your trainers, then hop into your car, drive to a nice spot and do it there.

Finally, you need stimulation (and not just in the dark!). I mean: keep your mind active. So, for example, read a newspaper or a book, do a course or a crossword, enter a quiz, keep a diary, make something, listen to the radio, or watch TV. There are lots of ways to keep yourself mentally active and it’s vital you do so, otherwise you’ll be bored, boring, miserable and no good to anyone!

So, if you want something to aim for this Lent, why not stop abusing the fabulous body you’ve been given and start looking after it instead. Look after it for the rest of your life – not just until Easter!

The good news is, by looking after your body - your weight and health - you are bound to increase your own happiness as well as your ability to make others happy. This is not only the way to a better life, it’s also the way to a new slimmer life!

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