I've met many people who suffer with physical affliction without having done anything that I can see to cause the illness (for example...a child with cystic fibrosis or with sickle cell disease). Such illnesses represent suffering not caused by the suffering one's behavior. But when considering preventable suffering, there's a common attitude that the very healthy share: the body deserves direct time and attention. There is a way of thinking about the body that encourages the care of the body. Here's how:
Most people, even with recent research urging otherwise, will either ignore regular exercise, or consider sufficient the minimal activity of their job-they either don't invest any time in caring for their body's health or they do not invest attention directly toward caring for the body. An example would be someone who will make time to clean the house or to wash the car but does not have time for a walk. It's as if the grass deserves their direct attention but their body must benefit as a side effect of caring for something or someone else.
Another example is the mother who tells me that she doesn't need to walk because she "chases children around all day long." The child definitely deserves her caring; but the mother's body also deserves direct attention.
Before a mother can determine to fight for her health by making time to care for her body, she must decide that her own body is worth it's caring.
The extreme case of ignoring the body for the sake of others would be the priest who many years ago would not bathe because continually thinking of God is more important than being distracted by caring for the body. But was this priest really acting much more extreme than the tired mother who tells me that she doesn't have time to stop and care for her body (which has become overweight and bordering on diabetes and heart disease if weight gain continues) because she must care for her children?
Of course God is important. Of course children are important. Working and making money is important. Being with friends is important. But, in order to mount the fight required to overcome inertia and move the body toward better health, think of the body as important. Probably the best way to consider the body so that it will be cared for properly is to conceive of the body as the tool that allows you to do on the planet every productive and helpful and enjoyable activity that you will do. The body is the tool that allows us to do what we want to do.
If your car is worth an oil change, if your oven is worth cleaning, if your clothes are worth washing, if your pencil is worth sharpening, then your body is worth direct time and attention in its caring.
You may not make the resolution and you won't put up the fight unless you have a clear view of the cause for which you fight. When you fight for your health, you're indirectly fighting for every cause and good purpose that you will ever do with your life except perhaps martyrdom (if that happens to be on your agenda). All other causes will seem lighter if you come to the battlefield with health and vitality sustained by direct care of your body--the tool you have with which to make a difference.
__Read Genesis: Chapters 42 - 50
__Walk 3 miles: actual miles walked _____
__Eat 5 fruits or vegetables _____
__Virtue: Temperance-eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation