365 Health Strategies (Jan 19):  Break Barriers with Order 
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Ever try to solve one of those toy puzzles where a plastic picture is divided into squares that you slide around in a frame? Working the weekly schedule to make room for daily exercise feels very much like working one of those puzzles.

Even after solving the puzzle of fitting all the important activities into the week, another task should be done (that involves Order) to assure the completion of planned exercise. Leave this one out to greatly decrease the chances of success. To understand, consider the following scene:

You're sitting on the couch in your home. You become hungry and decide to eat. Little stands between you and food. Maybe, you need to open the refrigerator door. Maybe you need to push 2 buttons on the microwave. Perhaps, you need only reach across the coffee table and pull candy from a jar. In most homes in this country, you need use very little effort or time to go from completely at rest to eating.

Now. Same scene; you're sitting on the couch. You look at your handy, weekly schedule and see that it's time to go walk. How easy have you made it to go from couch to walking? Do you need to find your walking shoes? Oh, and you're thirsty and somewhat hungry so you must have a snack before you start walking. And, where did you put those new exercise shorts? Oops, where's the portable CD player? Need to find my toboggan. Where's my walking partner? She was supposed to be here 10 minutes ago. Here comes little Johnny (who knows mommy always stops everything to help with homework instead of letting him puzzle over it for a time).

Oh, well. Planned to walk for 30 minutes, but already used 25 minutes getting ready to walk. Might as well try again tomorrow.

It may seem very obsessive to pay attention to such details. But, why should unhealthy foods be as easy as opening a door; while exercise requires a multitude of steps just to start? Carving out 30 minutes to an hour per day to walk represents a heroic task. Trying to then execute that planned exercise without organizing the tiniest details, frequently misleads and delays me and patients to the point of not exercising.

Meditate on how you might place barriers between you and unhealthy behaviors and remove every possible barrier between you and healthy behaviors. If you need to dress and drive the car to tbuy unhealthy foods (because there are none in your home), but workout clothes and whatever gear you need to enjoy that walk always stands ready (both at home and in a bag when you travel to work or out of town), then you may find yourself exercising more and eating unhealthy foods less. This strategy involves extremely Ordered planning (planning the smooth path to the healthy and the barriers to the unhealthy).

Keep reinforcing to your family and friends to encourage and not discourage your healthy efforts. Consider alerting them when they are discouraging (usually without thinking about what they're doing) you from doing what's best for your health.

__ Exodus Chapters 18 - 22

__ Walk 3 miles: actual miles _____

__ 5 fruits or vegetables: actual _____

__ Virtue: Order - Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

Peace & Health,


Charles Runels, MD


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