82. The Power of Words

82. The Power of Words

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Shaping the New You

The Power of Words

To keep the body in good health is a duty. . .
otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.
 ~Buddha

Have you ever read a quote or phrase that made such a profound impression on you that it changed your life? That’s what happened to me when I encountered two powerful truths about nutrition and exercise. The impression these words made on me was so strong that I changed my eating habits and my commitment to exercise.

I had always read articles on nutrition and exercise and was educated on how important both are to good health. My problem wasn’t that I lacked information, but that I hadn’t acted upon the information I had. I wasn’t sure how to go from “knowing” to “doing”—that was until I read some powerful words.

While thumbing through Natural Health magazine, I came upon three simple words—“Food is medicine.” This simple phrase resonated so powerfully within me, that it changed how I looked at food. I thought about every morsel I put in my mouth and realized that each bite was medicine that would affect my body for good or for bad. Eating was like taking a dose of medicine. If I wanted good health, then I needed to take the right medicine.

I believed that if I changed only one important aspect of my diet it would support my new philosophy. I stopped eating foods with preservatives. I saw preservatives as bad medicine—chemicals that would ultimately harm my body just like a wrong prescription from the pharmacy. If I couldn’t pronounce an ingredient on a package or didn’t have a clue what it was, I didn’t dare put it in my mouth. All natural foods were good medicine. This resulted in a diet of fresh meats, fruits and vegetables. When I wasn’t buying produce, I looked for packaged items that boasted of having no preservatives.

Within a month, I saw a dramatic change in my body. My complexion was clear and smooth. I had more energy, and I felt good. I even slept better. As an added bonus, I dropped five pounds. I was taking good medicine for my body at every meal, and I was experiencing the benefits of good health.

A quote, by Edward Stanley, changed my attitude about exercise because it appealed to my conviction about the importance of planning for retirement. I had always been taught to save money for my “golden years,” but Stanley’s words made me realize how important it was to bank good health. “Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” Wow! That hit me right in the IRA—Internal Response Adjuster. If I didn’t make time for exercise now, then I’d have to make time for illness later.

I knew that I had to begin preparing my health for the future. My past attempts at staying committed to exercise had failed, so I needed to come up with a plan to stay consistent. I planned to exercise first thing in the morning before the distractions of the day began. I figured that I’d have to get up at 5:30 a.m. in order to exercise for 45 minutes, shower and get my son to school on time. My exercise program consisted of 30 minutes of walking on my treadmill and five minutes of stretching. After stretching, I spent the last 10 minutes doing either yoga, Pilates or free weights. I alternated between those three during the week for variety in my routine. On mornings when the alarm rang and I didn’t want to get out of bed to exercise, I kept repeating to myself, “I’m investing in my future, I’m investing my future.” Unlike the recent stock market, I knew my exercise program would give me a substantial return on my investment.

The habit of exercising Monday through Friday has been one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. Exercising early in the morning to avoid interruptions, and my new philosophy of investing in my future health, have kept me committed and consistent. I use the weekends as a reward to sleep late and rest my body. I’ve never felt or looked better.

Two simple phrases, profound truths, changed the way I thought about nutrition and exercise. The power of those words inspired me to eat better and make exercise a habit. As a result, I’m enjoying healthy days now and looking forward to healthy days to come.

~Debbie Cannizzaro

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