There And Then:
Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.
That is the incarnation of the Golden Rule which I was raised with. It hung on a wall, imposed over a Norman Rockwell painting, in a hallway of my childhood. On this ideal, my Jewish father and Christian mother could agree. This sentence would become the only religious scripture or creed which I have ever needed, or depended on.
Lore has it that in the era when counting the years backwards merged into the counting-forward years, Rabbi Hillel was confronted by a student to recite the entire Hebrew Bible while standing on one leg. The story goes that Rabbi Hillel took to one foot and spoke,
“That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is just commentary. Now go you, and learn it.” Rabbi Hillel
And really, most religious scripture is just that; commentary on the theme of the Golden Rule. A whole lot of words, poetry, and agenda, assembled, rewritten, manipulated, and utilized through the centuries, but none of it more important than what Hillel prescribed to his student while standing on one foot.
Here And Now:
A client lent me a book recently, written by the “official trainer” of Dr. Phil. My most immediate thought was that this trainer must suck, because as far as I can see, Dr. Phil is still fat, and looks to be just a couple steps ahead of Oprah on the road to necessary gastric by-pass.
However, the author’s credentials were in place, and at first glance it seemed like an easy read. I dove into the book head first, always accepting that, as the “official trainer” to myself as well as some other folks, I am in an ongoing learning mode. At first glance the book seemed to offer something new because its’ title and subject matter related to increasing one’s metabolism. Notwithstanding, animals with a faster metabolism die sooner; humans be warned.
Diving into the book head first I landed in the shallow end, where I hit my head on the concrete floor of yet another book of fitness commentary; from agenda, and for profit. Straight ahead reading quickly merged into topic hunting, which evolved into bullet point reading, which ultimately turned to summarizing the book in less than 20 minutes. This was easy because the book’s content was no different than any other diet or exercise book I have ever read. Nothing new, just extended commentary on the golden rule of fitness; eat modestly, and move some.
Though it’s been said before in many more words, by many fitness prophets who have gained much in fitness profits, please allow me to summarize, right here, most of what you need to know about fitness and weight-loss:
- Include challenging, yet achievable exercise in most of your days.
- Eat reasonable portions of reasonable ingredients, at reasonable times, and don’t eat crap.
That’s it, the Rabbi Hillel version of every fitness book ever written. I even typed that passage while standing on one foot.
In truth, there are good fitness and wellness related books out there, though none that I care to recommend. Some offer solid information about exercise and proper eating, and are presented in a layperson’s terms. As common religious scripture can be used for the purpose of bettering one’s lifestyle, some of these fitness books can be of reasonable value in providing guidelines to use in changing one’s body. It is the reader though, who must first accept the simple themes of just move, and eat properly.
As a point of fact, we can all agree that our national lack of movement, and lack of right-eating are among our nation’s most daunting enemies. We can also agree that fighting fat and lethargy requires a war-like psychology. That said, if there is a fitness bible which expands upon the basic creed of eat right and move, it is The Art Of War, by Sun Tzu.
Clearly written for the modern fitness enthusiast, The Art Of War is an easy read, and is based on your greatest asset – your own common sense. Simply substitute the term body-fat for the term enemy in each passage. You may also substitute the terms exercise and right-eating for the term battle. Chapters 6 and 9 are worth a second read.
As you find yourself moving about in book stores or the supermarket checkout line, and you see all those for-profit books and magazines – those fitness bibles written by fitness prophets prescribing particular fitness regimens based on their own agendas, remember that they are all just commentaries on the only themes that matter; eat right, and move. Be well. rc