A man came into my office looking gloomy, exhausted and stressed. I asked the usual questions about his lifestyle and diet.
He said he slept four to five hours. His breakfast was bottled orange juice, frozen pancakes with syrup, sometimes eggs if he had the time, and two cups of coffee. For lunch he usually had a sandwich or a Caesar salad “with a lot of dressing.” A croissant or doughnut with coffee in the afternoon. He loved pasta for dinner or a juicy steak with potatoes, and then some Oreo cookies and milk while watching TV.
He did not like vegetables other than potatoes, and, as for fruits, only if they had cream and sugar, or were canned with syrup.
Exercise? no… there’s no time for that.
Stress management? Relaxation? that’s for wimps.
Last checkup? can’t remember.
“Now let me ask some questions about your car,” I said. He looked at me like I had just landed from Mars. “Let’s suppose you decide to go on a road trip. Four hours after you start, you see a red light in your panel saying “check engine.” Would you continue driving for the rest of the trip?”
“Of course not,” he said, “I’d get off the road and look for a mechanic as soon as possible.”
“Now imagine that in this town there is a very fancy gas station right across from the mechanic,” I continued. ”They sell a new gasoline that comes in different colors and smells – designer perfume gas. You can choose from Armani, Burberry, Fendi, Hugo Voss, etc. They advertise on TV, in magazines, everywhere, so you’ve seen the brand many times.”
He nodded to let me know that he was following so far.
“You ask the mechanic about it and he tells you that it’s really poor quality fuel. Your car will drive, but after a while it will damage the engine. Would you put that fuel in your car?”
“Of course not,” he said, a note of indignation in his voice, as if the mere thought of doing that to his car was unacceptable. Then, after a few seconds, he realized.
“Yes,” I said. “You will not force your car to drive when something is wrong. You will stop to fix it even if that causes a small delay in your road trip. You will only give it quality fuel regardless of the smell, appearance or advertising.”
He started nodding again.
“Then why do you put any sort of adulterated, low-quality fuel in your body? Is it just because it’s easy and tastes good? Why do you force your body to keep going when it is telling you something needs attention?”
All my questions he left unanswered. I needed to be explicit.
“If your car breaks down,” I said, “you can always get a replacement. Unfortunately, your body is the only vehicle you get for the journey in this lifetime. If you want a long and pleasurable ride, you’d better start taking care of it. Do unto your body as you do unto your car.”
::Patri also writes at Create Your Health::