When I finally got the chance to learn martial arts, my teacher had several books that were considered required reading, one of which was “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu. When it comes to war tactics and the warriors mentality Sun Tzu is considered one of the greatest tacticians who ever lived. Okay, I can hear you thinking “But what does that have to do with my journey to lose fat, be fit, be healthy, and change my life?” I’m glad you asked grasshopper! Let’s take a look one of the many insights of ancient wisdom by Sun Tzu:
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the outcome of a hundred battles”.
Couldn’t you almost hear the Chinese flute playing in the background when you read that? I swear, every time I read that quote I hear David Carradine’s voice. I know, I know, I’ve seen too many martial art films for my own good, but you have to admit it has that “wise saying” thing going for it. As Sun Tzu implies, if we know our enemy as well as we know ourselves we win every time. So, as it relates to weight loss, lets identify “The enemy”.
For those of us who are morbidly obese, our enemies are deadly and coming for our collective asses. They’re relentless and merciless. They don’t care about our race, our religious affiliations, if we’re on Team Edward, or Team Jacob (a nod to Twilight fangirls everywhere :-D), if we’re liberal or conservative. Their only purpose, their only desire is to severely diminish our quality of life or at worst end our lives with as much pain and suffering as they can possibly inflict. They have insidious names like:
- Coronary heart disease
- Adult Onset Type 2 diabetes
- Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
- Liver and Gallbladder disease
- Sleep Apnea
- Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)
- Gynecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility)
On top of that, just to make our complicated lives even more difficult, they’re INVISIBLE (Seriously, WTF right?). Some of you are already feeling the effects of their attacks even as you read this post. Even now, like ninjas of old, they wait in the shadows of life looking for opportunities to strike us down. As bleak as that sounds all is not lost! We have two deadly weapons at our disposal that we can use to defeat them or severely diminish the effects of their attacks. For the sake of being melodramatic let’s call them the Twin Weapons of Fate: Diet and Exercise.
First, let’s look at the devastating effect of Exercise on our enemies (Source: American College of Sports Medicine):
- Lowers the risk of stroke by 27%
- Reduces the incidence of diabetes by approximately 50%
- Reduces the incidence of Hypertension by approximately 40%
- Can reduce the mortality and risk of recurrent breast cancer by approximately 50%
- Can Lower the risk of Colon Cancer by over 60%
Now, let’s add to their misery with the Finishing Blow of switching to a Healty Diet rich in fresh vegetables, lean unprocessed meats, fresh fruit, and unprocessed foods mixed with the power of Exercise (Source: Archives of Internal Medicine):
- Helps Reduce risk of developing diabetes by as much as 93%
- Helps Reduce risk of Heart attack by as much as 81%
- Helps Reduce risk of stroke by as much as 50%
- Helps Prevent up to 36% of all cancers
Do you see now why they fear the Twin Weapons of Fate? Do you see now that they have a fatal weakness? The dual attack of Diet and Exercise can deliver a mighty blow, but only if we attack. If we sit idly by and and take no action, we’ve implicitly given them permission to destroy us.
Now, we know our enemy. We know that we have at our disposal the two weapons they fear the most…Diet and Exercise. It is now up to us to decide whether we will fight our enemies with every fiber of our being or just sit there and let them attack our bodies without mercy and not put up a fight. Make no mistake! They are coming and they will try to kill you. Some of our grandparents, parents, husbands, wives, and even children have suffered at their hand. But know this. Every time we get on that treadmill and walk or run for 35 minutes we frustrate Coronary Heart Disease. Every time we exercise at minimum 3 hours per week, we really piss off Type 2 Diabetes. Every time we work out to that exercise DVD, Hypertension takes a blow in the face. Every time we make the choice to eat good healthy food, Dyslipidemia dies a little inside.
Let’s embrace our warrior spirit! Let’s take the fight right to our enemies. Let us be as merciless to them as they will be to us. Show them no mercy..Show them no quarter. As my old basketball coach used to say.. MAKE EM FEEL YA!!! We know in life there are no guarantees. At some point our bodies get old and may get weak and one of our enemies, despite our best effort, may hit us with a devastating attack. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather go down fighting knowing I did everything to defeat them.
Fight On and remember to stay focused and stay inspired,