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A DMC for the body

DR. SHEELA NAMBIAR.
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Treat your body as you would a Ferrari and take out a Daily Maintenance Contract, says DR. SHEELA NAMBIAR.

ave you ever bought a Ferrari? Well, maybe not a Ferrari, but a great car or the latest phone or an expensive watch. Or, for that matter, anything that costs money? What do we do once we invest in expensive gadget/gizmos? We ensure good maintenance. In fact, we go to great lengths to ensure GREAT maintenance. We buy the best possible insurance policy, upgrade, service, fuel up, buy protective gear, shine, polish and basically spend a lot more money, time and energy protecting our worldly investment. We are talking about a piece of metal here. A car that can be repaired, even replaced if need be.

Now let us take the human body. The phenomenal human body. How much do you think it should cost? Remember we have only one body. It serves us all our lives. We need it to work for us 24/7 through all our impossible times, highs and lows. We have no spare parts and, no, it cannot be replaced. How much do you think we should price it at? Priceless, don’t you think? Yet we place it under an inordinate amount of pressure and then fail to nourish it properly. We starve it or alternately stuff it with appalling food choices and expect it to behave itself. We get upset when it doesn’t. We are annoyed that it has “gained weight” or “fallen sick”. We stress it out further to lose weight rapidly and unhealthily. The abuse is relentless.

Sure, we buy medical insurance, life insurance and health Insurance. None of this ensures a better quality of life. It is not the same as a “maintenance strategy”.

What is it that drives us to be so careless about our own bodies and yet pay so much attention to inanimate material things? Is it a sense of infallibility? A conviction that, somehow, we will slip through the cracks and escape the implications of a reckless lifestyle?

We believe the rules of life do not apply to us. Perhaps justifiably. We see some heedless humans cheerfully leading long or disease-free lives. On the other hand, we also see apparently healthy individuals sometimes dying or falling ill unexpectedly and shockingly. When I advise people to follow a healthier lifestyle, I’m often asked: “But what’s the point? Look at what happened to Mr. S. He was fit, exercised regularly, ate healthy and yet he dropped dead.”

Let me make one thing clear: I never said fitness was a guarantee against death. Only that it is a guarantee for a better quality of life while you live. I, for one, would much rather lead a full and productive life, however short, than a long arduous one spent in pain or depressed, suffering ailments that could have been prevented.

Have you ever bought an Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC) for a water heater or a washing machine? Most of us do, for almost every piece of equipment we own. I even know someone who has an AMC for his treadmill that, by the way, he never uses!

I believe we need a Daily maintenance Contract (DMC) for the human body. If our bodies came with an instruction manual, it would probably say the following:

Eat clean (most of the time. Occasional indulgences are allowed).

Avoid smoking, drugs and keep alcohol to the minimum

However, we do not come with an instruction manual, so we do not bother with a DMC. Occasionally we realise that the jeans do not fit or triglycerides are sky-high and panic. Then come the desperate measures to right the wrong. Usually resulting in running for the nearest “quick-fix” remedy available. Drugs, massages, wraps, fasting, starving, drinking nasty concoctions that would probably make a skunk throw up; anything for instant results.

The panic, however, is short-lived. We get used to the weight gain or the high blood sugars/triglycerides. We tell ourselves it is part of the aging process. That we need to go with the flow, relax and take life as it comes. After all, most people around us suffer the same maladies don’t they? Therefore, it is absolutely natural. This is how we justify ill-health or a poor quality of life.

What if we pay as much attention to our own bodies as we do to our various material assets? What if we begin to follow a DMC and consider our own well being, both physical and emotional, as important and relevant to how we experience life?

What if we accept that WE are responsible for our own choices and subsequently the quality of our lives?

What if we treat our bodies as we would our Ferrari?


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