THE BLOG
11/14/2014 11:00 am ET Updated Jan 14, 2015

The Only Tip You'll Ever Need to Live a Healthy Life

It's holiday time! For many of us that means overeating, followed by dieting, typically in the form of an ill-fated but well-intentioned New Year's resolution. Others are bound and determined to sweat off the excess baggage by plunking down a hefty sum for a long-term gym membership. For added motivation, why not sign up for a prepaid package of personal training sessions? The usual result -- when the buffed specimen asks them to re-up, they disappear from the health club never to be seen again -- until next January.

The more frugal among us buys a treadmill or exercise bike and vows to use it every evening after work. Almost as soon as it's set up, it becomes apparent that there are so many other things to do in the evening, all of which seem like more fun than working out on a machine while your brain screams "I don't want to do this!" Before long, the home gym gathers dust and acts as a clothes drop.

Then there's the lure of the magic pill. The placebo effect of downing Dr. Oz-endorsed miracle fat melters may trick your brain for a while, but then you wise up and stop wasting your hard-earned cash. Sadly, the health and fitness industry is only too happy to grab for our wallets as we cycle through fitness trends over and over, like serial daters.

The stark fact is that two-thirds of the population is now overweight or obese. We're taxing our bodies everyday with excess weight that it's not equipped to handle, ingesting way more calories than we need, and making very little attempt to make use of that fuel by moving our bodies.

We all understand the importance of taking care of our bodies. And, at times, we do focus on eating a healthy diet and on getting moving. But, most often, we choose to make our health a low priority. We tell ourselves that we're just too busy to pay attention to what we eat or to make time to work out. Mind you -- we intend to start -- real soon.

If we've been blessed with good genetics, our bodies can put up with years of neglect and abuse before signaling the point of no return. Suddenly, it seems, our body is falling apart. The breakdown may take the form of a chronic disease like diabetes, or inflict unrelenting back or joint pain. Yet even this loud wake-up call frequently elicits only a short-lived response. Most often we decide to succumb to the quick fix -- drugs or surgery.

Let me suggest a way out of this start-stop conundrum. How about if we get literal? As Jim Rohn, the well-known entrepreneur and motivational speaker put it: "Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live." How about if we started treating our bodies at least as well as our homes?

You maintain your home, don't you? You pick up all the kids' toys. Take out the trash. Vacuum up the dirt the dog dragged in. Run the dishwasher after dinner. You even do the gross stuff, like cleaning the bathroom. Bottom line: Somehow you find the time and money to devote to the upkeep of your abode.

Doesn't your body, the precious vehicle that houses your soul, with its amazing life-sustaining automatic functions, deserve at least comparable devotion? Try on the idea. It just might give you the motivation to put health maintenance on the front burner.