By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Same Song, Different Verse

Yesterday I commented on all the personal study we need to do in order to become informed, intelligent voters. That got me to thinking about how we need to do the same thing with our health. There is so much information out there, in newspapers and magazines and on the internet, not to mention television and books. Some is true, some is false, and some is a mix of the two.

It is easy to think that we can just let our doctors take care of us and tell us what we need to do. The truth is that our doctors, however good they may be, have a number of patients and a lot of medical information to keep up with. They do not have time to study each one of us and each of our conditions in depth. They do the best they can, but it is up to us to be in charge of our own health care.

The scriptures call our bodies temples. They are a gift from God and we need to learn to care for them and to master them. Our bodies can be like children--they want the ice cream, the chocolate, the sitting around doing nothing. Our spirits need to be the adults and learn what we should do and then guide our bodies to doing those right things. And our bodies are capable of learning to prefer those good things.

Thanks to the internet and other media sources, we have access to everything from general information to technical studies. We should take the responsibility to study nutrition and exercise (and I am preaching to myself here!) and find out what would be best for us. I don't for a moment suggest that we chuck our doctors and our prescriptions, but we can discuss options with the doctor and make gradual changes that can improve our health. One example would be arthritis. It hurts to move, but exercise is one of the best treatments for arthritis pain and stiffness. So we can talk to the doctor about what exercise would be good for our particular needs and how to get started with it.

Another thing we need to deal with is our desire for instant gratification. We want to lose 100 pounds overnight. We want to be able to run a marathon the first day we start jogging. Those things aren't going to happen and wouldn't be healthy if they did. One thing that helps me is to think in terms of nutrition rather than diet, which has a negative connotation of strict regimen and deprivation. Also, good nutrition isn't just about losing weight. It is about getting the nutrients we need so that all our bodily systems are functioning right. Think in terms of lifestyle changes, rather than brief forays into fad diets and other strict, but temporary, changes. Learn what nutrients you need for proper functioning of the brain, the heart, the lungs, the circulatory system. Learn what kinds of exercise give the benefits you need and how they affect the entire body. Learn what sleep, or the lack thereof, can do to those systems.

There can be just as much hyperbole about natural treatments and cures as there is about prescription drugs and surgery. Spend some time here and there learning. Use common sense. Make gradual changes, not abrupt ones. Consult with your doctor. Just as with politics and any other topic we are confronted with, it is up to us.

Why be concerned about our health? So we can live effective lives and do those things that God would have us do. How can we give and serve if we don't have the strength or energy to do so? How can we live the gospel if we are too depressed to function? How can we enjoy our families and friends if we are too heavy to move? How can we learn if our brains are not working right? I could go on and on, but you can see what I mean. Health is just as important as gospel study and education and political savvy. It is just as important as our social development and character growth. It is basically what allows us to do all those other things.

See? I told you I would be commenting on a lot of different subjects! But do think about this. D & C 59 and 89, not to mention other scriptures and statements by various prophets, tell us that God places importance on caring for ourselves properly. It isn't selfish to take care of one of the gifts that our Heavenly Father has given us. We shouldn't obsess about it, but neither should we obsess about anything else. Think moderation. Think balance. Think common sense. Pray about it. Our Heavenly Father really does want us to come to Him with all our cares and concerns. I am not a health nut and I need to do all the things I have been talking about here, but I think it is an important topic and I do not believe that we have to wait until we are perfect in some area before we can share our thoughts and knowledge about that area. One of the purposes of my blog is to help others with insights that might prove to be just the thing someone needed to hear. And so I share, imperfect though I am.

A toast (juice or water!): Here's to our good health and our common sense!



Blogger Peggy Snow Cahill said...

Amen! I'm working on that stuff, too, or trying to! Have you seen the website of Dr. Stan Gardner? He writes for Meridian and I just love his stuff.
(it's at
Thanks for the inspiration!

9:02 AM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Thanks, Peggy. I'll have to check that out. I've been thinking, too, that I'll do another post and put up a few links to get people started, if they are interested.

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bumbershoot from Nauvoo here: I think these are some valuable ponderings. The website run by the church has some excellent resources.

5:25 PM  

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