“The glutton digs his grave with his teeth.” – English proverb

1. Don’t eat foods that are bad for you.

These include foods that, although they may taste good, make you sick, give you stomach problems, or make you tired. Many people are sensitive to dairy and wheat products but either don’t know that they are or don’t care. There are many good things to eat. Why make yourself miserable for a cheap, temporary thrill?

2. Eat foods that are good for you.

There is a great deal of controversy about which foods are good and which are bad. The sources we trust (see above) favor fish (preferably fresh and broiled) and meat (range-grown if possible), vegetables that grow above ground (spinach, dark lettuces, zucchini, string beans, sprouts, etc.), nuts (peanuts are not nuts), and berries. “OK” foods can be eaten in small amounts. These include citrus and other fruits with pips (see “Word to the Wise,” below), tuber vegetables (carrots and potatoes), rice, butter, processed vegetables, and whole-grain bread. “Not-good foods” are to be rarely consumed: These include any sort of cake or candy, refined starches (like pastas and white bread), fruit juices, and soda.

3. Plan your meals.

A few minutes each day spent thinking about what you are going to eat — and keeping track of it in your journal — will ensure that you are fueling your body with the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants it needs. Plus, you’ll enjoy eating more because you’ll be making it more of a conscious part of your day.

3. Eat less of everything.

You’ll live longer if you eat less. Studies show that adults need about one-third the number of calories they consume. You’ll probably never be comfortable on only 900 calories a day — but if you make it a habit to leave a little of everything on your plate, you’ll gradually see your overall appetite get smaller.

4. Eat slowly.

You can’t taste food when you wolf it down. I know. I’ve wolfed down at least a thousand good meals.

Eat this way in 2003 and you will enjoy your meals more knowing that they are:

* giving you more energy

* increasing your strength

* strengthening your immune system

* reducing your risks of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes

* making you look better

Plus, by staying lean you’ll avoid a host of medical conditions that most people — and even most doctors — don’t think of as being related to weight. These include asthma, ulcers, arthritis, and menopausal and prostate problems. (Dr. Sears tells me he’s noticed that many of his patients overcome such illnesses when they get lean.)

“I still can’t believe other doctors don’t even measure body fat,” he says. “I tell my patients that getting lean and staying that way is the best health-insurance policy they can have.”

And if all that isn’t enough to persuade you to get (and/or stay) lean this year, consider that studies show that lean people are more likely to:

* be hired after an interview

* be promoted

* make CEO

* make more money than their fatter counterparts

So it’s not just about looking good.

You can get your body fat measured by using calipers that can be purchased at any good sports or natural-health store. Sometime this week, find out where you are now and set a goal for yourself.

In the meantime, plan a good diet and resolve to stick to it.

NOTE: For men, the American Council on Exercise defines “lean” as having a body-fat composition of less than 18%; for women, less than 25%. There is a lower limit to healthy body fat. The council calls this lower limit “essential fat.” Dr. Sears advises no lower than 10% for a woman and no lower than 6% for a man.

One more thing. If you are not now subscribing to one of the following health newsletters, I recommend you do so:

1. Dr. William Campbell Douglass’ “Real Health” http://www.agora-inc.com/reports/NAH/WNAHD102

2. Dr. Al Sears’ “Health Confidential for Men” http://www.agora-inc.com/reports/BUL/HealthyNow/

3. Health Sciences Institute’s newsletter http://www.agora-inc.com/reports/HSI/WHSID177

Tomorrow, we’ll get started on our final group of goals for 2003: those that will make us wiser and happier.

[Ed. Note.  Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]

Mark Morgan Ford

Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Wealth Builders Club. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.

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