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You don’t have to be an Olympian to keep your body in tip-top shape

The 2012 Olympic Games in London are filled with excitement as athletes from around the world compete for gold and the title of "best" in the world. The Games are televised daily with eyes worldwide tuning in to the greatest sporting spectacle known to man. It is a test of superiority and greatness that is seldom matched in the "real" world of average humans.

Dozens of countries have sent their best athletes, and many of them have already begun collecting gold, silver and bronze medals – a testament no doubt to the ability of countries to fine-tune their athletes to ready them for fierce competition at the highest level. It is the kind of competition that the average "Joe" or "Jane" may not be able to endure unless he or she is trained to withstand the rigors of hard work.

Not many of us can fortify our bodies like the Olympian. Conditioning requires a serious work ethic, determination, strength training and a special diet that fuels the human machine of muscles, blood vessels, tendons and skeletal system. Many of us would rather watch from the sidelines as athletes swim, race, jump, tumble, box, vault and sprint their way to fame and glory.

If you're one of those persons on the sideline watching in astonishment the dexterity, drive and agility as a result of human conditioning, you might find comfort in knowing that not all bodies are built the same. The chiseled bodies of Olympians that are hurled through the air and expend tremendous energy are few in number, if you take into account the population of each participating country.

That brings me to my point: We have allowed our bodies to deteriorate because of sickness and weight problems as a result of poor eating habits. Too many people eat the wrong food and become lethargic when their bodies are deprived of basic nutrients, such as an ample portion of fresh fruits and vegetables. It is vitally important to change from a diet that's devoid of basic nutrition to one that supplies the body with life-sustaining nutrients.

You only get one life to live. Like the Olympian, you have to make the best of it if you want to live a healthy life. Eating the right food and working out to shake off lethargy is the key to getting the body in optimum shape. You may not be able to run, jump or tumble, but you can get the adrenaline flowing by taking smaller steps until you reach your goal of physical fitness.

Everyone, I'm sure, suffers from occasional pain. However, don't be alarmed. My question to you is: Are you ready to believe in yourself and work toward a healthy mind, body and spirit? Your health is your most valuable asset, one that shouldn't be taken for granted. If you're looking for a quick fix, forget it. Greatness comes in different forms and takes time to master; it can't be rushed.

You shouldn't offer excuses if you fail to fortify your body with the proper diet of nutrient-rich food. Who could you blame anyway, other than yourself, if you lapse into ill health and contract a deadly disease? Cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and strokes are far too common when the wrong food is consumed. In most cases, death is the common denominator.

I have noted in this column that a great deal of food sold on the market today is processed and loaded with saturated fats and calories that tend to make you crave more food than necessary. Have you noticed that there is an obesity epidemic in this country? Not long ago, Memphis was listed in a national report as the fattest city in the country. The city, dubbed the barbeque capital of the world, is chockfull of restaurants serving a heaping of pork, beef and chicken – all cooked and served in a slather of artery clogging grease.

These types of foods lead to obesity and subsequent health problems. If you want to win the battle of the bulge, you have to watch what you're eating and whip your body in shape with the proper exercise tools. In most cases, that means starting a light regimen of brisk walking before graduating to a higher level of conditioning.

If you are obese, I'm sure you're tired of yo-yo diets, sleepless nights, hot flashes, headaches and mood swings. If you are sick and taking prescribed medication, I wouldn't advise you to stop. But I would encourage you to change your diet, your environment (if it's the reason you're seriously ill) and start an exercise program to restore your health. Remember, there is no quick fix.

A plant-based diet of fresh fruits and vegetables can have a major impact on your life. You'll feel better and look even better as long as you continue to fuel your body with nutritious food – the same kind of fuel the Olympians are consuming to keep their bodies in tip-top shape.

(Dr. Timothy Moore teaches nutrition, heart disease and diabetes reversal through a plant-based lifestyle. He is a professional speaker, wellness coach and personal plant-based chef. He is the author of "47 Tips To Reverse Your Diabetes." He can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , visit him at www.cheftimothymoore.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/cheftimmoore.)

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