McGoff: Take care of your most valuable asset

March 14, 2012
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Indiana Lawyer Commentary

By Sharon McGoff

mcgoff-sharon McGoff

Do you remember your first car? Do you still have it? Most likely, it has long since died and you traded it in for a new model, many new models ago. But, what if you were told you could have one car to last your lifetime? How would you have taken care of that first car? Would you have regularly taken it in for maintenance, washed and vacuumed it, put quality gas in the tank, kept it garaged, and driven it reasonably so as to not stress the engine? You likely would have taken extraordinary care of this car, knowing it would be your only means of transportation for your life.

Compare this car to your own body. This is the first and only body you have, right? You can’t trade it in for a newer model when it wears out, yet we are not kind to our bodies. We don’t maintain them to keep them strong, alert and healthy; we don’t drive them reasonably; we don’t put good fuel in our tanks; and we survive on low quality and quantity sleep, all of which put an undue amount of stress on our body’s engine. We all have excuses for not taking care of ourselves: too busy, too tired, don’t know where to begin, don’t know how to relax/de-stress. Let’s get past these excuses, one choice at a time.

“I’m too busy to exercise.” Small steps go a long way. You don’t need 30 or 60 minutes at one time to exercise. Exercise in any amount gets your heart pumping and keeps your arteries flexible and malleable, preventing heart disease. To fit incidental exercise into your day:

Take the stairs and not the elevator. If you work on the 28th floor, take the stairs to the fourth floor, then take the elevator the rest of the way. Each week, tackle one more floor.

Walk for 15 minutes before work, at lunch or after dinner. Park far away from the building you are going to.

Walk to your co-worker’s office instead of calling or emailing, and schedule walking meetings.

If you watch TV, do 10 pushups, 10 situps and 10 squats during each commercial.

At your children’s activities, instead of sitting, walk for 15 minutes, do 15 toe raises, 15 squats, and 15 pushups against the bleachers or wall.

Play with your kids when you see them outside – remember hopscotch and HORSE?

In your office, sit in your chair and stand 10 times; put your hands on your desk and do 10 pushups; hold your arms out to the side and circle them 10 times in each direction for a minute.

“I’m too busy to eat healthy.” With the time it takes to drive to a fast food restaurant, wait in line, order and pick up your food, you could have made a healthy meal. A few ideas for each meal:

Breakfast: Low fat/low sugar yogurt with fruit; whole grain/high fiber cereal with skim milk, egg whites and whole grain toast.

Lunch or dinner: Make a large bowl of salad with pre-cut vegetables on the weekend to enjoy all week. Buy pre-cooked chicken breasts to pair with the salad and use barbecue sauce instead of fattening dressing; to serve with vegetables; or to slice in a tortilla with salsa and low-fat cheese. Make boxed macaroni and cheese without butter and with skim milk, canned tuna/chicken and vegetables.

Snacks: Fruit and raw vegetables, low-fat string cheese and Greek yogurt. These snacks are high in fiber and protein, which keeps you satiated longer.

“I’m too tired.” Numerous studies prove exercise actually increases your energy. Even if you feel tired, exercise for at least 10 minutes. If you don’t feel energized after that time, it’s not your day. Also consider how late you stay up and whether that time is well spent and worth living in a tired and worn-out body.

“I don’t know where to begin.” First, get clearance from your doctor and find out if you have any restrictions. Once you are given the “go,” start slowly. You didn’t gain weight overnight and it won’t go away overnight, but it will go away with each healthy choice you make. Slow and steady wins the race! Incorporate incidental exercises into your day, as described above, and begin with 15 minutes of daily walking. Gradually increase the time each week by 10 percent. Write the exercise in your calendar as an appointment that will not be missed, much like an important client meeting.

“I don’t know how to relax/de-stress.” Of course you do! All you have to do is BREATHE. You can do that, right? Breathing doesn’t take extra time or resources, and you can do it anywhere, anytime! Here’s what to do: inhale deeply from your belly, counting to four, letting your belly expand, hold your breath for one count, and exhale completely for eight counts. Repeat until stress subsides.

If you have five minutes, find a quiet place to sit, close your eyes and take several slow, deep breaths to clear your mind. Continue breathing deeply and repeat the word “one” to yourself as you exhale. If you get distracted, just bring your focus back to the word “one.” Remember, you can’t always control what goes on outside, but you can always control what goes on inside.

Unlike your first car, this is the only body you have. Make a commitment with yourself to take care of it, one choice at a time. You are worth it!•

Sharon McGoff is a graduate of Indiana University Maurer School of Law, a certified personal trainer and health fitness specialist with the American College of Sports Medicine, and a certified life and wellness coach with WellCoaches, Inc. She owns Fit 4 Life Coaching and welcomes your questions or comments at


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  1. Especially I would like to see all the republican voting patriotic good ole boys to stop and understand that the wars they have been volunteering for all along (especially the past decade at least) have not been for God & Jesus etc no far from it unless you think George Washington's face on the US dollar is god (and we know many do). When I saw the movie about Chris Kyle, I thought wow how many Hoosiers are just like this guy, out there taking orders to do the nasty on the designated bad guys, sometimes bleeding and dying, sometimes just serving and coming home to defend a system that really just views them as reliable cannon fodder. Maybe if the Christians of the red states would stop volunteering for the imperial legions and begin collecting welfare instead of working their butts off, there would be a change in attitude from the haughty professorial overlords that tell us when democracy is allowed and when it isn't. To come home from guarding the borders of the sandbox just to hear if they want the government to protect this country's borders then they are racists and bigots. Well maybe the professorial overlords should gird their own loins for war and fight their own battles in the sandbox. We can see what kind of system this really is from lawsuits like this and we can understand who it really serves. NOT US.... I mean what are all you Hoosiers waving the flag for, the right of the president to start wars of aggression to benefit the Saudis, the right of gay marriage, the right for illegal immigrants to invade our country, and the right of the ACLU to sue over displays of Baby Jesus? The right of the 1 percenters to get richer, the right of zombie banks to use taxpayer money to stay out of bankruptcy? The right of Congress to start a pissing match that could end in WWIII in Ukraine? None of that crud benefits us. We should be like the Amish. You don't have to go far from this farcical lawsuit to find the wise ones, they're in the buggies in the streets not far away....

  2. Moreover, we all know that the well heeled ACLU has a litigation strategy of outspending their adversaries. And, with the help of the legal system well trained in secularism, on top of the genuinely and admittedly secular 1st amendment, they have the strategic high ground. Maybe Christians should begin like the Amish to withdraw their services from the state and the public and become themselves a "people who shall dwell alone" and foster their own kind and let the other individuals and money interests fight it out endlessly in court. I mean, if "the people" don't see how little the state serves their interests, putting Mammon first at nearly every turn, then maybe it is time they wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe all the displays of religiosity by American poohbahs on down the decades have been a mask of piety that concealed their own materialistic inclinations. I know a lot of patriotic Christians don't like that notion but I entertain it more and more all the time.

  3. If I were a judge (and I am not just a humble citizen) I would be inclined to make a finding that there was no real controversy and dismiss them. Do we allow a lawsuit every time someone's feelings are hurt now? It's preposterous. The 1st amendment has become a sword in the hands of those who actually want to suppress religious liberty according to their own backers' conception of how it will serve their own private interests. The state has a duty of impartiality to all citizens to spend its judicial resources wisely and flush these idiotic suits over Nativity Scenes down the toilet where they belong... however as Christians we should welcome them as they are the very sort of persecution that separates the sheep from the wolves.

  4. What about the single mothers trying to protect their children from mentally abusive grandparents who hide who they truly are behind mounds and years of medication and have mentally abused their own children to the point of one being in jail and the other was on drugs. What about trying to keep those children from being subjected to the same abuse they were as a child? I can understand in the instance about the parent losing their right and the grandparent having raised the child previously! But not all circumstances grant this being OKAY! some of us parents are trying to protect our children and yes it is our God given right to make those decisions for our children as adults!! This is not just black and white and I will fight every ounce of this to get denied

  5. Mr Smith the theory of Christian persecution in Indiana has been run by the Indiana Supreme Court and soundly rejected there is no such thing according to those who rule over us. it is a thought crime to think otherwise.