So you want to live to one hundred in a state of contentment and good health? Then here’s a thriller writer’s lifestyle plan that does not cost you a cent in gym membership fees or dietary supplements. All you have to do to increase your ‘wellbeing index’ is sharpen up your DDRESS code!
So what’s my motivation for assisting humanity to achieve a state of achieve physical, mental and spiritual perfection if it’s not to make a quick buck? Simple. It’s to express my annoyance at the hordes of unqualified lifestyle gurus who are exploiting our vanity and gullibility to dip into our wallets. Their outrageous health benefit claims are usually backed up by junk science that would make an eleven year old schoolboy blush. Any attempt to debunk their nonsense is met with outrage and don’t even bother to try for a refund. My theory is that any person blessed with common sense can design an effective lifestyle plan, and I’m about to put that theory to the test.
For instant internet stardom a plan must have a catchy and marketable brand name. Welcome to the DDRESS Code. (A handy acronym for Determination, Diet, Relationships, Exercise, Sleep and Scruples.) These six pillars of wisdom will guide you through a long life of contentment, achievement and serenity like no other. Simply read on and get ready to cancel that Gym / Diet / Self-help / Funeral appointment.
Determination: Let’s face it, no one is going to hand it to you on a plate. You get out of life what you put in. Determination is the ‘D’ at the start of the DDRESS Code acronym for a reason. It allows you to overcome the inevitable knock downs in life and come back even stronger for a second and third bite at the cherry. It also helps you keep on track with the other five pillars of wisdom.
Diet: You are not going to live to one hundred if you are packing a few spare tyres around the mid-rift. Moderation and variation is the key to a healthy diet. Giving up whole food groups as a ‘silver bullet’ method of losing weight is an appalling idea and can only harm you in the long run.
A few pointers. Your body is pretty good at detoxing itself and does not need a three-day starvation ‘cleansing’ regime to help it along the way. Sugar is not a poison in any sense of the word. By all means give up refined sugar (soft drinks, lollies, cakes etc.) but do yourself a favour and keep eating fruit in sensible quantities for a long healthy life. Cavemen, pro fat, anti-fat and low carb diets are all pretty useless except that they provide motivation to cut down on excess calories which is the only proven method of shedding kilos. The fad diet industry’s only interest is in selling books and outrageously priced plastic foods.
Likewise, there is no such thing as a superfood except to the profits of the food retail industry. Gorging on blueberries or coconut extract will not make any difference to the average first world diet and neither will the myriad of dietary supplements available from your local chemist unless they have been prescribed by your doctor for a pre-existing condition.
A quick word on alcohol. The one thing that all centenarians have in common is their ability to celebrate with a modest tipple when they receive their telegram from the queen. Real ale and red wine in moderation are pleasurable and healthy. Frequent binge drinking will earn you pole position in the road race to an early grave.
Relationships: A long, term loving relationship will help you live longer. So will the ability to treat your loved ones with respect and see things from their point of view. In fact, respect and tolerance of others will also help you at work and in your social life too. These attributes are the key to elevated levels of emotional intelligence which in turn will allow you to squeeze more contentment and enjoyment from a single unit of life than your gloomy, low EQ neighbour.
A word for the wise. Respect should be a two-way street so you should never allow yourself or your loved ones to be bullied and do not allow others to take advantage of your good nature.
Exercise: Exercise will keep your heart pumping years after your mate’s indolent lifestyle has earned him a one way ticket to the morgue. Exercise assists muscle and bone durability. Use it or lose it is the key message for this pillar of wisdom.
The simple formula for losing weight is that you must burn more calories moving your body than you consume in food and drink. The multi-billion dollar diet industry tells you that you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet, but that misses the point. You must do both. But like all things, don’t get carried away. Over doing it will promote injury and push you back to square one.
It is equally important to exercise your brain as your grey matter is a muscle like any other. Take up a hobby that stimulates the mind, read a good book like the Sleepwalker Legacy and limit yourself to a handful of TV shows per week to keep those neural pathways healthy.
Sleep: There is a reason why we sleep. It is essential for muscle repair and memory reorganisation. Develop a regular and uninterrupted sleep pattern unless you are planning to audition for a part as a Rolling Stones body double. It will improve the quality of your waking life including your productivity, emotional balance, creativity and vitality. Sleep is life’s free kick so ensure you get your eight hours. No other activity delivers so many benefits for such little effort.
Scruples: Also known as values or morals, it is important to ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ to quote a particular specialist in this field. A person’s reputation is their most valuable asset and must be cultivated and nurtured. Generosity of spirit, trustworthiness and a sense of perspective will earn you respect.
The single-minded pursuit of cold, hard cash will hinder your journey towards a fulfilled life. While money is of itself neither good nor bad, it should be put in context. Humans need a challenge to reach their potential and should work hard and honestly to appreciate the finer things in life. But there must be a purpose to the acquisition of wealth. Most material possessions end up as worthless clutter destined for the skip. Far better to treat your loved ones to occasional and unexpected acts of selfless generosity than to take it with you to the grave.
So there you have it. You too can now live to one hundred in blissful contentment. But what, you may ask are my qualifications for promoting lifestyle and health advice? I’m treading a well-worn path in the self-help industry when I say ‘absolutely none’, but please feel free to turn me into an internet celebrity in any case!
And if you do not live to celebrate your hundredth birthday despite following the DDRESS Code, you are entitled to a full refund. To qualify, simply turn up in person and show documented proof of your demise. You may also be required to complete a statutory declaration stating that you did not have a sneaky ‘caveman / woman’ flirtation since you sharpened your DDRESS Code.
Your new life starts now!