The Means, Motive, and Opportunity

"Frozen Harbor" by ©Terry Tasche of Montrose Harbor iced over

“Frozen Harbor” by ©Terry Tasche

According to Wikipedia, “In U.S. Criminal lawmeans, motive, and opportunity is a popular cultural summation of the three aspects of a crime that must be established before guilt can be determined.”

Is it a crime to have an unhealthy lifestyle, thus causing harm to one’s self? Some may think so. Let the evidence speak for itself.

First, the means! The ability to live an unhealthy lifestyle could be the means, like sitting too much and eating a lot of unhealthy food. Next, the motive, often the reason one may feel the need to move minimally and to eat unhealthy food. And, lastly, the opportunity, which is to provide one the chance to avoid exercise and eat much junk food.

These three elements can convict the guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. All the signs become clear. Unhealthy food and minimal physical activity show up as the culprits that can cause much chaos in a body that once was healthy.

Most bodies start out healthy. The youngsters run and play. The oldsters stop running, or walking, and start sitting more. This negligence of the body can have a spiraling effect. This delinquency, or absence of attention to healthy activities, leads to slow deterioration. The result is seen in the speeding up of the aging process when one ignores the evidence.

But, what if the opposite of each were also true, and could bring back the body to a healthy center? The means is the ability to engage in regular physical activity and move more, which results in a healthier lifestyle. And, plenty of nutritious food is available, is it not? Healthy food choices can begin to bring the body back to a healthy balance, and a healthy body is more available to engage in physical activity. It’s the circle of life.

Studies show that the stronger live longer. Muscle contributes to health. Muscle burns more calories than other tissues do. Fat just sits there, and without moving, bodies gain weight. It just doesn’t go away on its own. Get up and move. Take a walk and enjoy the fresh air.

The means, although simple, may be difficult, because it requires taking action. You may ask if it’s really necessary to stick to a healthy diet plan by making healthy food choices, and get regular exercise by moving the muscles every day. These actions improve health, strengthen the body, build muscle, and burn calories through exercise.

Second, what is the motive? Facing the reality of poor health reports can be a big motive to move it and get in shape. Terry Bradshaw, the famous former quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers stated his motive when he said, “I was overweight and out of shape!” How’s that to motivate! His “before” picture showed how he’d added excess pounds, and his “after” picture showed that he’d gotten motivated, lost weight and got in shape. It doesn’t happen without the right motive, motivation and willingness. Willingness, i.e., to stay motivated to move more and to stay away from junk food, is a key ingredient.

Do you need it, AND do you want that healthy lifestyle? A little humor never hurts, like when a dear friend humorously shared this about herself, “I know there’s a body under that fat somewhere.” So, you can ask yourself,  “Am I moving more and eating less? Or am I eating more and moving less?”

Taking a clear and naked look in the mirror can provide the motive to get started. View yourself with clothes on, and with clothes off. Covering an overweight body with nice clothes is not the solution.

Knowing the risk factors can add even more to your motive to focus on health.

Studies reported in the Harvard Men’s Health Watch found that a large waist circumference, reflecting abdominal obesity, was linked to a high death rate. It states, “Many studies confirm that upper body fat (the “apple shape,” or “beer belly”) is much more dangerous than lower body fat (the “pear shape”).”

And, the report continues, “In fact, fat plastered around the body’s internal organs (visceral fat) is much more dangerous than fat layered beneath the skin (subcutaneous fat).” A waist circumference of 40 inches and over in men, and 35 and over in women, signal high risk. A lackadaisical attitude won’t help much. So, knowing your numbers will hopefully add to the motive and improve your motivation.

I love reading the Agnes cartoons by Tony Cochran. Regarding sticktoitiveness, Agnes said, “I never give a hundred percent effort—I like to keep it at about fifty percent or so.
That way, if I fail, I only half fail…the humiliation isn’t as bad as failing one hundred percent.”
Her good friend, Trout, replies, “Wow…That’s quite a recipe for greatness.”
Agnes says, “Yes, and when I am older, I’m gonna give speeches to semi-motivate people.”

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal: nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” Thomas Jefferson

Now, let’s move on to the last element, the opportunity. The thought of attending future anniversaries, weddings, and reunions may be just the opportunity you need to help get you motivated to take action. Imagine walking into your high school reunion with a slim and trim body. You might try focusing on a body wanna-be. For instance, have you seen a body you’d like yours to look like? Keep that vision in mind. Or, cut out a picture of your previous trim and fit self and put it on your fridge. Set aspirations high, because you’ll never do better than what you aspire to do. If you don’t reach the highest level of your aspirations, you may be disappointed. But, in retrospect, you probably went further than you would have if you had set more modest goals.

Here are two questions to ask yourself: “Why do I weigh what I do? and Where’s the weight?” Here are two ways to determine how much adipose tissue (fat) you have and where it is, i.e., body fat measurements and how it’s distributed: *1) the BMI (Body Mass Index) and **2) the waist-to-hip ratio.

Christopher Guest said it best in The Princess Bride, “Let’s just start with what we have.” The goal is heart disease, stroke and cancer PREVENTION. And, hot off the press and just heard on the evening news, “Overeating doubles the risk of memory loss.” So, before you forget, remember to eat right and exercise.

As the old saying goes, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. And, the unhealthy can get healthy again when they take action and keep a healthy lifestyle in mind.  Remember the means, the motive (desire), and the opportunity to keep your focus on your health each and every day.

Copyright © Terry Tasche – All Rights Reserved

*1) BMI (Body Mass Index) calculation = weight in pounds x 703 divided by height in inches = total divided again by height in inches. 

BMI value guidelines: 17-20 under weight, 20-25 good, 25-30 overweight, 30-40 obese, over 40 morbidly obese.

**2) Waist-to-hip ratio = waist circumference (in inches) divided by hip circumference (in inches). A ratio of 0.95 and above for men and 0.85 and above for women signal high risk.

4 Responses to The Means, Motive, and Opportunity

  1. Cherilynn Veland
    March 10, 2015 at 5:32 pm #

    I love your references to so many different sources. In addition, I also believe in laughing at ourselves. However, the crime connection about not taking care of one’s self hits home for me because, as a therapist, I listen when clients are aggrieved at their parents’ unwillingness to take care of their health. Neglecting one’s health is not only harmful to ourselves, but to those that love you. Thanks for the reminders, Terry!

    • Terry Tasche March 11, 2015 at 11:21 am #

      Thank you, Cherilynn!
      That’s a great point and so true! You can not only hurt yourself,
      but also those who love you.
      Stay motivated. Stay healthy so you can be around to enjoy your family,
      and they can enjoy you, for a long, long time.

      Terry Tasche recently posted…The Means, Motive, and OpportunityMy Profile

  2. Sheri March 14, 2015 at 5:27 pm #

    I liked the way you included willingness — such a key ingredient for taking care of our bodies, which in turn, helps us mentally and emotionally.

    Thanks for putting the BMI info and waist-to-hip measurements in a clear format so I don’t have to try to find them.

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