Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Camaro Analogy...

I love analogies. I think that is what first got me so into Dave Ramsey's book "Total Money Makeover" - he does lots of analogies with comparing money and finances to weight. It really hit me hard and just made sense to me, and from then on I am really into analogies.

Yesterday, as I was dragging myself out of bed at 5:30 to workout, I was reminding myself why I do this - because I like how I feel afterwards and I like the person I have become as a result of changing my health. And I choose to do this - no one is making me do it. I have a LOT of people ask me how I do it, why I do it, and then tell me that I am so great or so awesome or whatever for getting up that early or eating that strictly - whatever the case may be. And I really hope that does not sound like I am bragging. If anything, it kinda bugs me. I don't feel like I am doing anything that amazing, I don't feel like I am an inspiration, but I am not gong to argue with people who chose to see me that way. While I was doing a personal pep talk to get out of bed, this analogy came to my mind and I just had to share it.

Let's say that Suzie Q is 18 and just graduated from high school and off to college. For her graduation present, her parents give her a brand spankin' new convertible Chevy Camaro. {Nobody should give an 18 year old that kind of car, but hey just roll with me here} The only stipulation is that she is responsible for the maintenance of the car, on her own, but they paid for the car with cash so she won't need to worry about making payments on the car.

Suzie Q drives her car to graduation and everyone is drooling and jealous over how lucky she is and that they wish they could have a car just like hers. But over time, it isn't as exciting anymore. People at college don't really care about how nice her car is. The car needs gas and she has to pay for her insurance, which starts to seem tedious each and every month. And then there is the occasional tire replacement, oil change, etc. Before she knows it, Suzie Q is mentally complaining about her new car that she has to take care of. She gradually stops taking it to be detailed, stops cleaning out her school papers and clothes that end up in the back seat each day, doesn't vacuum out the dog hair from the back seat, etc. She reasons with herself that she will get to it next week, next month semester - just not right now because life is too chaotic.

Then she starts procrastinating getting the oil changed. Next she chooses not to wait in line at the tire store to get the tires rotated. The check engine light comes on, but the car still works so she doesn't worry too much about it. Her car registration is due and she procrastinates that too - it's an extra expense and money is really tight right now, being a college student and all. On a spring day during spring break, she tries to roll the top off the car so that she can enjoy the spring weather but it isn't working. She made a mental note to get it fixed before summer - driving around with the top down is a requirement when you have a convertible!

Then one day, her car won't start. She tries everything and it just will not start. She knew it was pretty low on gas, but it had enough in there to get her to and from school for a few more days, at the very least. She called a friend to get a ride to school, and had a friend, who happened to be a mechanic, come look at her car when school was out for the weekend. He said it looked like her battery had died and the cables were too corroded to jump start it. She scraped together enough money to buy a new battery but it STILL wouldn't start. After looking under the hood some more, her friend came to the conclusion that maybe her engine had died. She was shocked! How could this have happened?! Thinking he was wrong and just trying to get money out of her, she called a tow truck and had the car taken in for a second opinion at the Chevrolet dealership.

The diagnosis was the same - the engine had died because she had no oil in the engine. The total on how much it would cost to get the car running back to normal was FAR more than she could afford, between replacing the engine, repairing the sunroof, fixing miscellaneous timing belts, cables, new tires, getting the car re registered with the state, etc. She had taken a wonderful gift from her parents and nearly ruined it. Yes, it was fixable, but it would take a lot of work and a lot of money {translating into a long time, because she would need to save up for it}.

Now compare Suzie Q's car to our bodies. When we came to this earth, Heavenly Father gave us our bodies to house our spirits while we are here. What an AMAZING gift that is!! As a result of the wonderful gift that He gave us, we are expected to take care of it. To put in the right kind of fuel, to do the necessary maintenance. This gift was bought and paid for - we just need to take care of it. And thanks to fast food and how convenient our lives are becoming, taking care of our bodies is becoming less and less of a priority. It's seems to be on the backburner - whether it be finances or kids or no kids or work or no gym pass or whatever. Excuses come up and if we let it get out of control, we can find ourselves in a similar situation as Suzie Q. Having to change eating habits or stop drinking this or start doing this or quit eating that can seem like too much, especially when you see how long the road ahead is to get your "car" back to where it is designed to be.

For me, it started gradually, thinking that it would be okay if I ate this or skipped this workout and before I knew it, I had developed some very bad habits. I really gave up on myself, and by the time I realized it, it was nearly too late. I told myself often that I just needed to deal with it - there was no way I was going to be able to change now. But guess what - it WASN'T too late. It just took a LOT of time, dedication and effort to get my "car" back to how it was designed to function. If I had worked daily on the little "maintenance" things, I wouldn't have needed to work this hard to get these results.

That being said, I wouldn't change it for the world. Yes, I regret that I didn't take good care of my body and that I let myself think nothing was wrong with being 300 pounds at 22 years old. But I have learned SO much about myself along this journey. I have learned SO much about nutrition and exercise, and it has become a HUGE interest & hobby of mine. When I go back to college {someday}, I will be getting my degree in nutrition. And I never would have realized just how fascinating nutritions is to me if I hadn't taken myself on this journey. I have learned to be grateful for the little things, like being able to buy clothes at any clothing store I want. Or being able to buckle a seatbelt at an amusement park or on an airplane. Yes, I could do those things before but it was a tight fit and now it isn't uncomfortable at all!

I have learned that I am in charge of my body and how it feels {for the most part - obviously something's are out of our control, like cancer}. I have learned to realize when my body is communicating with me. Just because my stomach feels hungry doesn't mean it's okay to scarf down 2 McDonald's sandwiches off the dollar menu as a snack. Just because I had a bad day doesn't mean it's okay to have ice cream for dinner. I may not even be hungry - it may just be that I am thirsty. Or that I need to eat some more lean protein at my next meal. My body won't run the way I want it to if I don't fuel it the right way. As a result, I am choosing to eat this way, to work out this way, to get up at 5:30 every single weekday to work out and get drenched in sweat. I am choosing to have my muscles be so sore somedays that I can barely walk up a flight of stairs. I am choosing the blisters and the smelly laundry. I am choosing to say no to a donut {happened today!} and eating my slices of cucumber instead. Because I know that I am worth this. And I ALMOST have my "Camaro" body!! Don't even try to tell me THAT isn't worth it!!

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