Monday, October 19, 2015

The Amazing Sawdust Diet

The Amazing Sawdust Diet


Legend has it that back in the old days a shady used car dealer could make a worn out transmission run smoothly just long enough to sell a car by putting sawdust in with the transmission fluid. This would fill the gaps in the worn out gears so the car would behave through a test drive. It didn’t take the new owner very many miles to find out they had been swindled though. The sawdust trick was very temporary and just made transmission problems worse in the long run. Even today there are stories of dubious additives in engines and gears and stop leak solutions in leaky radiators.

Fortunately consumer laws have us covered in most of these situations, even with private sellers. Expedient solutions to hide the true condition of something from a buyer are just wrong.  We certainly don’t like to be deceived and nobody wants to be served an expedient solution to a problem rather than a real fix. Temporary fixes just mean that a problem is definitely going to come back and we are going to have to deal with it again. The way things usually work out a problem is made even worse by a temporary fix. It is far better to just do things right in the first place. I try to only do business with places that have the integrity to always do things right. I think most people would agree with me on this.

It is ironic that the standards we use for how others treat us are not always the standards we use for how we treat ourselves. Far too often we just go to an expedient solution instead of really taking care of our health. This goes for all aspects of health. We don’t typically pay attention to our health until something goes wrong. When things do go wrong we seldom go for a permanent solution, rather, we grab an expedient fix. 

Right after September 11, 2001 the churches in the United States filled up with people. We were all suddenly very keenly aware of our desperate need for spiritual health so we wisely turned to the solution. Unfortunately as the flags gradually fell off of all the cars and Washington went back to the business of bickering as usual the attendance levels at local houses of worship diminished as well. The expedient fix was to seek God just until we felt a little better.

Post-traumatic stress is very much in the news these days as so many people are faced with trying to cope with situations that overwhelmed them emotionally. I’ve been there and it is no fun. A huge chunk of the population deal with the issues of anxiety and depression also. When things get too bad the wise seek treatment. The unwise stop going too soon and fall back into unhealthy mindsets that an expedient solution can’t address.

Nowhere is the human preference for expedience more prevalent than in the health and fitness world. Weight loss is a multi-billion dollar industry with more wraps, pills, secret formulas and surgeries than you can shake a stick at. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a shaking stick diet actually. As ridiculous as a lot of these things are they sell like low-carb hotcakes. We all want an expedient fix for a perfectly toned body that looks good in a hospital mirror. 

The difficulty in trying to truly resolve any of these issues is to convince ourselves to actually change something absolutely permanently in our lives for the better. A bad diagnosis can scare us into eating healthy and beating up a treadmill with our tootsies, but by then it’s usually too late for either diet or exercise to really do much good. It’s all sawdust in the transmission fluid of a jalopy that just isn’t going much farther. 

It’s interesting to me that in all of these health issues the solution isn’t so much me working myself up to greater strength of willpower as it is to me submitting myself to some true wisdom. It’s humbling to accept God’s forgiveness through Jesus and walk daily with him as God of my life instead of me. I know what it feels like to admit to needing help with mental health and emotional healing. I also know what it’s like to ridicule the health and fitness nuts until reaching the point where my clothes no longer fit and the lab results had bad numbers on them at the doctor’s office. I was faced with some serious choices that no expedient fix could take care of.

One thing that stood out to me from the outset in seeking better physical health was that no diet would work. Diets never work. Diets are expedient temporary extremes of some sort rather than a permanent change in what we eat. Good physical health doesn’t work that way. Proper nutrition has to be a disciplined daily habit with only the occasional indulgence. Our society doesn’t work this way because there is too much money to be made with expedient indulgent foods and the people around us aren’t generally prone to taking good care of themselves. So getting started in a change of lifestyle takes effort and diligence that the grocery store isn’t laid out for. It can be done though.

Thinking back on my military experience I remember going through basic training vividly. Each service has their own version of boot camp and it’s where all service members start. You don’t stay in boot camp though. Once you have been transformed from one way of undisciplined thinking into a military mindset you move on to being a productive member of military society. The core discipline actually stays with you for life. I swore an oath of enlistment on my way to basic training. Several years later I separated from active duty service with an honorable discharge. I was never relieved of my oath though. And I never want to be. I will carry it to my grave. It is a part of who I am.

A healthy body, soul, and spirit will never happen by any expedient means. Those just guarantee that we will go through life dealing with being unhealthy. That keeps us from living life to the fullest and it keeps us from fulfilling the Great Commission. Good health begins with a final decision to live a disciplined life. There is no other way.



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