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Faith Without Works is Like Diet Without Exercise

Friday, August 10, 2012

This thought stuck in my head yesterday when I was having lunch with my mother-in-law. We've both been on two completely different weight loss plans, with hers having started a few more months than mine. She's doing WW, while I am solely coming on here to keep track of what I'm eating and how I'm exercising each day.

It seems her weight has dropped significantly from cutting out various foods and beverages, which is awesome. But here's the thing: she's hit a plateau, which she says happens when she tries to lose weight, and she has not exercised one iota! In her case, it's procrastination and maybe a little fear. She's got all kinds of aches and pains, and keeps telling herself she'll walk one of these days. Until then, she's content with watching what she eats and remaining positive. I couldn't help feeling like it's all an act of futility!

I completely understand having those fears, though. I know I was kind of trapped in the belief that even if I exercised once, what good will it possibly do? I would need several hours of exercise to amount to anything. Or so I thought. All I really needed to do was take that first step! And the rest just kept coming, one minute, one day at a time.

Seeing things from our two perspectives made me consider the analogy about faith without works being dead. In a way, when someone diets (having faith in their food) without doing the phsyical activities to match (the works they produce when properly fueled), then it leads to a shabby substitute of real faith on two counts: 1. because you say you're doing all you can to lose weight when you're not, and 2. you don't have enough energy to keep up in the lifestyle you've begun refining. Now I'm not calling out my mother-in-law for not doing what I do by any means - I love her to death and she is a smart, talented woman who eagerly craves to be lighter and more lithe than she has been in recent years. And she really did need to change her eating habits more than be fit. After all, she also has a physically demanding job of working in a bakery, so it's not like she has a desk job where she can't get out and move much. She used to, and at first the switch to being on her feet was a little tough. But she's conditioned herself to the environment, which is great!

I guess what I'm saying is, it can be so easy to tell others how to be healthy or be a good role model to them without actually being one. And when the other people who've looked up to you find out that you're only half-baked, they lose trust and shy away from you. I'm hoping my mother-in-law gains her courage soon (I'm rooting her on!!) so she can feel more confident as she continues on her journey. I wish her well. Since she's not trying to "convert" anyone, I don't find her an active threat to anyone's weight loss endeavors; even so, I think on some level she is robbing herself of the joy of a more active lifestyle. Perhaps one day soon she will discover it and become hooked like I have.

I can tell you, though, who the real hypocrite of it all is. This topic reminded me of another person entirely who ruined me for the spa industry, in which I briefly thought was my calling, my "dream job." I have struggled the past 3 years to let go of the hurt and uncomfortable feelings that get conjured up when I hear any sort of spa music. Why? Because I was hired at a natureopathy spa for a month, where the director was a natureopathy doctor who on the surface seemed helpful and nice. To her clients, she was. But with her staff - not so much. My training was mostly on the spot, one week total for a few hours each day in between my week's notice at the job I was leaving, given by the person I was replacing. I'm not going to even talk about the things she instructed me to do that were wrong, but I will say this. Once my week of training was completed, and if I got stuck on a task, my employer was not very nice about it. She was constantly paranoid that I was not doing my job, left me alone for long periods of time and was convinced I was not working while not being watched, and would find things to yell at me about for not doing her way. I was losing my mind trying to keep up and find ways to please her!

The last straw came when I saw her scarfing down a burger and fries that her husband brought her after-hours before she had a last-minute client rushing in who couldn't make it during regular business hours. What was healthy in working yourself (and your staff) so hard that they couldn't take regular breaks? Why couldn't she see that by being patient and taking the time to build up her staff would go a long way? When she gave away one key task I was supposed to be doing but never had the chance to do at all, and started nit-picking with everything I did, I knew my end was coming one way or another. I kept asking my husband if I could quit, and he kept telling me to ride it out. But when she finally fired me after a month, it was an emotional hurt but a relief at the same time. I've never looked back except to think about what experiences I would NEVER want to repeat again, and what I had learned from being there.

I realize not all health places are bad like that. They're not ALL hypocritical, but that still opened my eyes to the real truth out there - that it is so easy to give your all to those you help, while completely draining yourself (or others). It's not fair, but we've all been victims. The times we've been at the doctor's office and the staff are less than courteous at the end of the day. The grocery store clerk who mindlessly rings up our sales without really engaging us in conversation. Stuff like that. They're there, but they might as well be uncaring robots because of just going through the motions, but without heart, or because they have hit overload. Or maybe they're the opposite because they WANT our business (i.e. MONEY) - so they are cheesy-friendly, bubbly and all fake-smiles in our presence, but the moment we are gone they talk about us jokingly. Either way, they are damaging their reputations by being that way - either to the people they serve, or the people they work with, or their employers, or all three.

Because of all the experiences I've had thus far in my life, I want to make all my moments count. Especially now as I am trying to be a healthier me. It's not a cake-walk by any means, nor am I perfect whatsoever...but I am trying to be as honest as I can in any situation so that I am genuinely ME and can correct any attitude or action as quickly as possible before it festers and ruins my relationships with others. That motivation has gone a long way to helping me succeed so far, and I'd like to think I will keep going. I want to keep having faith so I can produce good works, both in body, mind, and soul. Keep moving forward!
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