Classic or Clunker: A Peculiar Lesson About Your Eating Habits

Don't let your body become an old clunker.
Don't let your body become an old clunker. (Flickr )

Just the other day, Mike and I were on our way to the grocery store and saw a gorgeous classic car pass us on the road. We were marveling that it was still on the road when many of the other cars built that same year were in the junkyard or otherwise destroyed.

This morning, an image of that car popped into my head again and the words, "classic or clunker" whispered to me. The main difference in a classic car vs. clunker car is in the maintenance.

It's not in the washing, oil changes, tune-ups, tire rotations or other maintenance tasks the owner does once and then forgets about it. It's about the maintenance tasks the owner does repeatedly over time.

When I was in my early 20s, I learned a hard lesson about car maintenance. I knew my oil needed changing regularly, yet I kept putting off the task. I even bought the right oil once and put the bottle in my trunk.

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However, I never poured the oil into the reservoir where it belonged.

The oil warning light came on in the car eventually, but I ignored that.

Well, one day driving on the Interstate, my car started making a loud knocking noise. The car shook and smoke started pouring out of the engine. I got the car over to the emergency lane and lifted the hood.

I suddenly remembered that I had oil in my trunk. I frantically got the oil and started pouring it into the reservoir, smoke billowing everywhere.

But it was too late. My engine was destroyed and its replacement cost over $1,000.

You better believe I have never allowed that to happen again. I always make sure my oil is changed now.

Unfortunately, it took longer to make that connection when it came to my body.

Instead, through my 20s and most of my 30s, I expected my body to run well off of junk. I threw sweets, junk food and snack food into my body with abandon.

Eventually, my body started giving me warning signs that something wasn't right. It started storing excess fat. My skin didn't look healthy and broke out. I had itchy patches on my arms and upper back. I got out of breath easily with any exertion. My blood pressure started going up.

I ignored these warning signals. Well, I'd make a halfhearted effort to change, but that never lasted long.

Then one day, I got a warning that was hard to ignore. I had a chest pain that I thought was going to kill me at the age of 38.

I realized that I could not get a new heart as easily as I got a new car engine! Plus, I did not want to endure the pain of a failing heart.

Today, almost 13 years later, I am so glad I did not ignore that warning. I made a decision that I wanted my latter end to be better than my beginning.

While aging is inevitable, how we age is largely up to us. I'm challenging us to do what we can to age into classics, like a classic car.

Here are some examples of health maintenance tasks I do daily:

  • Drinking a minimum of 8 cups of water or green tea per day
  • Eating a minimum of 2.5 cups of green vegetables (usually it's 4 cups). My favorites are turnip greens, broccoli, spinach and cabbage.
  • Eat minimal sweets and junk. This is the toughest one for me, but experience has taught me that the more I eat of sweets and junk, the more my tongue wants it. That is why I keep them out of the house.

Besides, the rest of my body tells me that this is "food" it doesn't want. After all, eating junk will make my body go "clunk"!

I use the lesson from the old movie War Games when it comes to sweets and junk. In the movie, a teenager almost starts World War III through hacking into a government game called "Thermonuclear War."

But the computer eventually learns that nobody wins when you are dealing with nuclear weapons: "A strange game. The only winning move is not to play."

Here are some questions I have for you to turn things around:

What warning signals is your body giving you or has given you to alert you that you are headed for "body trouble"?

What maintenance tasks are part of your plan to age as a classic?

If you haven't established any tasks, then which one will you start with?

Aging well is essential to your purpose as well because you need energy and vitality to do the work the Lord has called you to do.

We admire classic cars because of their beauty and rarity. They have stood the test of time. I hope you determine that your body will stand the test of time and be there for you as long as you need it!

Kimberly Taylor can testify of God's healing power to end binge eating. She is an author and the creator of the Christian weight-loss website Visit today for inspirational health and weight-loss tips.

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