On Sheeple and Smart Cars

Everyone has an opinion.

For a few years now, I’ve had no car. It’s been moderately unpleasant, but not excruciating.

On one hand,  life without a car in New Jersey can be tricky, especially as a lawyer and as someone who dabbles in local politics.

On the other hand, I live in a very urban area.  My town sits directly on the Hudson river across from midtown NYC, and having a car around here is a pain. Parking is expensive (200-300$ month), unpredictable, and inconvenient.  Even if you can afford parking, good luck finding it.

Despite living in an urban area with a terrible parking situation, I recently came to feel like my lack of transportation was holding me back.

I needed a car, but I needed something cheap and I wanted something tiny. I did my research, and test drove about a billion cars (well, actually just a few). Finally, I narrowed my search further to just two contenders:

  • The Fiat 500; and
  • The 2016 SMART ForTwo

In all honesty, I preferred the Fiat. The Fiat is slightly bigger (which I didn’t like) and slightly more expensive (which I felt was OK). But the Fiat is real car whereas the SMART is *almost* a real car.  So in an ideal world, I would have gone with the Fiat.

Unfortunately, although similarly priced, the lease terms on the Fiat were not feasible for me, while the SMART was very much affordable. Also, if I chose Fiat, I’d have to shell out an additional $200/month for parking (at least!), whereas the SMART parks for free. So I went with the Smart car.

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Here I am in my silly little car.

I really love my little Smart car, but it’s a weird car and it’s not for everyone. First, it’s about half the size of standard car. Second, it only has two seats. To make things worse, previous models have been heavily trashed due to poor performance.

For most people, the SMART is the definition of impractical. But for me, it’s the most practical car I could have right now. I have no children and no need (or desire) for a roomy car. I live in a land notorious for a lack of parking. I like how it drives, and also, I can afford it.  Most importantly, I can park it.  In sum: it works for me.

So why am I posting this on FatGirlsFitness?  Because my car works for me, and it might not work for you. And that’s a metaphor that transcends the automotive realm.

Here Come the Trash Talkers

Since I’ve gotten my new car, I’ve heard nothing but trash about my decision.  A normal thing to say to someone upon the acquisition of a new vehicle might be something along the lines of “hey dude, congrats!”  But be wary my friends.  If you get a weird car, the opinions will come, and they won’t stop coming.  They’ll say:

“Wow – you actually paid for that golf cart?”
“That’s not safe on the highway”
“Did you do your research? You could have gotten a 2003 Acura for the same price.”

Here’s the thing.  I  really don’t want a 2003 Acura, so please don’t make me have one. I want a 2016 SMART. How do I know? Because that’s the car I got. And interestingly enough, every single person who has actually stepped foot into my car loves it. It’s only those who have zero experience with my car who seem to develop such strong feelings against it.

So yes, I actually paid for the “golf cart.” Actually, I find it drives beautifully on the highway – you should try it.  Yes, I did exhaustive research. In fact, it was based on that research that I determined that the Smart is the most practical choice for me.

But still, it might not be practical for you.  And that’s OK.  That doesn’t mean it’s impractical for me.

Teachable Moments

I think there are more than a few teachable moments in the tale of my new adorable car.

  1. People have a hard time wrapping their heads around things that are unusual or new, but most still feel a need to have an opinion on all things. It could be your car, your diet, your job,  or your fitness routine. This is human nature.
    • “CARS SHOULD HAVE FOUR SEATS AND SHOULD BE A OF A CERTAIN SIZE”
    • “Fat is the devil”
    • “If you don’t eat six meals a day, you’ll go into starvation mode”
    • “You can never lose weight without a dedicated workout regime”
  2. What works for you might go entirely against conventional wisdom for any number of reasons. Maybe conventional wisdom is wrong, or maybe it simply doesn’t apply to your circumstances. Maybe conventional wisdom is 100% right, and you are a freaky mutant who just won’t listen. So who cares? Be your freaky mutant self. You weren’t put on this earth to be practical. You were put on this earth to do whatever  it is you want to do. (Unless what you want to do is diss my car).
  3. Peer pressure is strong.  We are hardwired to want acceptance. Why else am I writing this blog post? In some way, I’m still trying to justify my “impractical” decision to the universe, even though I know in my brain that I made the right choice for me

Moral of the story?

Don’t give in to those who will shower you with haterade.  If you do anything in this world, you’re going to get criticism that you probably don’t deserve, even if it’s something as seemingly inconsequential as leasing an unusual car.  Take the criticism, and use it only to the extent that it benefits you.

But if you do give in,  that’s ok too. You might end up with a 2003 Acura. And maybe (just maybe) that would be the perfect car for you.

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Weekend + free time = wanting more food

Ahhh, Friday. Sweet, sweet, Friday. We impatiently wait for the weekend to come and while it’s awesome that we get two days to do whatever, I have a huge problem when it comes to food! Over time, I’ve learned self control (only took about 27 years), but I am human and I still love food and the temptation is always there.

So what do I do to control myself?

In my opinion, the most important thing to do is to keep ROUTINE.  Of course it’s ok to sleep in but I suggest staying as close to your daily routine as possible. The first thing I do when I wake up (besides brushing my teeth) is drink a bottle of water and about an hour later I have breakfast, usually a hard boiled egg with a serving of nuts or a Greek yogurt with a serving of fruit. Both options high in protein and not overly filling or time consuming to make! Let’s get real, time is precious and I don’t want to waste it.

Don’t graze. Grazing is the worst! Visualize this scenario… you are binge watching something awesome on Netflix, like, The Arrow (That Oliver Queen… isn’t he so dreamy?) and you want some popcorn. A cup or two is fine, but once you start, you can’t stop and now you binge watched a whole season of The Arrow and downed an entire bag of popcorn and life is sad because you finished the season and the bag and you feel guilt that you ate a whole bag of popcorn. My solution- keep a weight by you (kettle bell is totes my obsession right now) or a resistance band or even a chair.. wait, even better, you don’t need any equipment, just a wall (hamstring blasters, walk planks, wall squats). Your heart will be racing for more reasons other than Ollie… I mean, Oliver Queen aka The Arrow ::swoon::

I like to go to the gym first thing in the morning after my pre work out of walking my dog, Marty. He’s my best pal. And hey, if you guys don’t have a gym membership or don’t feel like going to the gym, go for a long walk with your four legged friend or take a shelter dog for a walk—adopt don’t shop! They will be happy and you’ve burned calories. That’s a win win in my book.

Anyway, if I work out in the morning, I am less inclined to cheat because that work out is not going to waste. No way, Jose.

Eat before you go out to dinner. “What do you mean eat before going out to eat… that’s what an appetizer is for!” No, no, no. You got it all wrong! Gosh, would you just listen to me! I think we are all visually hungry more so than physically. Those loaded cheese fries look appetizing, don’t they? Not anymore! Just stop, ok! Have a snack before you go out so you are just enough satisfied till the main course. Phew! look, we made it through the appetizer part of the dinner. I always lean toward the meats and substitute fries with veggies or a sweet potato but if you decide to indulge, upon receiving the food, cut your meal into 4 parts and have them doggie bag three out of the four parts. PORTION CONTROL!

I’d say you had a pretty successful weekend if you follow some of the pointers above.

Do you have any additional tips? I am always open to new suggestions.

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