I have lost 30 pounds in the last few months, but it has not been the agony that diets through the years have been. It has been about reorienting my thinking, not so much about the food itself, but about my relationship to food….. what longing I seek to satisfy with it, what hunger felt in my body is telling me……. It has been about slowing down, asking myself why I do the things I do and how I do them, especially around the issue of food choices and eating……. like where, how, when, what, why, and with whom I find myself eating. I have discovered some wrong thinking, some bad habits, some neglected discipline, some surprising insights, and some additional time to give to matters of the heart…. my own and those of others.
Eating (or refraining from eating) is correlated to relationships, to a significant degree. Even the pleasure of a coffee break or tea time. Much of it is done in the company of others. Even eating alone can be experienced as relational, if we are conscious of the why (and the other queries that make it intentional and not functionary.)
” Taste, and see that the Lord is Good.”
When what one eats is viewed through the lens of God’s goodness and provision of the day’s need and its sufficiency for God’s will and work, one begins to relate to food differently.
Whittling food choices down to essentials, as the children of Israel were required to do in the wilderness, frees up a lot of time for other things. It also makes times of celebration and feasting more special.
I shared this in a group and a woman said she liked my testimony. I hadn’t really thought of it as a testimony….. just thinking in ink about lessons I am learning as I journey with the goal of “eating to live instead of living to eat.”
The Lord revealed something just last week related to some thing else in which I have found pleasure/satisfaction/ or comfort. It had nothing to do with food. It was some deep work in my soul on another issue that arose seemingly out of nowhere. But without the attentiveness to the things I’ve been learning about myself in relation to food, I’m not sure the other call to attention about the other “habit of mind” would have even registered with me. And I’m pretty sure that the attentiveness created by the focus on food issues was used by God to bring awareness in this other area because both intersect on the issue of “pleasure” and “emotions.” So it is a part of my brain where God is dealing with me in a holistic way, not just with regard to food habits, but making some subtle changes by requiring me to think more deeply about motives, reactions, perceptions, etc.
I have a life coach who lost 75 pounds using this method. I am accountable to her every Monday for “weigh in.” She is a devoted follower of Christ, too, and we share how God is working with us, on us, in us, through us.
When I found out about her lifestyle change, I asked her, “How??”. She said, “There are 4 components. Community, nutrition, one-on-one coaching, and mindset training.
Are you wanting to lose weight or just gain healthier habits?”
One thing led to another and she became my coach. We have discussed many “non-scale victories” that the changes have brought……. Lower blood pressure, less medication as a result, reduced inflammation and consequent pain in hands and feet from arthritis, Comfortable fit of existing clothes (again), general improved sense of well-being and more. She challenged me with; BE CLEAR WHY YOU ARE HERE.
(1) What are you going to be able to do in the future that you cannot do now?
(2) Write down your “WHY”?
(3) Why is NOW the time to get started on this journey?
(4) How will you know you are being successful in this journey?
After I sent the usual why’s, I was led to one more a few days later. “After I have thought about the “why”, there is one more thing…., I know I have had some hurt and rebellion around eating and weight due to three important people, at different times in my life, having hounded me or humiliated me about it. I’ve dealt with each of them in conversations in the past and have forgiven them, but as a result, I am an emotional eater. I know I need some healing in this aspect of my life. Just being honest here with myself and you.” I don’t think I’ve shared that with anyone other than the people involved and maybe one other close friend. It was freeing to admit it.
She replied, “Thank you for being so vulnerable. I, too, am still working on my mindset when it comes to that. I am actually tearing up right now, because until I read your text, the word “rebellious” (even though I have been rebellious about other things in the past) never crossed my mind. I have been a rebellious eater. Many times my clients help me …… Thank you. That perspective will help you and help myself.”
Every week, it has seemed, I’m realizing more about myself. “I think most of my issues have been too large portions, eating too fast, and enjoying bread, crackers and sweets too often. I put everything out of sight that isn’t on my plan”
I began to have more energy and began sleeping well. I had been teetering on the edge of serious BP and orthopedic issues with ankles, knees, and hips. I was excited to think of maybe being more physically energetic for exercise….. walking, hiking, swimming….. things I have rarely done in the last ten years or more.
I acknowledged being an emotional eater and the emotional roller coaster of the last few years has had me resigned to a declining life of activity. I knew I needed to do it, but my feeble efforts were getting me nowhere. These changes, though, finally seem sustainable. For the first six weeks or so I used a daily tracker. That helped greatly and the variety has been good. It’s not deprivation….it’s informed choices.
My BP dropped to 120/80, even with only the first small weight loss. I viewed it as God’s favor for my willingness to embrace this health change completely! It is surprising how much our body is under the influence of our spirit and soul (mind, emotions, will, personality, and conscience.). When spirit and soul are firmly held in God’s peace, the devil will pummel our bodies instead. I’ve seen it over and over. I knew I needed more discipline of my body but I was indulging my grief with food. Grief from multiple life losses since Daddy’s death in 2013, actually….
Food has often been my comfort in pain and my rebellion when feeling lack of control in situations.
One day about a week and s half in I was hungry all day long. Nothing seemed to ease it. Mid afternoon I went out and walked through some shops to distract myself. I realized later that this seems to happen on Sundays….. the day of the week I seem to most miss my deceased husband, Bill….. seeing him in church worshipping, having lunch together, spending the afternoon together.
Last week I texted my coach, “Still a lot of fluffiness but at least now it IS fluffy and not solidly packed!”
Not quite halfway to goal….. But already so much healthier!