Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Fight with Food

This morning I awoke beating myself up...again about what I ate yesterday.  About the fact that the skirt I tried to put on wouldn't snap together at the waist without taking a good chunk of flesh with it. And about the fact that I have "lazily" neglected my exercise for the last 4 months.

I don't know about you, but I like being a certain size and I like knowing that I'm eating things that are good for me.  When I'm the size I want to be I don't generally think about the food that I'm eating being unhealthy.  In general, I make healthy food choices; with large amounts of chocolate and the occasional biscuits and gravy being the exception. Sometimes I eat too much- that's probably my biggest fault. But, overall, I do ok.

Anybody else ever struggle like this? Beat yourself up over things that to anyone else would seem silly? I mean, last night I had dinner and then had biscuits and gravy for a snack because Jon-boy was having a rough time and I wanted to do something that would bless him.  So, biscuits and gravy and a viewing of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark seemed to be in order. Excellent bonding moment. However, somehow when I finished I felt like I had failed myself and my body.

Then, of course, my brain trails off deciding that means that I seem to me having massive struggles with gluttony and laziness.  I assume that I must be turning to food instead of God, and therefore my relationship with eating and sitting around all day is pure evil.  I must need to repent and flail myself for a good long while over my sins. It's also a good sign that I can't ever fix this problem.  I mean, I keep doing it over and over again.  I've exercised before and here I am, still overweight. I must not be able to ever do this right. No use trying anything I've tried before because it doesn't seem to work!  Here I am as proof of that!  Such rash logic!

GAH!!! The stuff that just plagues me in my head is terrible!

So, last night I prayed and asked God to help me. Help me take care of my body. Help me eat what was good for me and not just eat emotionally.  Free me from gluttony. This morning I still woke up feeling defeated. That is not the power of Jesus! It isn't the way it works.  Something else was going on here.

Then a friend of mine called me later on and I talked to her about what I was struggling with. And she really helped me with some perspective.  Here are some things she helped me see:

First of all, I seem to forget my current circumstances- big things like surgery and pain, and sitting on the couch most of the time because I can't walk, and emotionally feeling down because I've been incredibly lonely.  Somehow, when I start thinking about my eating and exercise, I declare, "There's no excuse!" This CAN be true in some ways- I don't have to be a victim of circumstance and I can choose to eat better and come up with energy for exercise- even if I can't walk.  For instance, I can do plenty of core exercises, push-ups on my knees, sit-ups, leg lifts, arm curls- there are lots of ways I can get good and sweaty.  I can also make healthy eating choices. But that isn't all that's going on here. Making healthy eating choices that aren't a part of my auto-pilot life requires placing a high priority and focus on this in order to be successful.  So, the question is, why isn't it a high priority?

Something else must be taking that place.  So what? Well, perhaps the high priority has been to care for my kids, or not do too much, or to get school done, and rest. So, food and exercise has taken a back seat. Why, then do I throw all that information out and declare myself a loser for not also simultaneously paying attention to health and fitness?

Second, I AM committed to transformation in my life. So when I have had the time to focus on fitness and eating, I have done that successfully- and lost weight, and become more healthy.  There is no reason why I can't do it again.  There isn't anything permanently wrong with me.  I haven't failed over and over, I've just switched priorities. 

While perfect eating isn't a habit right now, it is becoming one.  I certainly make better choices than I did 8 years ago, and I am growing in this area.  There is hope that I can continue in that direction and that someday more healthy choices will be the way I find comfort.

Third, rather than seeing my emotional eating as evil and destructive, I can see it as a friend trying to take care of me.  It might not be the best way to do it, but that's the motivation behind it.  When I'm physically cold, hot food feels like a warm blanket.  When I'm emotionally low, comfort food feels like a friend giving me a hug from the inside out.

I'm not saying this is an excuse to stay where I'm at, but it does help de-emphasize the bigness of the issue. No, this is not a huge giant resistance to victory in my life that I, obviously, have little hope of ever overcoming. This is simply a time when I am focusing on something else and my body is trying to take care of me in the best way it knows how while on auto-pilot.

Does that mean that I'm hopeless on a path to destruction? NO! It just means that I either want to shift off auto-pilot and pay attention to this part of my life more OR notice that I'm on auto pilot for that right now for good reason and be ok with that.

I think I'm ready to shift off auto-pilot again, but I'm going to do it without beating myself up for the past 4 months of surgery, rest, and recovery like any sane person should. That's living in victory.