Monday, February 16, 2015

New Habits Weekly Check-in: Freedom

I'm writing this post while sitting & trying to calm my gurgling belly.  I overdid it last night on guacamole & red wine and my stomach is very unhappy with me.  So, obviously I'm still in the learning curve of what I'm going to write about in today's post.

You see, I came to a realization this week that for all that I was talking about wanting to learn moderation, tonot be enslaved to food, to be as healthy & natural in my eating patterns as possible, I wasn't really following through with that in some of the goals that I was setting for myself each week.

I had set myself up to fail.

For instance, week one was eliminate caffeine & adult beverages.  Week two was eliminate sugar.  Week three was eliminate night-time snacking.  When you use a word like 'eliminate' there's no real wiggle room.  And, when you slip up, which as a human being is inevitable, it becomes an excuse to claim failure & fall even further off the wagon.

As I mentioned in my first weekly check in, I've always kind of been an all or nothing girl.  Nobody can live in the 'all' zone all the time, so it's a swift descent into the 'nothing' zone for me....which is how I got into this physical mess in the first place.

And, here's the other thing...even when I'm 'doing well' and sticking to the plan, I'm still focused on food.

Being focused on food is my problem.

Trying to change eating patterns can increase that focus to laser beam intensity rather than reduce it.

So, what is the answer?  Just give up?  Absolutely not.  But, I do believe that the answer is in changing my focus.  And my focus needs to be on my relationship with God.

You see God loves me deeply & fiercely.  And, when I replace my love for Him with other things - whether it be entertainment, or food, or any number of things, it grieves Him.  And, frankly I can't do the whole getting healthy thing on my own strength.  I've been trying that for 44 years.  When we turn our attention to God, He will gladly give us the strength to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to Him....including being good stewards of the bodies & the health we were given.

I realized I'd been punishing myself.  I was wearing pants that were entirely too tight.  I went through my days extremely uncomfortable & irritable.  I thought that the discomfort would motivate me to work harder.  But, it didn't.  It only reinforced my belief that I was a failure & not good enough in this area of my life.  The worse I felt about myself, the less I felt like putting forth the effort.

This all might sound a bit familiar to you.  It's similar to what Lysa TerKuerst had to say in her book Made to Crave, a book that when I read it really bothered me for some reason that I couldn't quite put my finger on.
But what she says about how we are programmed to crave is spot on.  Because we are programmed to crave God's presence.  And, we try any number of things to fill ourselves instead and find ourselves feeling even emptier

I do think part of what she talked about in her book was part of what I'm rejecting - the idea that some foods need to be eliminated altogether.

I  feel like that's been my downfall.  Trying to eliminate foods.  Because that's not moderation.

It's still a good idea to avoid/ cut down on the things I was trying to eliminate.  But, I'm going to eliminate the word 'eliminate'.  Instead of obsessing over whether or not to have a piece of chocolate or a cup of coffee, I'm going to give myself the freedom to make that choice.  And, then, I'm not going to punish myself for it.  Because coffee or chocolate is not the bad guy...obsession is.

And rather than punishing myself by throwing in the towel & binging, I will enjoy those things and move on.

And, most of all, I just don't want to think about food so much.  I want to spend my time & energy focusing on God and pressing in to Him.

A bit more on that gurgling upset belly I have today as a result of last night's overindulgence.  Am I suffering the consequences?  Oh yes.  But, am I going to allow guilt over messing up last night keep me from moving forward?  Nope.

And, I'm going to continue to ask God for the freedom to love Him without ever putting anything before Him.

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