October “Not Afraid” Challenge Post #3

October 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

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Hey Everyone!!  This is my 3rd post in my October “Not Afraid” Challenge and Giveaway!!

If you want to join in this challenge (and see what the prizes are) just check out my 1st post on the topic here

***The posts under this topic will be related to my faith and how it has helped me in the past to overcome  fears that make losing weight difficult for me. There will be 5 posts on this topic.  They will be up on Thursdays with the title “October Not Afraid Challenge”. All you do is submit a response to each of the 5 posts in the comment section to be eligible for the prize.  You don’t have to agree with what I’m saying and you aren’t required to be of the same faith as me either.   I just love to hear your opinions and responses.

Last week I posed these questions to you:

Do you believe that feeding the spiritual side of you is an important element in losing weight?  

Do you have any doubts or insecurities about how your faith can help or hinder you in the weight loss journey?  

Thanks again for the awesome responses!! In reading over your answers, I realized that we are all so very connected in many ways.  We experience so many of the same fears.  Pam discussed how scary it is to face the future when she is worried about her husband dealing with cancer.  That is frightening.  I completely understand how fear of the future would weigh down on her.  Many of us face fears of what the future will bring.  Maybe it’s fear from a  divorce or an illness.  It could be that we fear losing our job.  Or that we have fears regarding our children.  Whatever the fear you face may be, fear is real.  It certainly has an impact on me when I am trying to lose weight.  Honestly when am in a fearful state and I know food will help to calm me down then in that moment I really don’t care if it’s “healthy” or not.  To me the fear I am experiencing feels almost life threatening.  As if I am going to lose control of myself.  Calming myself into a state of mind that allows me to deal with my life at that moment feels more important than worrying about what the scale will say tomorrow.   I think the problem for me came when I had to use food daily to do that.  For a lot of people it really isn’t a problem.  The problem is when the fear is daily and never goes away.  Then the calming force that food brings into your life can also lead to debilitating health problems if obesity takes over as a result.

This is why I know that my faith must sustain me through these times.  I can’t turn to food or alcohol or any other destructive substance every time I feel uneasy in my life.  That is because (for me) that feeling of uneasiness and anxiety is often a daily issue.  It depends on my life circumstances but very often I deal with it daily.  I have found that developing my faith in God and building a relationship with Him is what has led me to have peace during times when peace just didn’t make sense.   I have found, though, that it is something I must constantly develop and work on.   I have to constantly fill my mind with God’s Word in order for me to be able to call it back up from my memory during my “freak out” times.   If I don’t feel that peace coming from God, I will go look for it at Arby’s.

But has my journey with God been a straight line? NOPE.  Not at all.  Sometimes it has been all over the map.  I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels that way.  I think sometimes people in the Christian community tend to make it appear that they never waver in their faith.  That they always have it together.  This makes me feel like the black sheep sometimes.  As if I’m the only one who continues to have their dry periods where they just don’t feel as if God’s presence is with them.  But I truly believe that a lot of people out there struggle at times.  I think the key is to keep going even in the struggle.  To not let your doubts infect you and throw you completely off course.

Holly (not me but another one!) left a comment on last week’s post that I identified with.  She said:

 I’m grateful that I have been able to find some healing in my spiritual life. BUT! Does that mean I had this amazing conversion experience and I have this perfect and amazing faith now?!? NO! Saul on the road to Damascus I am not. I still feel bitter about my childhood experiences with church sometimes. I worry that I’m kidding myself about a God of my understanding, and that the wrathfully and scary God of my childhood is the “real” thing. I worry that by participating in church, I’m agreeing that what I went through wasn’t “that bad”. I also worry that expecting God to care about my weight when there is so much other suffering in the world is crazy and selfish.

 She said a lot of things I related to but this was just an excerpt.  I cannot tell you how much I relate to what she said about Saul on the road to Damascus.  Saul was completely against Jesus and was literally going around killing people that were following Him.  Then one day he encounters this bright light that tosses him off the horse and blinds Him.  It’s Jesus audibly saying “Why are you persecuting me?”.  Immediately Paul (who changes his name from Saul to Paul)becomes a believer and ends up writing a huge portion of the New Testament and becoming one of the greatest leaders of Christianity ever.  He never seems to waver either.  He’s all in after that.

I agree with the other Holly.  I’m not like Paul. I tend to be more like Thomas.  The disciple that was like “Oh sure Jesus just resurrected from the dead.  Show me your hands.  Do you have holes in your hands from the nails where they nailed you to the cross? Then maybe I’ll think about believing you”.  I have a tendency to be more like that.  On the other hand, Jesus has never audibly spoken to me or physically appeared before me.  I think if either of those two things happened I might be like Paul and Thomas who after seeing and hearing Jesus right in front of them had no problem believing.  I guess that Jesus knew how hard it would be for others to believe in Him that did not have the advantage of seeing Him appear to them physically.

That’s why He said, “‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’ John20:29 (NKJV)

After all, we don’t have the advantage of having him literally appear to us in the flesh.  And most of us don’t have him audibly speaking to us in our living rooms.  Trust me I’ve tried…

“Hello? Jesus?  Helloooooo?”

Nope.  Never had an audible answer.

Once when I was 18 years old, I went through a major crisis of faith.  The world was ending for me because I was not able to go to the college that I wanted to go to.  My first pick selection was not going to happen.  Therefore the world had ended.  Oh how young and naive I was back then!  This was long years before my husband would walk out on me and leave me to raise 4 children alone.  Before my mother died.  If I had known all THAT was going to be happening, I would not have thought losing my first college pick was such a tragic circumstance.  But I was 18 and for me that was tragic.  And I began to doubt if God even was real.  I thought that was the plan for my life and suddenly it wasn’t.  I didn’t understand.  So one day I was standing in the shower and I said…”OK God if you are real….then show me.  Right now.  Do something.  Talk to me.  Appear.  Something.  But I am NOT getting out of this shower until you do something to prove you are real”

It was a showdown between me and God. I’m not sure why it happened in the shower.  Why I suddenly got all worked up and fed up while washing my hair with the apple scented Salon Selectives.  But that’s where it happened.  Where I finally made my stand.  And I waited.  I stood my ground.  And I wasn’t getting out of that shower until God showed his face or came through like a blinding light on Damascus saying….

“It’s ME! I’m here! I’m real!”

I waited.  And then suddenly the shower went ice cold.  All the hot water was gone and I came flying out of that shower as fast as I could.  Freezing to death.

I didn’t get a blinding light but I got a cold shower.  I decided maybe God had a sense of humor after that.  And he probably didn’t care for ultimatums.

I realized at some point that having faith in God meant rolling the dice.  That there was no way for me to know for sure if He existed but that it was worth the risk to give it a shot.   Over the last few decades, God has shown Himself in ways that felt so real to me my doubt became less and less.  So many times when it just seemed too unbelievable that something happened in a certain way.  I look back on those times now as the proof I need during other times when I’m not quite as confident.

In her comment, she also said that she’d had a bad experience with church growing up.  I completely relate.  I would not at all be lying if I told you that I am a Christian in SPITE of the ‘church’  and NOT because of it.  I say ‘church’ because I am speaking of the general church and not any specific ones.   The point is that I have been to amazing churches that truly represented Jesus to be as I believe Him to be.  Then I have been to churches that literally did nothing but misrepresent Jesus in my opinion.

When it comes to those out there whose faith has been hurt because of a bad experience in church, I would just like to say you are not alone.  I truly believe that it is actually the Christian church that often drives people away from Jesus more than anything.  And that is extremely sad.  There is no doubt that many people here on earth who claim to represent Jesus will be in for a rude awakening one day.  Jesus Himself said that there will come a day when this happens:

 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me” (Matthew 7:21-23)

I don’t ever want to be included in that group.  I really hope that anything I say about Jesus never pushes someone away from God. I talk about my faith on this blog because I know that for ME that is the primary way I have managed to lose the weight that I have.  I can pinpoint my gaining back weight to when I personally began putting less effort into my relationship with God and more effort into a life where I depended on myself for strength.  As I stopped feeding my faith, I once again fed the appetite of my flesh(with food, alcohol and other things).  Any progress that I make generally has a direct correlation to getting back on track with God.  However, my relationship with God is very personal.  And while I go to church, it is not always there that I have experienced my faith increasing or growing.  Often times it is in spite of my experiences at church that I still believe in God.

Please don’t take this negatively.  I don’t mean it to be.  I just relate to individuals who have often found the church to be the last place they would find a reason to have faith.   I think that (for me) it is important that I make my decision about God based not necessarily on the people who represent Him.  For me, I must base what I believe about God only on my personal experience with Him.  I do this through my own personal time in prayer, reading the Bible and asking God to guide me.  That is where my real growth happens.

I still attend church because I still believe in hope.  In the hope that I will find a place (not perfect) but good enough to fellowship with like minded individuals.  Those who are authentic and while not perfect— truly seeking Him in their life.  In San Antonio, I belonged to a great church.  I hope to find one here as well.  Nothing is perfect and that much I know but I still keep trying.  In spite of knowing that it is an uphill battle.

More importantly though is that I seek Him in my daily life.  And that I try my best to never pretend.  To be authentic.  That is why I willingly throw myself under the bus at every turn on this blog.  I admit that I’m not perfect.  That I’m far from it.  I admit my doubts and my own insecurities.  I do it because if  I am going to dare to speak about Jesus then I better be real about it and not fake.  That no one sees my faults and mistakes as something that gives them a reason to not believe in His power.  He is the perfect One.  Not me!  So I just want to present my side of things when I speak on this subject and to always be open to what others have to say.  To never judge.  To never be close minded.

Where am I now? Still often struggling.  But I’m getting there.  I will keep pursuing God’s peace in my life and I believe that He will continue to help me.  I believe that with Him I will finally achieve my goal of losing this weight.  More than that I know that He can give me the peace I need so I don’t have to find it in food.

But am I scared? Yes I often am.  I am often scared that I won’t feel that peace.  That I will be left with nothing but the gnawing anxiety and fears that plague me at times.  That the loneliness I often feel will overtake me.  That the fear I often feel at having to raise my kids alone will drown me.  But yet here I am still afloat.  I attribute that to God.  And that is why I will not stop seeking Him in my life even when I often fear that He has had enough of my nonsense!

So my question for this next week relates to fear—-

Imagine this scenario.  You suddenly get it in your head that you want something to eat.  And it is not time to eat.  You know you are not hungry.  And what you want is off your food plan.  Maybe it’s candy.  Maybe it’s driving through the fast food restaurant.  Whatever it is, there it is. That thought.  And the slow descent into madness begins.  The mental fight where you try to resist giving in but it becomes harder and harder.  In that moment, what are you afraid of? What do you think could possibly happen if you just don’t give in? If you just don’t eat the food that you are craving?  Have you ever stopped and asked yourself at the height of that moment….what am I so afraid of?? What could possibly happen if I do not eat what I want in this moment?  

I look forward to hearing from you!

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Anneli Byrd October 15, 2014 at 7:55 pm

Wonderful post!!!! I identify with so much. Two quick thoughts before I answer the question. 1. I think Mother Teresa once said that she had doubts. Can you belive that? Mother Teresa!!! 2. Something I enjoy—a couple years ago, I started keeping a “miracle journal.” This journal is a record of the miracles in my life. MY prayers being answered, gifts that have come to ME, Inspirations that have lightened MY mind. It’s wonderful to read about the miracles in the Bible, but, it’s soooooo helpful to re-read about God’s presence in MY life not just someone who lived long ago.

The question. I’ve never thought of that!! What am I afraid of? I NEEED more pizza!! Because if I don’t get it….I’m going to MISS OUT! Here’s this wonderful experience in a tough world and I’m going to skip it??? I don’t think so!
Maybe too, I’m afraid that I’m going to be LEFT OUT. I missed out on a lot of experiences when I was young because I thought I was too fat and my self-esteem was pretty low. I resented this even then. My family was weird. My Dad has aspergers, my mom was German. I was fat, wore braids and was terrible at sports and I can’t dance. I didn’t get asked to Prom. And yet… I KNEW that I was worth knowing! I am smart and funny and even cute. I was constantly being left behind by those who weren’t nearly as nice or as talented. Looking back, I can see that most of my limitations were self-imposed. But even still, I don’t want to miss out on anything else. But when I’m in the throes of Pizza desires, I can’t see that too much pizza is going to hit my self-esteem. All I know is that I WANT it, and that if I don’t have it, it will be unfair. I’m not going to treat myself unfairly!!! (Problem, the whole ‘no pizza is unfair’ is not true–but at the time it FEELS true, and I get fooled by that feeling every single time.)
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 16, 2014 at 7:47 pm

You know, Anneli, it is so crazy that you just mentioned Mother Teresa as just the other day I heard a quote of hers on the radio. It was talking about how she started out basically with nothing. That she had decided that in order to help the poor she would then go live among them. She was homeless and had nothing. During that time she truly learned what it was like for those she wanted to help. Yet at the same time she was tempted to get out of there! To go back and return to the safety she had left behind. Instead she was determined to stick it out no matter what. If she had just returned and given up, we never would have heard of her or the many things she was able to do to help people. This reminds me that when we start something out there will always be the temptation to go backwards. To give up. But if we believe in our hearts that we are following God’s will for our life then we have nothing to fear. It also reminds me of how Mother Teresa believed that in order to help the poor she needed to live among them. So she would really know what it was like. That, to me, is how all of us are helping each other with this issue of obesity. While I appreciate the compassion that many have given to me along the way (who truly do not have the problem I have)…the most help I have ever received would be from those who have been there. Who know what this is all about inside and out bc they have lived it.

I also relate to your feeling of being left behind and left out. And how now there is this big desire to NOT let that happen anymore in life. I also feel that way at times about food and how if I can’t have it somehow it is unfair. In that moment my brain goes berserk and only feels that it’s wrong to not eat! I so relate!

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Renee October 15, 2014 at 8:54 pm

What could possibly happen if I don’t eat what I want the moment I want it ? What am I afraid of ? Hmmm… great question. It can’t be that I will never get another serving of chips and salsa, so I MUST eat them now. It can’t be that the chocolate chips that I love, will never be produced again. It surely cannot be that the extra slices of pizza in the fridge will get old and I won’t be able to eat them. There are many, many things that definitely will not happen, if I don’t get to eat when and what I crave. Then why can’t I just wait it out? What am I afraid will happen ? Here’s one…I do everything for everyone else. Why can I not have this for me. I deserve it. I have EARNED it. I don’t really get anything else just for me…can’t I at least have chips and salsa? Have I made this my line in the sand? I can provide for everyone everything they need, if I can just have this food when I want it? Regardless of how I feel later. What the scale will surely say tomorrow morning. How much self-worth gets sacrificed with every chip? What am I afraid of: there being nothing left for me, if I can’t at least have food.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 16, 2014 at 7:25 pm

Oh my gosh Renee. I GET THIS! I call it the rebellious side of me. That part of me that just gets angry and tired of not having what I want and just wants to rebel and say “Give it to me!!” Like you said…”I deserve it” and “I earned it” so why shouldn’t I have it? I totally relate to this. There are days when I think that I’ve sacrificed enough in my life so why should I sacrifice the one thing that gives me so much joy? Chocolate chip cookies!! And yet like you said when I give in I only end up being mad at myself later on. I am so double minded with this. One day I want the food but the next day I want the weight loss. Make a decision I need to say to myself. And stick to it!

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Eileen October 16, 2014 at 1:43 pm

I do believe it’s a fear of having the overwhelming urge never go away! My fear is that if I don’t give in and eat, then the angst will never end – that I’ll continuously have the horrible torturing feeling. At least when I eat the feeling is relieved for awhile and my mind can return to normal. I’m having trouble articulating exactly what my feelings are.

However, that being said, I am finding that renewing my mind with God’s truth to combat the LIES that I tell myself (and that satan whispers to me) is leading to greater victory over food.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 16, 2014 at 7:20 pm

Ok great point Eileen. If the fear is that the feeling will never go away then it makes perfect sense for us to succumb to it. There is no way we can withstand that feeling indefinitely. If it is temporary then we can stand it though. And I KNOW it is temporary. So why do I always forget that??? This is so important. We must try and remember that cravings are temporary and that we will live through them. Amazing how we forget it though when it happens! Like you I have to constantly fill my mind with truth. It is just shocking to me though how quickly the truth can leave me if I don’t constantly get a refill!

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Michelle October 16, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Wow…talk about making me reach deep on this one. I’ve honestly never thought of it from the perspective of what I feared would happen if I didn’t give in to the craving. Identifying the fear that drives me to give in to the craving which you so aptly labeled “madness”– because it truly reaches a crescendo of an all consuming madness–has me stumped. Why are there times that I give in knowing full well that the times I haven’t given in result in me being happier and feeling more confident about myself. I have to ask myself, is it fear that causes me to relinquish control to the beast from within or is it because somewhere inside of myself I still don’t fully feel I deserve to be happy? Or maybe I still don’t believe 100% in my abilities and capability to be happy and to succeed? Wow… One thing is certain, I have come to the realization that much like the layers of an onion, as I peel away the layers of fat that I used to insulate myself from the world, it becomes more and more difficult to ignore these things. I am no longer invisible. Funny how that works isn’t it? The bigger we became, the more invisible we were to the rest of the world. Now people can see us, warts and all, and that’s a scary thing sometimes. I now have something new to work on. I need to mediate and pray and dig deep inside myself to find why I allow the cravings and desires for food to consume me and take control over me when I know full well that not succumbing to the temptation will result in happiness and satisfaction and giving in results in self-loathing and misery.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 16, 2014 at 7:18 pm

Michelle,

There is so much here I can relate to. Especially how you become more invisible as you get bigger. This is so completely true. I am not sure many people understand how difficult it is to be “out there” once you lose that insulation. You want that and then when you get it somehow you feel more vulnerable. It’s just a strange thing that not everyone can get unless they’ve been to the ‘invisible’ point of obesity. Like you, I have found there are many layers to deal with. Thank you for peeling them back with me!

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Sherri October 16, 2014 at 8:37 pm

Great question! I’ve never asked myself what would happen if I didn’t give in. Usually the thoughts going through my head are like a battle between good & evil. The good me is trying the battle off the evil me who is trying to take over at that moment with the notion that I can’t possibly live without that piece of cake or whatever it is at that very moment. I was just having a conversation with a friend of mine about our relationships with food. Unfortunately lots of memories in my life surround food. When those memories are happy & bring good feelings, you begin to equate eating that food with feeling that happiness. My goal right now is to try & make new fun & exciting memories that don’t surround food. It’s difficult, but can be done. My husband & our friends have been doing that & we have been making great new memories. I’m glad to say I don’t have a food associated with them. Now the hardest part is to separate my good childhood memories from the foods that I feel I need to eat to recreate. Especially the ones I have with my father, he’s now passed & I don’t have the opportunity to create new memories with him. It’s something I believe I will continue to struggle with, but I CAN & WILL overcome this. I’m strong enough & I want my health enough to do this for ME!

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 17, 2014 at 2:11 am

I relate to the good and evil battle. It reminds me of that old cartoon with the little angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. I totally feel that way at times! I also understand how food becomes attached to memories. I have the same experience with smells. The scent of apple cinnamon always makes me feel better. That is also why I am so attached to coffee. My mom loved coffee and the scent of it reminds me of her. I have a really tough time not associating certain foods with emotions. I always think of eating oatmeal or grits when I think of my Nana bc she loved that. She would often say to me in tough times ,”Just go make yourself a nice warm bowl of oatmeal. Put a little sugar and cinnamon in it and then you’ll feel better!” So i always am reminded and actually comforted by food that I associate with these things. They don’t call it comfort food for nothing!

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tammy October 17, 2014 at 6:06 am

What would happen and what in the world am i so afraid of? I had to search my soul and walk through the shadows of my past for an answer to this. Not “the” answer, but at least “an” answer. While growing up it was always the people who loved me that fed me. They covered up for me and protected me, and filled my belly with southern fried love.Home was always a hungry place, not because we were poor or didn’t have food, but because I was a fatty in the making, a little girl who loved to eat, and every mouthful iI took was watched and counted and spooned out along with a tiny portion of disgust by a mother who loved me but was terrified that I was going to go from chubby to revoltingly fat. After leaving home and being on my own in the kitchen and at the grocery store all my poor mama’s nightmares came true.Over the past three decades I have gained and lost and gained and lost and eaten and not eaten and eaten.I punished myself by not eating to lose weight and then eventually gained it all back and even more because i just wanted to feel good. and feel loved. and what am I afraid of? That if I don’t give in and comfort myself with my old frenemy food I may have to find some other way to deal with my hunger for love and security. I may have to look into the void I have always covered with tater chips and french fries and I am terrified of what I may see. God is holding my hand and I know He has not given me a spirit of fear…..but I hate dealing with it. I can go for weeks without looking in a mirror but every time I tell myself “no” it reminds me that “oh right–I’m miserably fat and I don’t deserve that to eat,” I have to look in my inner mirror and tell myself I deserve food that won’t make my body sick and fat but strong and healthy, capable of moving and dancing and living. Gosh I miss dancing. I have to learn to look at myself to learn to love myself without comfort food. That’s a lot. and its scary. my mind is in worse shape than my body and I feel overwhelmed but I have to try. and try. and try. Thank you Holly for the encouragement.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 17, 2014 at 7:09 pm

First off can I just say that I loved your phrase “Walk through the shadows of my past”. You are so eloquent!!! This is such a great analogy! There are so many things I relate to in this post that I almost don’t know where to start. I have felt all the things you’ve said. Especially about not eating bc I don’t deserve to eat. Because I’m big so I shouldn’t be allowed to eat. I also like what you said about the inner mirror. We all need one of those! The inner mirror is where we need to look first. Before we ever look at anything else. For so many years the only mirror I liked was the rearview mirror in the car bc it was so small that it only showed a portion of my face. Even when my face was swollen it didn’t show that. And for a long time I would only allow myself to see that part. I think we need to first be able to love ourselves at the weight we are. Knowing we are ok as we are without losing a single pound. Maybe then we will look at weight loss not as something that we must do to be valuable but merely as something to improve our health. But not our value. You said so much in here that is so good!! Thank you!

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Tanya Martin October 17, 2014 at 8:41 pm

I can tell you many things that I have tried to do instead of give in to temptation, but none seem to work for me.
*Brush my teeth so I don’t eat
*Drink a glass of water
*Eat some raw veggies
*Go to sleep
I try to tell myself this food will not leave the planet. It is not the last chance that I will ever have to eat this food.
If you asked me what am I afraid of if I don’t eat this snack? I would probably say I’m not afraid, I just want that snack. I need that snack. I will go crazy if I don’t get that snack. I will try all of the tricks that I mentioned above – but then I will still eat the snack!!!!!!!

I have a hard time with willpower. I just need to get my thinking changed so that I don’t give in to temptation.

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Susan October 18, 2014 at 7:21 pm

If I am craving it …. Then it probably ain’t good for me. I have to get the adult in charge to tell the child in me – NO! If that (cookie / doughnut / bag of chips) will fill you up, then a (salad / fruit / veggie) will do it too. If I listen – then the craving will pass. My second goto craving crush is something Holly mentioned in her exercise post… If I give in – it is slowly and painfully killing me. Any obese person knows the physical and mental pain we go through.

What could happen if I don’t give in to the craving… Well maybe I can meet my goal of 55 pounds gone by my birthday. Maybe I can feel better and move better. Maybe I can fit in any chair with no worries. Maybe the rules apply to me; less food and more exercise will work. Maybe MFP diary can stay within my daily goals.

I fought these 3 times this week, and won. Next week I may fall off that wagon and get thrown beneath the wheels. That is when it gets real HARD to get back on program. But this week I did it. I have to change my life, and some days that happens by beating one craving at a time.

Tammy’s post really spoke to me “I have to learn to look at myself to learn to love myself without comfort food. That’s a lot. and its scary.” I got to love who I am now to become who I want to be.

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Holly October 20, 2014 at 12:57 pm

I haven’t commented on this yet because I had to take a few days and mull it over! I really appreciate you responding to my comment… I was very touched by what you had to say. It is good for me to hear other Christians say that they too have faith struggles. Even people I would never think struggle with doubt- like you! I also identify with Thomas very much. One thing that does comfort me is that Jesus didn’t call Thomas out or make fun of him for his lack of faith. He lets him touch him and loves him anyway. What a beautiful concept!

Anyway, I have thought LONG and HARD about the question in this post- what am I afraid will happen if I do NOT give into a craving, or eat something off my food plan. It’s hard to answer this for a coupel reasons. One, I usually give in! HA HA HA! Also, my food plan is pretty low on restrictions. I have a calorie budget, I track my food carefully, but I don’t palce too much emphasis on restriction. I have had major issues in the past with over-restriction- cutting out major food groups and stuff, starving and binging, etc. One interesting thing I read about binge eating disorders said that binge eaters trying to break out of the cycle of binging and restricting will often try to break the cycle during the BINGE part of the cycle- naturally, if you are just eating and eating without being able to stop, that is the time it seems to make sense to crack that whip on yourself! BUT I read that it actually can be more helpful to break the cycle at the RESTRICT part, because overly restricting, letting myself get too hungry often leads me directly into a nasty binge. So my strategies with my food plan are largely about keeping myself from getting too hungry. You might have heard of HALT- Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. Those are all big time triggers for overeating. In my experience, I have struggled with all of those but mainly my trigger is hungry. That’s one reason why plans that emphasize extreme restriction and waiting to eat until I’m literally drooling have been so harmful to me personally! (Of course, YMMV! I would never want to tell anyone that waiting for hunger is a bad thing if it works for them.)

Now sometimes I DO think I would benefit from a smidge more structure and restriction. I am getting to the point where I am mostly successful sticking to a calorie budget, but I still eat a lot of junk food and not enough nutritious things like veggies. Unfortunately though, most attempts to eat more nutritiously tend to get me in this perfectionist mindset that puts me back in the restrict/binge danger zone! Like the last time I seriously tried to improve my nutrition, I decided I was going to eat mostly whole, healthy foods- and only track my intake of “junk” food. I was sick of tracking every little thing and it seemed like a good compromise. Well pretty soon, I was tracking everything anyway, trying to live on way too few calories a day, eliminating foods that weren’t problems for me to begin with, etc. And guess what? I got too hungry and started overeating not long after that. It took a few weeks to get back on track! It’s just really hard for me to get out of that “all or nothing” mindset.

So, my fears are: that if I say “no” to myself about one food item, I will end up applying overly rigid standards to ALL my food choices… and in up back to binging and restricting. That I will say “no” to one food item today, and end up eating a whole box of food items three days later! That I will get obsessed with that food to the detriment of everything else in life- until I finally give in and eat it.

Thanks for this post, this blog, and for your willingness to be who you are in public and lay it all out for your fellow strugglers.

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Jessica October 22, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Excellent question, and one I don’t think I’ve ever considered – what am I afraid will happen if I don’t get what I crave RIGHT NOW! And I honestly don’t know! I guess I’m afraid that I won’t ever get the chance to eat that one thing ever again – drama anyone? So, what I consider my inner toddler voice (I want it, and I want it now, no reasoning with it) is also a diva! My rational, adult brain knows that the world won’t come to an end because I can’t find donuts. But if I want donuts, then I must find them.

I’m trying the “being mindful” approach to things these days. I know that donuts are not good for me – and I really don’t need them. But if I happen to come across what I’m craving, and I give into it – I almost go into a trance, for lack of a better word. I don’t seem to be fully aware of what I’m doing/eating, until I can snap out of it (no idea if that makes any sense!) So it’s a constant struggle – but one that lessens the longer I go without sugar. So if I can get to 3-4 days without sugar, I know I will feel much more in control of my cravings. It’s just a challenge to get to that 3-4 day mark!

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