Perhaps you have some of the same challenges I do. No one else in my house really needs to be weight conscious. My husband is trim and active, and we have three growing kids with very active metabolisms. That doesn’t mean they don’t need to be conscious of good food choices. It doesn’t mean it is good for them to neglect exercise. It does mean they don’t have a calorie counter clicking in their heads every time the fridge is open.
It can be frustrating. My kids and husband eat constantly, it seems. I cannot. When my husband brings home groceries, including fried chicken and chips, they view it a whole lot differently than I do.
The fried chicken smelled wonderful. It was hot and fresh and spicy. But I knew that one good sized piece of that stuff had more fat and far more calories than I really needed, and that I’d likely be sorry later anyway because my body does not like grease. My tummy gets angry. My innards are not the well-oiled machine they once were (pun intended). Perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise? 😉
So, I did battle with my will. I knew I didn’t dare take some and try to take off all that great coating. I asked the Lord to help me change my want-er. And I discovered the wisdom, once again, of having legal foods around that are satisfying, that I really like. As in any spiritual battle, if you do not have a good thing with which to replace the thing you are desiring to purge, it is probable that you’ll sink back into your old habits. See, this all starts in the mind and changing the way you and I think about food. The old “live to eat vs eat to live” thing.
What is the purpose for my eating? Security? Comfort? Reward (oh, and it’s not a good thing to reward your kids with food for “doing good”…just sayin’…but that’s for a whole ‘nother post)? Pleasure? Unfortunately, I come from a family that really enjoys food. And truthfully, what’s not to like about eating great stuff, right? After all, hasn’t God given us richly all things to enjoy? Well, yes and no. I do not believe the teaching of the once-popular Weigh Down Workshop, which taught that any bite you eat is sinful if you are not feeling hunger. Nor do I buy what they taught, saying that one can eat whatever they want as long as they stop when they are full (in other words, if you want a whole bag of potato chips, go for it…just stop when you are full. Yeah, right.)
We’ll discuss treats at another time. We do, however, need to remember all those other passages about moderation, about not letting things become the master of us, about denying ourselves (which is a healthy habit to cultivate on so many levels). As is true in so many areas of life, we humans don’t excel at balance.
We had a wonderful pastor friend some years ago who was severely diabetic. He loved sweets. You see the problem. He once simply stated that for him to go berserk (as he wanted to do) with desserts at a pot luck would not just be bad. For him it would be sin. He is well aware of his health issues and to do something as simple as indulge in all he wanted at a buffet would, in his words, “be committing a slow suicide.”
I don’t have that health issue. But if I don’t take action now, I will have some perhaps equally as severe. Excess weight contributes to an unbelievable host of serious problems. Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and so much more. Do we really have the right to inflict ourselves like this? “Ye are not your own.” I’m speaking to Christians when I say, your body has been purchased and lent back to you. It is the dwelling place of the Spirit of God. These are sobering contemplations. If you have not yet trusted Christ as your Savior, you are without your greatest ally in this battle. Please watch the “Trust Christ” link in the sidebar, and know you can contact me any time if you have questions.
We are very easily tied up in today. So very often we make choices in this moment, not considering what the fallout will be in the weeks to come. It’s time to stop justifying that it’s “just this once” or “only one bite”…because, we know what happens. The “Lays phenomenon” takes over…no one can eat just one. Saying “no” today, and then again tomorrow (or even later on today) will begin to create a habit that may literally be life changing, not to mention life-prolonging!
Teach yourself to view your eating more critically. Don’t eat so much with something in front of you. The TV, newspaper, laptop…whatever…they all distract you from paying attention to what and how much goes into your mouth. It is easy to eat mindlessly and quickly, and soon you have no idea what “full” means anymore.
Is fried chicken sinful? No, not in itself. Eating it all day, every day would be an unwise choice. If you know it would be a weakening thing when you are trying to build some spiritual muscle, it’s best to steer clear. The first step is learning to be honest with yourself.
Every habit begins with the first step. Choose one thing you can say “no” to today. Choose one thing for which you can say, “yes”. Claim a scripture* to cling to as you journey on. There will be times when you’ll need to lean hard on it. When God enables us to do this, it is so gratifying; and when we learn that life is really comprised of little choices like this, it is empowering. And, I promise, it’ll get easier. 😉
*Here are some ideas:
Psalm 107:9: “For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.”
Isaiah 40:31: “Those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”
Romans 14:17: “…for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
Philippians 1:6: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Hebrews 12:11: “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
3 John 1:2: “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.”