the food monster
Thursday, September 24, 2009
I have given food more importance that it deserves. I use it for way more than fuel. It's an addiction - though I know I'm not addicted to food, just the emotional effects of overeating, or eating certain items. I was in a program called Hope & Healing this spring and there were several recovering addicts in my group. It was so odd to listen to them describe what alcohol or drugs did for them, and realize food does the same things for me.
It can make me stop feeling - and feeling can be dangerous. I have an anxiety disorder, which is probably more rightly labeled a depressive disorder, since anxiety is just depression on steroids. But the anxiety can be overwhelming. A few years ago I was paralyzed into complete inactivity as a result of the anxiety and I don't want to go there again. So when things start to make me anxious, I eat. It's what I did before 2002 when I lost 85 of the 114 pounds I'd gained in response to my mother's death in 1991, and my failing marriage. But I defeated the food monster then. I was eating well, exercising, and having to feel everything going on in my life which eventually caused the anxiety levels to reach the danger zone because I didn't have a good support system for it. So there I was not sleeping, not eating, crying all the time, barely functioning, calling off work, sitting around all day in my pajamas, ignoring the phone, ignoring the house. It was AWFUL!!
I crawled out of that. I got on medication. I found an awesome counselor, I began to take ownership of what was going on and I got stronger. I left my marriage. I created a life for myself and my kids. And then I got scared again because it's so scary to be doing this mother thing on my own so I ate the fear away. Stuffed down the feelings with inappropriate food choices or too much food so I didn't need to feel anything anymore because I was afraid of feeling things when I was on my own.
But then I developed weight related issues. High cholesterol. Fatty liver. Enlarged heart. Severe reflux.
You would think those things, times like now when the reflux acts up and I can't get comfortable enough yet to try to sleep that all these things would be enough of a deterrent to get me on the band wagon, walk the straight and narrow, and take better care of myself.
You would think.
I know this is a stronghold. I have several of them in my life, one I haven't revisited in several years and successfully fight off. I know how to do this. Why am I not willing to do it with food? How come I find myself mourning not being able to eat cheesecake when I think of losing weight? When I hear Suzanne at my lunch table who's successfully lost weight with Weight Watchers talk about how awful the angus burgers at McDonald's are how come I feel like I'm being deprived when I think of a life without eating one? Or not eating three bowls of pasta at the never ending pasta fest (or whatever it's called) at Olive Garden? How come I don't hate more how I feel now from overeating and eating the wrong things?
Today at lunch I watched a video of an old interview with Beth Moore. She talked about breaking strongholds (how fitting that subject just so happened to be what the video was on today). She mentioned claiming Bible verses and praying them. Writing them down and carrying them with you. Referring to the verses to defeat the strongholds instead of giving into them.
I know for me being overweight is about WAY more than stopping myself from eating the wrong things, or making better choices. I've made food a much larger foe than that, and it will take more than rearranging my thoughts, creating a food plan, or tracking my calories to get past this. I have to treat it as I did the stronghold I've been able to walk away from. Not without a fight, not without ever thinking of it, BUT without ever going back to it....and I know I never will, even if I think about it the rest of my life. I need to apply this same thing to food.
I found a verse to claim for now - Psalm 18:2 "The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."
It's not about praying away food temptation. Maybe that works for some but I've always considered that a little flaky for my tastes. It's about the stronghold of food - something so much stronger than a temptation. This is something I've made a part of me, and when the going gets tough, as it is right now, I run to the food.
I need to hold onto God when the going is tough. I need to claim Him as my stronghold and when I start to feel the walls closing in because my finances are in turmoil from my hours being cut, or trapped by a phone/cable/internet plan that was wonderful a year ago and saved me lots of money, but now that I'm behind I can't change it and make it lower because of "policy" and the bill just keeps climbing, or the fact my September rent is being paid September 30 and October's rent doesn't look promising much before the last week of that month and I wonder how long my landlord will work with me on this....in all these things I need to hold onto what this verse says - make the Lord my rock, not my own understanding of how to get out of this mess. Take refuge in God and allow Him to direct my path because when I've done that, He's never led me wrong. When I try to do it on my own the anxiety threatens to drown me and I grab a donut as a life ring.
These last 9 months God has really been working on me. This whole plan of defeat with the food monster may be one more step on the growth path that will bring me closer to Him. Our lives are not for our pleasure, they're for service and worship. Not to mean we don't have fun or enjoy the world, we were given all of this to live in and not ignore, just not to give into the temptations of the world or make what's happening here more important than God.
I don't want to be overweight anymore. I don't want to have the weight related problems or have food hangovers from rotten eating the night before. I want my eating habits to reflect how I feel about myself and my body to be a temple, not a beaten down shack left in disrepair waiting for that last strong wind to come and knock it down.
I want to treat myself better.