March 18, 2014 by Kara Nichols
My jeans are tighter.
My eating has been out of control off and on for the last few weeks. Despite my best effort to stick with Medifast, I ended up quitting. I had a few issues, one of them being allergies, that I believe were directly linked to Medifast food. Before this year I hadn’t dealt with allergies in the fall and winter but this year they were awful. Once I stopped Medifast my allergies virtually disappeared so I believe they are linked, although I’m not sure exactly what I was allergic to – maybe the soy? I still believe in the plan, after all I did lost 50 pounds doing it! And I had a great health coach, Gina, who was there for me whenever I had a question or concern. But it was time to move on.
What I moved on to was chaos. It’s probably fairly normal, after such a restrictive diet, to go a little crazy with food once off the plan. I ate strawberry pop tarts, green peas, and cereal with reckless abandon. I’ve put on a few pounds and I’m worried I will gain back everything I lost.
For a few days I felt a glimmer of hope that I could be successful with intuitive eating. I read the book How to Have Your Cake & Skinny Jeans Too and was totally sold on the idea which is basically eat when you are hungry, stop when you are slightly full, eat whatever you want, and that diets don’t work. I binged less than 24 hours after starting this new way of thinking. I’m going to read the book again, because there are some great principles to it. And I want to believe that I could eat like a skinny person. To be honest I’ve been dieting so long that I’m not sure I could recognize true hunger.
When I was feeling really out of control last week I ran to the nearest Weight Watchers meeting. I weighed in but left half way through the meeting when they broke up in small groups to talk about exercise. Groups of women have always made me nervous so I’m not sure why I thought that going to a Weight Watchers meeting was in the solution. I was desperate, I guess. So I signed up to just do the online portion of WW and for a few days I did good tracking my food. But nights, lately, have become my downfall. I want to eat at night plain and simple. Why is that? Depression? Boredom? There’s something triggering my eating and I want to get to the bottom of it.
Looking back at my time on Medifast, I’m not sure how I went 7 months being so strict when right now I can’t even pass up a piece of dry stale bread. The hunger is deep and not altogether physical. Mentally, emotionally, spiritually, I’m in a place of hunger. I’m stuffing my feelings. I’m letting myself be out of control and I don’t know how to reign it in. I got pretty cocky while on Medifast – I was so successful! And look at me now – my clothes are shrinking or I’m increasing.
I wonder what God thinks about all of this. Does he want me to spend my life counting calories and obsessing about my size? Honestly, if I could manage to maintain the weight I’m at now I think I could live a very happy life. I’m still overweight, but not like I was before. What I can’t stand is feeling out of control. I honestly don’t know what’s next for me. Another diet? A new anti-diet diet? Something in between? I feel like I need to wave the white flag of surrender. I am in a bad place and I know that I could put 50 pounds back on very quickly at the pace I’m going.
To be honest I didn’t really want to share my struggle with you. I want to pretend that I don’t have a problem. But I do. Some people say I should try Paelo while others swear by eating a vegan lifestyle. Everyone has a recommendation and an opinion. I am not looking for advice at this point. Still, I’m not sure what I will do. Sometimes I think I am destined to be a chronic dieter. I started so young – at the age of 7 – and I can’t honestly think of time when I wasn’t on some sort of diet plan. Cabbage soup, anyone?
There was a point in my dieting cycle where I looked up all of the verses that talked about food in the hopes that I could gain some direction straight from the source of all wisdom. By far the passage that stuck out to me the most was Matthew 6:25-34. It says:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
I am convicted. That line about how the pagans run after things like worrying about what they will eat, drink, and wear? Wow.
I am asking for God to shift the desires of my heart. To not focus so much on what I eat – whether it’s broccoli or cake – the obsession is taking it’s toll. I know I need to get out of my own mind and focus on what really matters in this life, which is God and loving people.
Maybe what I need is to relish in the love and acceptance of my Savior. There is no condemnation coming from Him. Condemnation is from myself and the devil. I am beautiful in God’s eyes and He loves me without condition. Maybe right now I need to offer myself a little bit of grace for this season in life. Jesus isn’t in heaven with a clipboard tracking my weight like a crotchety old gym teacher. Perhaps I could find beauty in the struggle and relief in knowing that in view of eternity, the number on the scale matters little, if at all.