I have had a lifetime of struggling with food. At times it seemed like food was my enemy. I either consumed it with pleasure and abandonment, or I tried to control my need for it. By this I mean my desire to use it for coping with stress, treating myself as some form of reward, or blaming my appetite as a reason for not having that perfect body that made everyone take notice of me. Food was my enemy. I blamed it on not being able to dress in attractive clothes.
Yet, food is not something a person can swear off from like alcohol. You need it to live.
I think my discomfort with food started in early childhood when there wasn’t a variety of food available. My parents planted a large garden every year, so we had plenty of vegetables. There wasn’t much allowance for extra supplies. I remember my mother going to the store each week, and buying a few staples. Each month the store-bought groceries were pretty much the same: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and as a special treat to herself and the children, she would buy a package of Whiting fish. It came frozen in a rectangle box like a block of ice. Dad usually got a box of bacon, but it was his treat and the children seldom got to taste it.
The last several years I have tried to keep my weight at a reasonable level. I was no longer doing all the physical labor I once did, so it was easy to overdo it. I tried Weight Watchers, and thought that program was the answer. I could eat whatever I wanted, within reason. But I started cheating. I tried to curb myself, but I got defensive. I believe my urges were related to spiritual issues.
I finally thought maybe it was a temptation from the enemy. I could stand firm with character traits, and win the battle. But I could see that my overeating would cause me not to be able to walk in the kingdom of God effectively. I couldn’t get on an airplane and go to other places. I was too weak. Also, first impressions are important. I needed to look successful to be heard in certain venues. I kept those thoughts in the back of my mind.
Then I decided to start the Keto diet. I came across an online site where a month’s plan of recipes were sold for $35.00. Well, I figured I could afford that. It took me several months before I got courage up enough to start. I feared it would be another one of those attempts to force myself into submission.
I was wrong. The recipes were strange, but I bought all the groceries and started learning how to cook what “Sarah” had planned for me. It was supposed to be balanced with all the right combination of carbs, protein, fat and calories. I was very surprised. I loved the food! It was so enjoyable I didn’t even miss the fast food, carbs and sweets I usually would go for. Using spices met my need for flavor able, exotic tastes.
Slowly, I realized I was celebrating food. Really setting down, enjoying it, and looking forward to the next meal without guilt or shame. I remembered a passage in the Bible where the children of Israel gathered in the gates and ate and praised God. I understood. Food can be an act of worship if done respectfully, and viewed with gratitude. God gave us a wide variety of provisions (plants, meats, spices, etc.). We can use them as fuel, which is good for our survival, but we can go a step further and give thanks for food as being sustainer of our soul, as well. Life is more than just bread. We can commune with Him and others in our careful eating.