I read this awesome book by C.S. Lewis some years ago called “Perelandra.” In it, the main character had traveled to a heaven-like planet. He discovered a fruit and ate it, and it was delicious. But unlike on Earth, after he ate it he was satisfied–not necessarily full, just satisfied. Though he could’ve eaten another, he had no desire to. The character found the sensation strange; I found the passage profound. (C.S. Lewis will blow you away like that if you’re not careful.)
Why aren’t I satisfied when I eat?
I’ve been “changing my eating habits” (the politically-correct way to say “dieting”) for about a year and a half now. It started with my place of employment offering to pay half our gym membership. It got kicked up a notch when I read Dr. Jordan Rubin’s “The Maker’s Diet.” My goal was to lose 30 pounds and become superbly healthy in the process.
To date I’ve lost anywhere from 16 to 21 pounds (depending on when you ask). I’ve just come off another eating binge–this one was about a month long. It consisted of me waking up and saying to myself, “It’s a brand new day, another chance to make good eating choices,” then going to bed some 12 hours later saying to myself, “Stupid, stupid, STUPID! What is your DEAL?!” Yet no amount of self-cajoling or self-flagellation could stop me from stuffing my face with cake. Or beef. Or whatever I felt like eating at the moment.
Why does food taste so good?!
Meantime, a friend and co-worker has been losing an obscene amount of weight. She’s working really hard, and she’s made an art form of it. She weighs and measures her food, does research, works out twice a day–and she’s doing a triathlon next year. Amazing transformation! She looks phenomenal, and she’s growing spiritually too. I interviewed her for our church newsletter last month, and she said some really cool things. I finished writing up the article on Friday, and one thing she said grabbed my attention: She didn’t believe in herself at the start.
Now, as I mentioned, I’ve lost (up to) 21 pounds. So, that’s pretty good, right? Obviously I can do it. Right? I know, that’s what I said! But yesterday when I weighed myself and I’d gained over 2 pounds (adding up to over 3 pounds in two weeks), I had to have a chat with me. I had to recognize and acknowledge two things: I’m an emotional eater; and I don’t believe in myself.
Truth is, there’s a “magic number” on the scale that I’ve never breached. Every time I get to that number, I stop losing weight. More than that, I start gaining again. When I get to that number, I expect things to go wrong. I expect to gain, and then I do. There’s some mental block that I’m allowing to stop me from losing just 9 (+/-) more stinking pounds! What is the DEAL?!
I never thought about it until yesterday. The deal is, I really am afraid I can’t do it. So I don’t try. Seriously, I can see that pattern weaving through my entire life: I avoid things I don’t do well.
(Side-note: Jesus doesn’t let us wallow in our character flaws, does He? Crap.)
So … I’m back on the wagon. Back to telling myself “no” when I’d like to stuff my cheeks like a rabid squirrel. I know I can get back down to the magic number, but when I hit it, I’ll have to do something differently. I’ll have to think differently. I’ll have to be transformed by the renewing of my mind.
Fun times, people. Fun times.