in which i boast of my weakness (guest post by anita mathias)

I have steadily gained weight since I left school which means I am now 115 pounds heavier than I was then! I have been tempted to consider my tendency to gain weight as a thorn in my (literal) flesh, a weakness. You know, bad metabolism, low thyroid, la-di-da.

Well, all somewhat true, and I could accept it as a thorn in the flesh to live with, as people accept ME or CFS—except that, in my case, there is sin involved, and sin is never, never to be accepted, but to be striven against, and conquered (I believe!).

I recently admitted the part sin had played in my weight gain and repented deeply. For me, eating chocolate or sweet treats is sin because my body simply does not need it. So I am abusing a body which is already slowed down with extra weight. Similarly, eating for pleasure when not hungry, or to medicate low spirits, stress or boredom–especially eating things not super-nutritious for my body–is abusing the body and “temple” God gave me.

Or to put it another way, it’s the sin of seeking comfort in anything except other than the Comforter. Idolatry: “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. (Jer. 2:13).

(And since that deep repentance in mid-October, I have not bought chocolate or sugary treats, save for a magnificent Pere Noel Stollen in Luxembourg, shaped like a huge Santa Claus that ogled me!!)

Believe it or not, I only acknowledged that comfort eating or emotional eating was a weakness of mine earlier this year. I am not yet wholly free of it–it was a habit of decades after all–but do substitute raisins or popcorn for chocolate or crisps (potato chips for Indian and American readers!)

And perhaps the next step will be not to eat at all if I am not hungry, but do something else. Run, perhaps, which also gives a high and a healthy one. Garden. Pray!

* * *

This is how I am now training myself to think about food: Is what I am planning to eat a blessing or a curse to my body?

What’s a curse to my body? Sugar, chocolate, white flour, white rice, high-fat foods, or, indeed, anything eaten when I am not hungry (since I am overweight). What is a blessing to my body? Fruit, vegetables, beans, legumes, and seeds, in particular

I’ve been largely vegan for 3 weeks, following Dr. Furhman’s brilliant diet (which is fruit, vegetables, beans, soups, and salads as a main meal) but not entirely so.
* * *

Peter in Acts 10 sees a great sheet lowered from heaven with clean and unclean animals. He refuses to eat.
“Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”
14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”
15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving. 1 Tim 4:4.

No food God made is “bad.” On the other hand, many foods man has made are not good for us. Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, which is smuggled into pretty much every processed or fast food, are deeply addictive, and according to the New York Times, toxic, and so our family is cutting out sugar and as many processed foods as possible, even making our own hummus and dressings. Yeah, hard-core!!
* * *

Alcoholics Anonymous is a brilliant organization, and much of their wisdom can be applied to self-medication with food. Realize that you cannot break this habit on your own, and that you need help.

They have an acronym HALT for times when alcoholics might be most tempted to have a drink—when they are hungry, angry, lonely or tired. These are also times when those who seek comfort in food might be tempted to a massive food blowout.

My struggle for health is now becoming so entwined with my spiritual life that they are becoming almost one and the same. It’s like a conversion experience—being transformed by the renewal of the mind. Cultivating new responses. Practicing a new way of living. Tuning in to how I am really feeling instead of numbing my emotions with a bar of chocolate, or a high carb numbing feast.
* * *

You know how David prayed seven times a day. Well, I have an inbuilt call to prayer now that I have given up sugar and chocolate and white carbs and am trying to stop all “comfort eating”. Cravings become a reminder to pray.

Feel the need to eat when sad or bored or stressed or angry—but not hungry? Well, I try to slow down and take the time to “eat Jesus”. Eat his flesh, drink his blood. Ask his Holy Spirit the Comforter to fill me.

And so my weakness provides a reminder and pathway for me to seek God and experience his power. And so, when I am weak, I will be strong.

(Post by Anita Mathias; read more of Anita’s work HERE)

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Friends,

As you might know, I have pledged to help raise support for FINDINGbalance this month. Fb is a Christian non-profit that helps people eat well and live free from eating and body image issues. I have personally benefited from the work of Fb over the years and am committed this month to help give back.

I need your help to meet my goal.

I have pledged to raise $1000 this month and if I’m able to raise this amount, it will not only be a huge blessing to Fb, but I will also receive a scholarship to their Hungry for Hope conference next May here in Nashville, which would be a huge blessing to me personally.

Will you consider giving $15, $25, $50 or any other amount of your choice TODAY to help me meet my goal?

You can do it in just a few clicks HERE.

Thank you so much for your consideration.

Emily

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9 thoughts on “in which i boast of my weakness (guest post by anita mathias)

  1. Beautifully said, Anita. This is my struggle as well. And I’ve been on and off the roller coaster for most of my adult life. After a major health crisis two years ago, I was forced to stop eating for awhile – in fact, couldn’t eat much at all for several months. For the first time ever, I’ve kept off what I lost. Now I need to go further and that is proving harder to do. Adding in exercise – and using that time as my primary prayer time – has helped me remain stable. But the relinquishment must happen daily, minute by minute sometimes. Many blessings to you as you continue down this journey to a healthier life, physically and spiritually.

    • Thanks, Diana. Using exercise as your primary prayer time is a brilliant idea; I must adopt it too.
      And yes, it is a minute by minute relinquishment–esp. battling with emotional eating!
      Thank you for reading

    • Thanks, Diana. Using exercise as your primary prayer time is a brilliant idea; I must adopt it too.
      And yes, it is a minute by minute relinquishment–esp. battling with emotional eating, and finding alternative strategies like prayer when I am tempted to seek a change of emotional state through food!

  2. anita, oh, how i know this eating of Jesus every moment through the day. about four years ago i was diagnosed with pre-diabetes. it was creating havoc in my life and i wasn’t functioning well. as a nurse, the fear it struck in my heart to hear that diagnosis, knowing the changes that had to be made. . . well, let’s just say that i know a bit of what you’re going through right now. the changes were quick and radical and i felt i was on my face and hungry and hurting ALL THE TIME.
    now i’m on the other side of all of that, but with an understanding that though i am a different person on the outside, there will always be a sense of A NEED on the inside. a recognition that i will have to deal with those cravings every day of my life. and so i continue on my face EVERY DAY. and i suppose that is the blessing.
    praying for you as you go through this. knowing that HE is sufficient, but also knowing how very difficult it can be to struggle and wrestle through it. hoping maybe you’ll send an e-mail update or something along the way and let me know how i might pray more specifically and how you’re doing?
    blessings,
    steph

  3. Thanks for the share. I, too, have been on this OA journey. God does, indeed, for us what we have not been able to do for ourselves. I was 150+ pounds overweight. In this year of working the program I have lost 99 pounds. The freedom from the war of decision/indecision has been such a great gift. Guarding the gift of abstinence from sugar, flour, and other foods not good for me is reclaiming this holy temple that I have defiled through my choices.-one day at a time.

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