No cookies, pies, cakes, candy, ice cream, cinnamon rolls, nothing. That’s a long time for me. When I started a 40-day Daniel Fast on May 22, 2011, I didn’t know I would keep sweets out of my diet. But I have. Sweets are my weakness. They are my alcohol, my meth, my tobacco, my porn. Not only that, but I’ve done research that says sugar could very well be a big culprit to the cholesterol issues that have plagued me for my entire adult life. Over the past three years I have done a really good job on my portion control and not stuffing myself silly at meal times. I can honestly tell you that in nearly three years, I have not made myself miserable in eating too much. And that’s a big deal for a food addict, y’all. But, I cannot say that I’ve been successful in the sweets area. Oh, I want to be, but it’s just hard. They taste so good. But the moment I start to eat sweets, my body wants to eat more. I’m not saying that I’ll never have sweets again because I just can’t go there in my mind. I literally take it day by day just like a drug addict or alcoholic does with their drug. I turn 41 years old today. I’ve never had a birthday where I didn’t eat cake. Today will be the first.
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I’ve known for some time that Oklahoma was one of the top obese states in our nation. Number 6, to be exact. And while listening to the news last night I also learned that it is the 4th hungriest state. The irony. Today will conclude a 21-day Daniel Fast that I’ve been on since January 1st. I chose to do this fast for spiritual reasons. When we deny our body of food, we are more likely to spend that time in prayer asking God to be our sustenance. But let’s be real. It’s not like I’ve been starving. There are plenty of things one can eat on this fast. All fruits, all vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole wheat pasta, and smoothies (if made appropriately). Making meals while on this fast causes one to get real creative. However, right now, food isn’t really much of an issue for me. Yes, I miss my coffee and plan to partake of that first thing tomorrow morning. But I don’t miss so many other things. This fast brought about some amazing spiritual progress in my life but it also brought about even more freedom for me in my food addiction struggles. Right now, food isn’t my idol. And that’s a good thing. I never imagined that going without food, or certain types of food, would be the catalyst to even more freedom in my life. I used to think that fasting would just make it worse. Now, I know different. Fasting not only allows me to commune better with my Heavenly Father and take things to Him in prayer, it takes away an unnecessary idol, food, which brings me into a deeper relationship with Christ. Just thinking out loud.
But I’m not. I did some video blogs about a year ago in regards to my overeating issues. I shared the enlightenment I received, how I lost weight and what I do maintain overeating sobriety. I did all of this after the hard stuff. After all of the humiliating and embarrassing realizations that God showed me and that I shared with those closest to me. Cuz y’all, it’s so much easier to talk about the stuff you struggle with when it doesn’t have you by the neck. Unfortunately, it has me by the neck again. Not everyday, but more days than I wish it did. There are days when I literally have no power over my flesh and I stop by the cookie place when I haven’t planned it into my eating plan. There are days when I put larger portions on my plate than my body really needs. There are days when I justify that I deserve something, which is what got me into this overeating mess in the first place. I’ve fluctuated in my weight by 6-8 pounds over the last six months. That may not be a big deal to many and quite frankly, it’s not a deal breaker for me either. But, I know what it means. It means that I’ve slacked off. If I were an alcohol addict, it would mean that I have taken a few drinks here and there. If I were a drug addict, it would mean that I shot up every so often. The good news for me is that food is my drug and not alcohol or meth or heroin or tobacco. The bad thing for me is that I can’t give up my drug. So this is me. Still on the journey. Still wishing it would all magically go away when I wake up tomorrow morning. I guess the difference this time is that I don’t throw in the towel and go back to my old ways completely. Baby steps, right?
Norah Jones is one of my favorite singer/songwriters. I think her jazzy, sultry tone is perfect for an evening on the porch or a long drive to my home state to pass the hours. Because, you understand, I know every single solitary note and word to her songs. And I sing loud. This isn’t necessarily because her roots are deep in the heart of Texas. While that definitely does this misplaced Texan’s heart some good, it’s not the only reason I love her. One song in particular of hers that I love goes like this:
You humble me, Lord. I’m on my knees…empty. You humble me, Lord. So, please, please, please…forgive me.On December 15, 2008, I began a journey that was sure to end in failure. Or at least that is what I sort of thought. Even though I showed absolute gumption and sheer determination on the exterior, on the inside, well, I was scared like a schoolgirl who wanted to call her mom. Facing this dreaded demon of mine called food addiction was something I didn’t think I could do. I mean, as I write this I am just three months shy of my 39th birthday. Waiting 38 years to deal with this doesn’t exactly show how high on my priority list it was. But finally, I could take it no more. The bondage, the jail cell that I had put myself in was growing smaller by the day. I had to do something. So I took a leap. With that leap came enthusiasm, nervousness, excitement, my 30-lb weight loss and subsequent 47-point drop in my already high cholesterol, but most of all, freedom came. And it was well received. I used phrases like “not today” and “food is fuel” to help me train my mind to see food as merely sustenance and not maintain my romance with food. And it worked. For a long time. In fact, seven months later, it’s still working. For the most part. I must tell you that I’m struggling. Like the other day when I took two “unplanned” bites of the blackberry crumble that was leftover from my schedule “sweet day”. Or just the other day when the hubby and I made the most amazing flatbread pizza. I had an extra piece. I really wanted fifteen extra pieces, but I didn’t. That’s something, right? So, I write all of this on the WWW because it’s what I do. But also because I want you, my fellow sojourners in this thing called life, to know that life is hard. Days will come that will get the best of you. You will fail. You will be disappointed in yourself. And that is okay. The Lord humbles people in different ways. Maybe this food addiction, my own personal “thorn in the flesh” is what I need to keep me postured toward humility because I certainly can’t do it without Him. Shake the dust off your feet and press on. There is a goal waiting for you.
Many months ago I purchased a sign that made me literally laugh out loud at the local Hobby Lobby. It reads:
There’s a skinny girl inside me who is trying to get out but I can usually shut her up with cookies.Since I’ve been on my weight-loss journey for the last five months, many of my friends have asked why I haven’t gotten rid of the sign. Good question. My answer? Because I don’t want to be that person anymore. The sign, as funny as it is, reminds me of where I do not want to be. So, I leave it there. In plain view. To remind me. Because ya’ll, the skinny girl? SHE IS FREE!