Truth be told . . .I'm not a nutritionist. . .nor am I as good in this area that some of you seem to think that I am (judging by inquiring emails) .. .nor .. am I pretending to have advice that would apply to every difficulty in regards to healthy eating. I have not had to struggle with the deep pain that some of you have faced with food your only comfort. I don't understand the steps that lead so many people to eating disorders . . .so this post is not going to answer any of those questions.
I wondered what kind of pictures to put up for today's post and I didn't have to look very hard to find pictures of food. With the connection to Mennonite Girls Can Cook there are more food pictures at my fingertips than I'll ever know what to do with.
It's an interesting culture we live in isn't it? We have such an abundance of food in our North American stores and diet books and programs are selling like hot cakes . . .and yet the food bank is needing donations like never before. I've taken to adding a food bank coupon at the checkout to my grocery bill because I know there are families in our community that are not eating healthy nutritious foods.
So how do we balance the food available to us with the truth and lies about what our body really needs. We all have struggles with self control in one area or another and food is just another example of something that we all need. We just can't say . ."well. . .I'll just not ever eat again." Because we need to eat. . .we need to learn how to eat in a way that benefits us and does not cause us harm. Losing weight is only half the challenge isn't it? Keeping the weight off is where the struggle often lies.
So . .what do I say to people who ask for hints or advice asking .. . "how do you make all that rich and delicious looking food and not gain lots of weight?"
First of all . ..let's face it. . .our genes play a large part of how easy or how hard keeping our weight at a healthy level really is.
My mom was relatively slim until she reached about 50.
Several years ago I tried on her silver wedding anniversary dress on our own silver wedding anniversary and was shocked to find it wasn't too big at all. She was 45 when she wore that dress. From what I can tell . . she began to gain a bit of weight when she became a grammie. . .(oddly). I have found that in the last few years the weight that had been easy for me to keep off or at least was easy to lose now takes a bit more attention.
My dad always maintained a healthy weight but he ended up having a quadruple bypass surgery after he retired so I don't put a lot of hope in that area either. My mom died of a massive heart attack when she was 72. I've pretty much realized that my genes may look good on the outside . . .
but my blood vessels may look entirely different on the inside . .
where it really matters most.
Culturally we see food as an important part of most social events. . .at least that is the way I often see it. I rarely bake such delectable things unless I know we are having company which seems to be a fairly regular occurrence. Sometimes I invite people over just because I want to make a pie. Often I offer to bring the dessert when we are invited out because I enjoy the process of baking.
So . ..what do we do here in the bungalow to keep our weight under control?
I didn't get sick at all over Christmas. That was good.
I had a fantastic appetite. That was bad.
We were invited out to friends for dinner and we invited friends and family in for dinner parties since the bungalow was especially festive this year. That was good.
Somewhere in the visiting. . ..my
genes jeans started to feel snug. That was bad.
When I finally put away the Christmas decorations and located the bathroom scale in the garage. . the truth of the good appetite and the good health over Christmas was staring up at me. I weighed myself one morning and went to find my glasses. ..unhappy with what I saw on the dial. That was bad.
I consulted with my beloved to find out if his jeans were also feeling snug . .. and he too admitted that the New Years Cookie Big Fry likely pushed the envelope a wee bit.
About ten years ago I joined a Weigh Down group where I learned the basic premise of eating when I was hungry and stopping when I was
full satisfied. It became a way of life for me. When I say eating until full I really mean until my body is satisfied from hunger. It was hard at first to stop when I first felt satisfied but with a conscious effort to pay attention to the tight feeling in my tummy. . .I learned to have self control over . . .indulging beyond what my body needed to maintain a healthy weight.
I began to see that there was so much more freedom in eating only until my body felt satisfied and then stopping . ..thereby allowing me to eat again when my body felt hungry again without any guilt.
It sounds so simple doesn't it? I know that what is simple in theory can be hard when put into practice. We want our food. . .just like we want to shop . .or we want to be lazy or we want to be self centered with our time. . .or we want more money . . .or we want. . .or we want.
See a pattern here? We want. In our culture. .we are led to believe that we are entitled to have what we want. Having what we want in the area of food is not always a healthy decision.
Trying to find the balance between enjoying the wonderful foods that God has given us to eat and the struggle to not over indulge becomes a struggle for me personally between right and wrong. When I overeat I have overindulged and that is never what God intends for me in any area of my life. God gives us rules for our own benefit for our marriages and we can easily see why he warns us not to commit adultery. Maybe seeing the obvious disaster that adultery can lead to. . .helps us to see that he does not want us to be gluttonous because he created us to enjoy a healthy life and he wants us to love Him more than we love our food.
Am I making any sense?
Keeping in mind the reasons I should not overindulge . . .during the next few weeks I'll be paying closer attention to my body signals.
- I'll be eating a little slower. I find that eating a quick bite nearly always leads to over eating.
- I'll be eating both healthy foods and treat foods but only when I'm hungry.
- I'll be fueling my body with meals that are both nutritious and delicious and save both money and the temptation to overindulge by staying away from fast food restaurants.
- I'll be paying closer attention to the signs my body naturally provides me while I'm looking for my satisfied signal . .which is usually a slight tightness in my tummy and often (and I know this sounds ridiculous). .but I have a little burp . . .(hey it works for babies and I even cover my mouth).
- I'll enjoy the feeling of hunger while making meals . .anticipating the meal ahead ( it is a blessing to have a good appetite) . . .instead of grabbing something to snack on while cooking.
- I'll put my fork down as soon as I know that my body is satisfied from hunger .. . knowing that in a few hours I'll have the opportunity to eat again with a clear conscience and not feel the guilt of over indulgence.
Now I know some of you will be rolling your eyes. . . and I understand that I am very much treading into very sensitive and personal areas.
Some of you will feel terribly discouraged since you have more than a few Christmas pounds to lose . . but I trust some of you will feel inspired to begin to see food as God intended it is for our enjoyment and as fuel to keep our bodies healthy.
Why don't you just start today to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied and stop feeling guilty? I would love for you to feel the freedom of this boundary of eating when hungry and stopping when satisfied. God loves you no matter where you find yourself today. I pray that you believe that.
I'm off for my walk this morning. The reason I walk is not so that I can eat more food. . .
I walk because maybe. .
just maybe it will help with the genetic part of me that I can't so easily see on the inside.
Since my treadmill is back from it's Christmas vacation ..
I'm back to enjoying my brisk uphill two mile walk. . . .three to five times a week.
This exercise in writing down my thoughts is for me to pause and think about the things that matter most in balancing areas in my own life. Thank you for coming along.
The rest of the week . ..I'll keep the topic lighter .. and next week I'll tackle another area in my life that needs balance.
Today is a grammie day .. .woo hoo.