Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Who You Are When No One is Looking

Don't worry, this isn't going to become a Jenny Craig blog (not that there's anything wrong with that, as Seinfeld might say). Meg Logan left this comment (below), and while I responded to her there, I wanted to discuss the topic again here as well. By the way, her wit here is only matched by her deep and probing thoughts and questions on her excellent blog.

"Did you have to post this? *grumble* Nothing like getting a dose of conviction first thing in the morning.

Oh God has been telling me for a long time now that I need to get my act together about what I eat. Specifically to just not eat to satisfy my emotions. Eating when you need comfort is bad! Food is not a tool for comfort! (I have to keep repeating that to myself over and over.) Chocolate does not equal happiness.

I am not fat, only slightly overweight. I have had bloodwork done and apperhently I am pretty healthy. I use these things as excuses as to why I can continue to eat for pleasure, not nourishment. I am a glutton for soda, coffee, sugar in anyform, carbs like chips, oh fast food, boy just about anything that is bad for you is my favorite thing to eat.

To be honest, food is a very hard addiction to conquer, because it is so difficult to convince myself that it is affecting my life. Like, drugs, you know those are affecting your life, there is evidence, missing work, passing out etc etc... but FOOD, sheesh, you cant even cold turkey the stuff! You HAVE to eat! and it doesn't look like it is negatively affecting your life... (oh am I making excuses again! *smack* sorry!)" (emphasis mine)

I often (most of the time??) eat for pleasure and comfort. Some of the time, nothing's wrong with that, because I make about 99 percent of our recipes from Cooking Light, a magazine I HIGHLY recommend despite some of its New Agey indulgences (you can skip those articles and head right to the recipes). The recipes in that magazine are almost always incredible and you'd have NO IDEA it's "light". It's just good. I have looked at Taste of Home, but the recipes and photos just don't hold a candle to the ART that IS Cooking Light.

But when I am eating out (which, unfortunately, we do a lot), I am a lot more likely to give in to milkshakes, fried foods, and desserts. I NEVER make fried stuff at home and wouldn't consider it, but at Folks those fried shrimp look SO GOOD.

Reality Check: I am not going to feel guilty if I eat a piece of chocolate. I think we can tell the things that probably should rarely/never be consumed (like FUN DIP, OKAY, RACHEL?), what should be consumed in moderation (chocolate, which especially in dark form has some benefits), and what we should make our staple foods (whole grain this and that, vegetables, blah blah). It's just a matter of doing it.

I remember reading a book soon after I was saved titled Who You Are When No One's Looking by Bill Hybels, in which he said (paraphrasing here) that character is determined by what you do when (natch) no one will see what you're doing. As Meg and others pointed out, gluttony (painful to type, but let's call a spade a spade) is not a hidden sin if you gain weight easily...but for some of us who are not considered overweight but still eat gluttonously or struggle with gluttony, it is as hidden a sin as rebellion, lying, hatred and greed. Now that I think about it, though, all of those sins can have visible or observable manifestations, too, or they can be carefully concealed.

I wanted to comment a bit more about the Barbie and Ken fixation that transfixes our culture. Look at what we have here: a nation of gluttons and hedonists that want to "have it their way" at the fast food chain, maybe hit the gym for 45 minutes, and then ogle Jen Angelina and Brad and wonder why we don't look like they do.

The answer is not to starve ourselves and work out ten hours a day to look like Bennifer. (Molly, see me for a pop culture primer, since you didn't know Elton John is gay.) Seriously, our focus should be on glorifying the Lord. He is not glorified when we obsess over measuring up to Hollywood's standards, but He is also not glorified when we stuff our jowls with more and more food.

Ron's most recent post and comment (below) is a great vote for moderation while asking the Lord to help us modify behavior that isn't pleasing to Him or beneficial to us.

"Preach it sister! I agree that we're not supposed to abstain from all things sweet and only eat "healthful" foods. I'm a firm believer that God gave us corn for popping and cocoa for candy bars. It's just another area where moderation is key. Enjoyment of God's blessings is one thing - hoarding them or over-indulging in them is quite another."

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