My mom is one of those old-time ethnic mothers who is obsessed with keeping you uncomfortably fed and full. My guess is that since she grew up poor, food was scarce and something to be hoarded, particularly when there were eight children to feed.
She harasses you until you are stuffed, and forces you to eat everything that is put on your plate. At the same time, she also expects that you should just be able to magically metabolize all of this food, and remain svelte and lean while eating (like) a horse.
Of course, this duality just never worked for me, and I have been a yo-yo dieter since elementary school. I remember my mom sending me mixed messages by restricting my intake as early as 5 years old and putting me on the cabbage soup diet when I was just 7 years old. However, whenever the slightest bit of progress was made, she was back to the idea that I needed to inhale everything she put on my plate. After all, she was a terrific cook, and she beamed with pride whenever her family ate every morsel that she presented in front of them.
As a result of this eating schizophrenia, I have been battling the pudge my entire life, which opened the door to a host of eating disorders. Between my college years and until about age thirty, I was a pretty “successful” anorexic. Most of my twenties were spent tricking my body into staying thin—on the surface, at least, it looked like I had everything under control.
By my thirties, however, and particularly after having a baby, my body just stopped cooperating with these parlor games. No matter what shortcuts I used to lose weight, my body rebelled even more, and stubbornly held onto every calorie ingested. My cool, calm exterior began to unravel, as all of my food frustrations started bubbling to the surface. I couldn’t understand why the methods I was so good at for years, were suddenly failing miserably.
This internal war escalated until last year when I finally made peace with myself. I prayerfully came to the realization that I had been living a selfish and self-centered life. My youth had been wasted fastidiously counting calories, while I ignored my Creator and the purposes for which He created me. How could I put the Lord first when the bulk of my day was spent stressing about every little bite I put into my mouth? How could I properly focus on those around me in need when I was too obsessed with my own appearance?
Perhaps you are allowing your body image to be defined by voices at home, in your social circle or by the media. In whichever case, it is time for those voices to give way to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
As we all know, listening for the voice of the Lord is a daily process, and by no means a quick-fix. I can attest to the fact that your eating choices may not change overnight, and it may be difficult to attain balance after years of body-abuse, self-loathing and emotional eating.
Regardless, it is about yielding to His Voice, and being patient with His transformation of your body and your mind. It is about His thoughts dominating your thoughts, and His ways overcoming your ways. It is about learning and re-learning how to lead the lifestyle of the Holy Spirit and not of the world.
Contrary to what Jersey Shore says, it is not about GTL: Gym, Tan, Laundry. It’s about seeking the Kingdom of God first, and letting His Voice speak to you throughout your day, so that you are victorious over your struggles and your temptations.
Make peace with yourself today. Make peace with your body today. Make peace with your Creator today.
As part of our 31 Day Mind-Body-Spirit Challenge, put away the shortcuts, put away your impatience, put away your emotional baggage.
Trust that He is restoring Eden into your life…one bite at a time.