So, I was doing really well. I had done two sessions of Callanetics in the one week, I went without alcohol throughout the working week, I’ve been averaging 17 hours a day fasting, I’d stopped myself automatically going to sugary things once my fast broke and had put on my fitness tracker to assess myself.
Even better, I started to observe a pattern in my eating. That grabbing for sugary hits at the end of fasting wasn’t need, but desire. I noted that I was eating bad choices sometimes not even from desire, but from a lack of good options.
Spiritually I went to confession and I’ve been doing my evening Bible in a year podcast with Father Mike Schmidt, and I was praying regularly. All good.
Then life got a little bit more chaotic. The Callanetics fell by the wayside first. Then I had a good day and I wanted to eat.
When they talk of emotional eating most people are thinking of when they’re unhappy. I’ve noticed that’s not me. It’s when things are good and the joyful part of me wants to celebrate. You see, when I was young we didn’t have lots of sugary stuff in the house. We had Friday and Saturday night treats, we had Christmas being a big food occasion, we had holidays being big food occasions. So for me, food is intrinsically linked with good times.
I recognised it and kept putting off the eating part; but late in the evening I reached for a bottle of wine and some snacks.
In fact, for a little while I did feel like that. But then I noticed a new pattern.
What would have been a blow out, was a minor setback. I had two glasses of wine. We have poppadoms in the house which – when we want a healthy alternative to crisps – we pop in the microwave and I had two of those. I also have my favourite chocolate stashed away and I had…..two squares.
In my mind I saw this as failure and I was in the “I’ve messed up, I might as well give up” mode and went to the supermarket with my kids to pick up something for dinner, fully intending to extend the blow out. I got a packet of biscuits. One packet. Believe me when I say that I’d normally picking up a shopping bag worth of food to indulge myself in. I had some biscuits, but not all.
Later on I realised I just didn’t want to continue indulging myself. Nevertheless I felt bad about the slip ups. I think Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said that before sin Satan convinces you that it means nothing, but after you’ve sinned he convinces you it means everything. Well, this is where I was, and this is where God stepped in.
I’d missed an evening of the Father Schmidt podcast and before I went to sleep that night I caught up with what I missed. One of the first things Father Mike said was that his listeners shouldn’t worry if we get behind, the important thing was to keep persevering. Wow!
You see I had been returning to my old debate because of my stumble – should I calorie count? It feels like doing it this way I’m stumbling in the dark. I have no measurement of how I’m doing now and it’s unnerving. In some ways this is good, the more you walk like this the more you must rely on God.
Nevertheless, I’m not turning to the IDAD app to meditate on truth in regarding to my relationship with food because I have no real boundaries. Do I do every time I eat? Every time I eat ‘treat’ food? So I’ve prayed and I think that for a season I’m going to use my old WeightWatchers points system. This way it doesn’t count specific calories – but I do have a structure that makes it clear that ‘treat’ food should be a rarity, not a constant. As Barb Ravelling says “a little is fun, a lot is not”.
This is particularly important as eating food itself isn’t a sin, neither is indulgent food – it’s the gluttony that’s the sin.
The experience this week has taught me this is a spiritual battle and even if I’m using points it’s God who I need to turn to to change my relationship with food. So I’m still not weighing myself or using other forms of measurement, as this will be where I walk in faith.