Monday, May 02, 2005

Dieting with the Lord

I started going to Weight Watchers last week. It's worked well for me before and I plan to succeed at it again, for the last time. Because I have a new plan.

I'm not going to turn this blog into a weight-loss journal. What I hope for instead is to elicit your thoughts, and clarify my own, about losing weight, or conquering any appetite that has the upper hand, not by "working a program" alone, but turning it over to the Lord.

Gluttony is defined by the Catholic Encyclopedia as a vice and a moral deformity. Wow. (Read the link; it'll make you think about your next meal...) It is a sin against the moral order by eating prae-propere, laute, nimis, ardenter, studiose: too soon, too expensively, too much, too eagerly, too daintily. Double-chinned wow.

This is a lifelong struggle for me, and I used to blame it on my upbringing, on unmet needs, blah blah blah. Or I blamed it all on myself; my moral weakness, my lack of "will-power," my general awfulness.

A little while ago, I started to understand in the light of a closer walk with Christ, that maybe both were true, maybe not. That wasn't important any more; forgive and forget. What was important is that no matter how I got this way, any continuance was a sin, greater or less. I was offending God by mistreating a perfectly healthy appetite, which He gave me to nourish myself, and have pleasure while doing it (does this sound familiar? Remind you of any other popular sin?).

I started giving particular attention to any Scripture mentioning eating and food. Recently, the Scriptures that bounced off my flab the most resoundingly were these two:

Psalm 81:10:
I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.

Note that He doesn't say with what. We should be open to receive what we need.

Luke 1:46-55:
My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden,
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm:
He has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich He has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of His servant Israel,
for He has remembered His mercy;
the promise He made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.

Mary's happy words to Elizabeth. He has filled the hungry with good things. No food mentioned again. I even checked the King James Bible to see what the "fancier" language had: "He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away." Just a couple of haths.

Other parts of Scripture go to considerable lengths to talk about wine, juicy food, honey, milk. Not these two particular sections, and others.

Can we open our mouths in trust and wait for the Lord to fill them? How? I know the old Irish saying "A man must wait for a long, long time for a cooked pheasant to fly through the window." I still have to cook, and add up FlexPoints (the cost of cottage cheese! The cost of a cookie!), and write it all down. But can I be obedient to the Weight Watchers plan without making it my Master?

This should be interesting. There are great graces, and some too-tight spring clothes hanging in the closet, and new clothes and health on the horizon, waiting for me.


justin said...

I've found part of the issue to be understanding exactly how much your body needs. Or how little, rather. If you try fasting, whether it be from snacking, or fast food, or even doing a sun-up to sun-down fast, you'll force yourself through the "pangs" and realize that they're an illusion, a deception. You don't need it. If you try exercising, you'll understand true hunger for food which brings energy, and will realize again how little food you need otherwise. Lastly, exercising while fasting will bring the biggest surprise at how much spare energy you actually have.

Eating is a "holy pleasure", I've heard it called. How is a wonderful meal any worse than a beautiful sunset? At some point we stopped tasting our food and focused soley on consuming. Take your time.

Therese Z said...

Listening to your body, you're right. Especially listening to your body because the Lord has given our bodies the regulators of appetite and satiety, what they need to prosper. Therefore, TRUSTING our bodies, without the humanistic touchy-feely "our bodies know what's best." Only because the Lord fitted us out that way.

That's a good reminder about "spare energy." I automatically think I don't have enough, because the Spirit of Laziness is too often upon me.

~m2~ said...

boy can i identify with this thread. i started again three weeks ago for the 4th time in a year.

let's just say i wasn't *getting it* before. i am a former atkins dieter who did very well low-carbing; however, turning 40 changed the ole girl's bod and things had to be readjusted.

i am doing core. i find if i don't have to write down all that enters into the mouth other than that which is not on my acceptable food list, i do pretty well in the "please Lord don't let me obsess over food" department. i obsess over everything else.

i was down 1.6 pounds last week. we'll see how this week goes, but i think i finally *get it* food is not my focus, although i have always been of the mindset if God made it and man hasn't messed with it, we should be able to partake in it...think about that - fruits, vegs, chicken, meat, fish. anything that has been tampered with we should be mindful of.

in my (not so) humble opinion. this is, of course, being said because i am not desirous of chocolate at this very minute.

five minutes from now, however, may be a different story.

good luck on your journey; keep your eyes on the Cross as will i and we should compare losses when the need arises for support and encouragement :)

Therese Z said...

Good for you. I want the writing-down part: it's familiar (I've done WW before) and it's starkly realistic. I'm being good about writing everything down.

I have to change some of my TV habits. It's TV-eat, like it was been car-smoke or phone-smoke. I don't watch much TV now, but I could watch less.



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