Brace yourself because this is gonna be a doozy.
As a matter of fact, I just want to say–first and foremost–that you have my absolute permission to NOT read the entirety of this post.
Don’t have to.
(Go! Run! Flee for your lives! haha! )
In the end, this blog is for me…..and it is for me that I am choosing to write all that I am about to say.
I’ve thought about doing this for quite some time, at least a month, but haven’t really been sure about where to start.
Previously, I’ve written that I believe it’s important to understand why, exactly, we “hold onto our weight”, and I still believe that there is a lot of merit and truth to that. I’ve also talked a lot about self-sabotage and believe that to be an important subject as well.
Lately however, I have found myself mulling over, more and more, the beginning of this weight saga.
Where did this all start? Where did these habits begin? When, exactly, did my “special” relationship with food….become….so “special”?
I started to think about this and came to a startling conclusion:
My problem with too much, began while experiencing too little.
Everybody has a story, and I am no exception to that rule.
When I was 7 years old, my life and relationship with food changed dramatically forever.
My dad became horrifically sick and suddenly–almost overnight–our family was left in a pretty dire financial situation.
(Apparently, when one is self-employed…..one is required to actually work in order to make and earn money!! )
My dad and family were no exception to this rule and we quickly went without any money coming in to our lives at all.
Nothing. Not a single dollar.
::::My mom had run a little in-home daycare (the not scary, non-sketchy, small-town kind!!), but had quit right before my dad was diagnosed with brain cancer, because he had secured a job as a General Contractor for a major building project that was “guaranteeing” our financial security for quite some time. Because of this, they no longer saw the need for her to work.::::
Imagine their surprise when our entire financial world came crashing down.
I say all of this not to belabor a point.
I say all of this, rather, to shed some light–if only to myself–about where this all originated from.
Little by little, I became painfully aware that our refrigerator was lacking in items that needed to be refrigerated.
I have tons of memories surrounding the subject of food during this time of my life:
- I remember our family driving around, collecting soda cans so we could turn them in for the nickel deposit that Iowa gives.
- I remember not having the 1/4 cup of milk that it takes in order to make a box of macaroni and cheese.
- I remember my brother having a friend over and being embarrassed when he opened up our refrigerator and simply declared,
“You guys…..don’t have any food.”
We didn’t….and I knew it.
Boy did I know it.
Everything….and I mean e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g became about food to me.
I remember choosing to play at a friend’s house after school simply because they had an endless supply of Doritos and Soda (just keepin’ it real, folks!).
I remember the embarrassment of receiving free lunches in our school lunch program, because there was a special color to all of the “free lunch” cards, and all of the students knew it.
It was awful.
I remember one night that stands out to me, in particular. We had gone to my grandparents house for dinner, and they had sent some leftover chicken home with us. I was the one who carried it into the house, and was supposed to put it into the refrigerator.
Apparently I forgot this tiny little detail, and mistakenly left it out on the counter.
I’m not sure all that took place or how many hours had gone by, but I remember the painful sting of waking up to a huge spanking from my mom, after she had discovered the chicken the next morning, lying ruined on the counter. I feel the need to pause here and say that I have an amazing relationship with my mom, and this is the only memory I have of ever feeling like I had been truly “hit” out of anger. It was one of those moments that I realized just how bad our situation was. I remember looking up at her, and distinctly seeing how gravely bad things were in the weight of her eyes.
We needed that meat, and I had let it go to waste.
I also remember sitting on my mom’s lap and crying, asking her if we were going to run out of food.
There are, however, some amazing memories as well.
The turkey story is one that I never get tired of re-telling. At one point, during the height of all of this, my mom had begun to pray and was asking the Lord to somehow send us a Turkey. It sounds crazy and far-fetched even as I write this, but she somehow felt that if we just had a turkey, she could manage to stretch it and feed our family for the month (making broth, soups, casseroles, etc.). So she started to pray about this need for a turkey. Literally—I am NOT kidding—over the course of the few days following this simple little prayer of hers, people began showing up at our door, bringing……you guessed it!!….Turkey’s!!! haha!! We had SO MANY turkeys! Turkey’s coming out of our ears. When all was said and done, we had received (from varying people) upwards of TWELVE different turkey’s.
My mother said that she felt that God was saying that He would not only take care of us for the month, but that He would “have us covered” for the entire year.
And He did.
It was during those years of my life, that food somehow became something it was never intended to be.
If there is one thing I have learned over the last several months and years, in this struggle with weight, it’s that it really does not matter what program I follow.
Nearly everything works. Honestly.
It’s just the staying-on-it-part that I struggle with. Many of us struggle with it. Why you struggle I do not know, but why I struggle is something I know full-well. Food has been a very important companion of mine.
Full fridge = Comfort. Safety. Security.
When I was old enough to work after-school jobs, I would spend a large amount of the money on varying kinds and types of food. Anything I wanted. Mostly it started as the junk that my mom would never spend money on: suckers, chocolate milk, etc. I would love going out to eat with friends and being able to pick out and buy whatever it was that my taste buds desired.
I’m not sure if I’ve talked much about this, but I absolutely LOVE Solomon.
Love reading his thoughts on life, love, and the human condition.
There is a verse, however, tucked neatly away in the writings of Solomon that has pierced my heart, leaving me longing to get to the bottom of it:
“Blessed is the land whose king is of noble birth and whose princes eat at a proper time– for strength and not for drunkenness” (Ecclesiastes 10:17).
Eating at a proper time.
Eating for strength…..NOT drunkenness.
Drunkenness is excess. Too much. An escape from reality.
Solomon saw what I have failed to notice or pay attention to for far too long: We can get drunk on far more than just alcohol.
Getting drunk on food?
Yes. Yes I have.
And this leads me to my new approach: Strength, not drunkenness.
Food….simply as food. Not as comfort. Not as love. Not as a major role in my life.
There is far too much that lies ahead of me to allow myself to be ruled by something that was meant to fuel instead of hinder.
Sounds good to me