Last night I had my final round of an 8-year food fight.
Honestly, it was more than food. It was eight years educating myself in health, nutrition and overall wellness trying to achieve my ideal body. A body I had most of my life and didn’t realize it. I’ve always chased an image of myself that was different than what I had at the moment. Even so, it was more than the outward shape of my body or the number I saw on the scale. I was pursuing a vibrant, healthy life from the inside out as my ultimate goal. (and that IS a great goal)
I spent thousands of dollars on practitioners, books, supplements, videos, webinars, gym memberships, and other programs or equipment. With each one, I was sure it was the key to unlocking that missing element to achieve optimal health.
My efforts at chasing my ideal weight and wellness all collapsed in a sleepless night on the couch, not feeling well after the latest attempt at discovering what was wrong with my body. I realized I was chasing my tail. The fruit of all my efforts was the exact opposite of what I was trying to achieve.
I was frustrated and not having fun anymore.
My wellness journey started in the early 90s when people in my circle introduced me to products such as colloidal silver, essential oils, homegrown foods, organic foods, juicing, and dehydrating. Before that, I grew up in a large metropolitan city and my diet consisted of the Standard American Diet (SAD) of tv dinners in aluminum trays, baloney sandwiches, Banquet fried chicken that came frozen in a box, powdered potato flakes, packaged gravy, canned vegetables, sugar cereals, pop tarts (I preferred unfrosted, toasted, and drenched in margarine 😁), and an occasional salad made of nearly white iceberg lettuce, sliced radishes, pale celery and whole lot of ranch dressing! (Oh….and carrot jello salad every Sunday after church. If you’re over 40, you had it too!)
After graduating high school, I moved to a small town in the south, and it was there that I was introduced to gardens, fresh foods, and alternative health. I am deeply grateful for those folks who started me off on a new way of eating and living.
THE START OF THE FIGHT
I remember the day my food fight started. It was about 15 years after my introduction to real food. Life had been difficult during those years; a major accident, divorce, emotional traumas, and major surgery. Now I was recovering and wanted to rebuild my health from the toll various events had taken on my body. I made an appointment with a highly-recommended chiropractor and wellness coach. I wanted to lose five stubborn pounds and improve my overall health. After an intriguing exam, a list of all the things that were wrong with my body was produced, and I promptly started a detox regime and a new eating protocol. That moment instigated a downward spiral of my weight and an always out-of-reach solution to my general health.
With each book, each new practitioner or health article, my list of food intolerances and health issues grew longer; and my weight piled on.
RAISING THE WHITE FLAG
Instead of reaching my goal of losing only 5 pounds, I gained over 30 pounds and ended up completely lost in knowing what to eat. Eliminate this, eliminate that. Another trip to the grocery store, and another list of forbidden foods (and now spices). I struggled to figure out meals I could eat that didn’t take hours to prepare and that my body liked. I tried creative recipes using ingredients that were approved and they either tasted disgusting, or my digestive system didn’t like it. The amount of food I have thrown away is more than I care to admit. (However, I did discover several recipes that are still favorites.)
I’ve bought hundreds of dollars worth of kitchen equipment, but there’s always something else I need to get. The majority of my days are in the kitchen trying to make a morsel of food I can eat, leaving me with little time for anything else.
I’ve tried various supplements and herbs, all of which have resulted in discarded half-full bottles and an upset stomach or more weight gain. This week…new supplements to try and with them, the familiar pains in my stomach same as the day I started this journey with my first detox protein shake.
Last night I had enough, and I raised the white flag of surrender.
I guess you could say I had a “come to Jesus” moment laying on the couch in the dark. Frustrated, I prayed, asked questions and pondered the last eight years. I was way off course and I knew it.
Soon, a simple and profound peace came over me. I didn’t have some deep revelation of how to fix it all or a magic answer for optimal health and weight loss. Instead, it occurred to me that I had a misguided focus. My body had become the primary focus of my life and in doing so created more and more problems.
I recalled the tips I did learn that made me feel better. I thought about the foods that gave me the most energy. Many were opposite of what the “tests” said I could not eat. Maybe it wasn’t about what foods I should and should not eat. I could spend the rest of my life trying to narrow down the exact foods I can consume and still not feel any better. The last eight years of my life has been consumed with exactly that – trying to find the right foods for my body. And instead of improving, my health and weight have declined. Time to get off this train.
I finally realized I had created an unnecessary battle that took my focus off the goals and dreams in my life that I wanted to pursue. The energy, time, and money I needed for the dreams God has placed on my heart were taking a back seat to a growing obsession with finding the right foods and health protocols for me to lose weight and look like the image I have been carrying in my mind.
I took a deep breath and relaxed. I had become a prisoner and didn’t even know it. The stress of trying to discover a solution to the right foods and exercises for my body created more problems than they were solving.
I had become a prisoner and didn’t even know it.
I shudder at the thought of the amount of money I have spent over the years. My head shakes at the emotional energy expended in worry, disappointment, and frustration.
From one perspective it seems like I just wasted a bunch of money and loads of time. But just as I was about to scold myself for what appeared like a frivolous and foolish journey, God gently reminded me I learned many valuable things.
I don’t regret using the services of the different practitioners or buying the books and programs – though I didn’t need to do all of it. Some were more beneficial than others, but I learned something about my body each time. The problem wasn’t with the professionals or the exercise regimes…the problem was that I wasn’t listening to what my body was telling me and I was fighting a battle that existed in my mind and emotions, not on my plate.
I chased my tail, wandered in the wilderness, marched around the mountain…until I decided that this pursuit was taking my focus away from the things that were most important to me. I want to write a book and be consistent with my blogs, but instead, I spent much of my time thinking about what to eat and how I look.
For the last 8 years, I have been in a food fight, but it was a fight that existed in my mind and emotions, not on my plate.
My food is NOT the star of the show – it is a supporting role. My focus is my family and the dreams and visions God has placed on my heart. For too long discovering the perfect foods has captured my undivided attention.
It’s time to enjoy food, eat as healthy as possible, enjoy my days, fulfill the calling and purposes of God for me, and end my fight with food. My belief is that once I put food, emotions, and my focus in all the right places, my body will be exactly what it needs to be!
I hope this resonates with you and encourages you in some way. This revelation released a heaviness inside of me and this morning I felt energized and truly enjoyed my breakfast without analyzing or worrying about it.