Monday, January 27, 2014

Food Journey

I've received some emails lately about my food journey, so I wanted to write a little post about it. For the people who have food issues...

I've always enjoyed food. I enjoy making, serving, and eating food. I have early childhood memories of going to work with my dad and making huge batches of muffins so large that he had to mix them with his arm. While part of my relationship with food is good and part is bad, my connection to food runs deep. About two years ago, I had enough. My weight was up and I prayed to lose weight. Then, I didn't care about the weight nearly as much as I cared about my dependence on food, so I started to pray that I would be free from the unhealthy power that I felt food had on my life.
Here's what has happened since then:

1. I told a friend besides my husband. I emailed a close friend my true feelings. (This was shortly after I had my daughter.) She was kind, gentle, but bold in the truth that she spoke to me.
2. I read Every Body Matters by Gary Thomas. This opened my eyes and gave me freedom that what I was dealing with was sin. Realizing that I was wrong made me free to stop the rationalizing and know that I have a problem that I needed to address.
3. I met a woman in Belize who processed four bags of corn everyday to send to her mother. This opened my eyes that my basic job is food. My role in my family is the chef, and I needed to slow down my life enough to focus on real food. This is still sinking into me today, and as I priority my errands/commitments/lifestyle, I focus on planning good meals instead of making bad decisions repeatedly. I've slowed down my life/projects/interests enough to have time to devote to meal planning and preparing.
4. I did the Whole30 diet. I never diet, so I was a bit terrified. What I found was liberating. For an entire month, I didn't have to make any decisions on what I was going to allow myself. Everything on the diet was fair game. I was broken from my dependence. I never felt guilty. I lost a good amount of weight. I learned how to cook differently. And I felt so incredible. Like a superhuman. If you don't know how to stop yourself from making bad decisions from food and just need a break, the rules of Whole30 provide a freedom that is incredible. This diet is life changing, but I don't believe that it's the path to food salvation. It's just a good starting point.
5. I lost a ton of weight and I gained a little and I lost it back. This was a struggle. It wasn't the weight that bothered me (well of course it did) as much as I hadn't solved my problems. I relied on Whole30 to keep me healthy, and that was hard. I wanted to be healthy all the time without a list of rules to depend on. 
6. Enough was enough and I started counseling. We talk about food, but we mainly talk about shame. Food shame and just life shame. (If you don't like to talk about shame, then it will grow. Watch this or this.) This is where I am now. I could write a lot about this, but it would basically sound like babble. Instead of trying to explain what I'm barely learning, I'll say this: I don't think that this is going to be a quick fix. A diet, an exercise plan, or anything temporary is going to solve my food problems. I've accepted that changing 32 years of bad habits is going to take some time and I'm fine with that.

While it's not over, this is my story on becoming a healthier person all around. I'm sharing it because many people have asked me what is changing. The truth is that this is very embarrassing to talk about, but I've noticed that when I start to tell it, people open up and they get it. Opening up to the situation is a great first step.

While this looks like a list of steps that I took to get better, I have to say that it really feels like a gift. Yes, I had to take the personal initiative to change things, but it doesn't feel like it was me. I believe that the changes that are happening are my answered prayers from years ago. 

I'm not a motivational speaker, exciting writer, or anything close to a nutritionist. All I have to offer is my story and my vulnerability. If you're struggling with food, then I would recommend telling a friend. That really jump started this for me. Be kind to yourself. Thanks for reading my story.


  1. I'm currently involved in an online study for the book, Made to Crave, by Lisa TerKeurst. It's good stuff. It doesn't always involved food, but we humans tend to fill our God-crave with anything but Him. Glad you're making changes. I'm working away at it too, and though it can be hard, I know it's going to be worth it. God bless!

  2. Boy oh boy, did I need to read this today! Made to Crave, yes. Every Body Matters, YES! This was just the kick in the pants the Lord had for me today.
    Thanks, Meg!

  3. It is hard to talk about. I've had an eating disorder since I was 12. I was anorexic and then I would binge and make myself purge. That went on for 9 years. In the last 20 years, I have a better grip on things, but it's still a challenge. The biggest thing for me is that I feel shame and guilt if I eat anything that is on my "bad" list, it's not that it is necessarily not healthy food, it's just that I have labeled it "bad". Right now my biggest challenge is that so many people are paleo or talking about GMOs or organic that my list of what I think of as "Bad" is growing and my list of what I think of as "good" is shrinking. The thing for me is that I need to just eat healthy and not worry about a fad. I try not to buy anything on the Dirty Dozen and be okay with having pasta for dinner once in a while ;-)

    1. Wow. That's huge. Thanks for sharing that. The shame is a huge part of things...all kinds of shame. I just long for the day when I feel normal and safe around food. It just feels so unreachable.