Chapter 16 Reflection Questions
Have you ever been lured in by the promises of an infomercial or fad diet? What was it about the diet that appealed to you most? Did it guarantee quick results? Promise you could eat whatever you wanted and still lose weight? What about it made you think, Maybe, just maybe this one is a sure thing? How did you feel when it didn’t deliver as promised or you gained back the weight you’d lost?
Yes, I have! I have done hypnosis, a variety of different eating plans, different supplements. All of them worked short-term, and I still struggle with the long term. I am taking fiber supplements now, so I know this one is good for me, when I remember to take it. This is not an easy fix. I am breaking a list of bad habits that started during one of the weakest moments in my life: adolescence. You know it is true! This period in our lives is when Satan digs his claws in so deep, it takes the rest of our adult lives to recover from the wounds once we do break free! More than dieting, it is important to learn my own limits. I have to retrain my brain to recognize when my stomach is full. I need to learn to interpret the signals my brain is sending. It is not about dieting, it is about knowing and responding to the needs of my body, mind, and soul. It is not about dieting, it is about living as a temple for my God.
Lysa describes her experiences of diets as sacrificing for a season and then regaining the weight when she gets tired of sacrificing. Instead, she says she is now “on a journey with Jesus to learn the fine art of self-discipline for the purpose of holiness” (page 158). What do you think about this distinction between diets and a journey with Jesus? How might your decisions about food and healthy eating change if you could really see them as part of a spiritual journey rather than a diet? Is this an idea that feels possible for you or unrealistic? Why?
I love this distinction! Even before I started reading Made to Crave, I had started referring to this stage in my life as my “journey to health.” Sojourning with Christ makes this even better! Decisions when grocery shopping are getting easier. God is equipping me with strength to turn away from the candy bars and 20-oz sodas in the checkout aisle. I walked past the 50-75% Valentine’s Day candy this past Friday. VICTORY! Now, I have had a few peppermints and butterscotch candies the last few days, and I just dropped one of the peppermints into my coffee cup. That candy will last a few cups, and will gently infuse my coffee with that peppermint flavor. No cream, no sugar generally in my coffee, it is nice to occasionally put something in my cup. So yes, walking with Jesus and asking Him for help in my food-decision-making process is an amazing support in grocery shopping, in meal planning, in interacting with my husband and sister-in-law during meal prepping and partaking.
“God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). This is a promise with which many of us who grew up in church are very familiar, maybe too familiar. Do you believe, really believe way down deep, that this promise applies to you and your temptations with food? For Lysa, God’s “way out” is to plan in advance what she will eat. How hard is it for you to look for a way out when temptation catches you off guard?
February 1, 2014, I posted this in my blog: “I have dwelled on this passage many times. Also many times, I have failed to take the way of escape. What I am learning is sometimes the way of escape appears before we are entrenched in the situation. Like with sexual temptation, the way of escape is prior to being alone with the person of your desire. If we do find ourselves alone with that person, we still have time to “escape” the fall: walk away. All the way up to the moment of the act, we have every opportunity to say no, to get up, to walk away. The earlier we find that way of escape, the easier it is to take it and stand firm. The same is true with food.”
It is so hard to see that way of escape, especially in the midst of the temptation.
When my husband and I were courting, we set our boundaries very early in the relationship. We had to. It is easier to set the boundaries in the beginning rather than try to put them into place when they are needed. Because we had set the initial boundaries, we were able to supplement those boundaries with additional supports as needed. For example, we set the very strong boundary of “We will not kiss, because it is a gateway to desire more physical intimacies and deeper temptations.” We learned quickly our most tempting situations. Alone on the same piece of furniture, that temptation grew dramatically to embrace and make out. So, we added to the “No Kissing” boundary the need to sit on separate pieces of furniture when we were alone. Then we added “open the blinds” to that so that the world could see in and help keep us accountable. We realized that the more tired we were, the lower our inhibitions. So we gave ourselves a curfew. We had to part ways by 10:00 in the evening. Having a clear picture of the purpose of our boundaries helped us scaffold strategies to help maintain that end-goal. Our first kiss was on the altar, after we both said, “I do” and our vows. And now we kiss every opportunity we get! 😉
For food, learning to set those boundaries now, building that strength and endurance through Christ, helps us get to a place where a special occasion serving of wedding cake is ok. Just one piece, though! We want to make sure there is enough for everyone! Having a scoop of ice cream at a birthday party is ok. Just one scoop, though! We want to make sure there is enough for everyone! See the plan here? Enjoy the food we CAN eat daily! (Man, I am really learning to enjoy kale!) Savor every bite you CAN take. Then, when special occasions do come, you know your body’s limits and can have a small serving of something in addition to your healthy, delicious foods you eat daily.
“Idolatry, in the case of food, means the consumption of ill-sized portions and unhealthy choices because we feel like we deserve it or need it to feel better” (page 159). Do you agree with this definition? If so, when was the last time you committed idolatry with food? What prompted you to do so? If not, do you believe it is possible to make an idol out of food? Why or why not?
Oh yes! And I do this way too often! Second helpings are my culprit. “Oh that tasted so good, I WANT another helping of that!” Yeah, I think I just heard an “Amen!” to that…
I know I have been writing a lot about being an emotional eater; just last week I ordered a pizza to fill the hormone-driven pleas of my body! At least I got tomatoes and mushrooms on it, right? See, we justify our cravings! “That was healthier than…” “At least I didn’t…” “But…” The justifications only justify the fact this we are idolizing food! So, what can I fill my body with instead of pizza? Instead of girl scout cookies? Instead of chocolate? Water, yogurt, music, scripture, fruit and vegetables, baked tilapia…oh baked fish is so yummy! Healthy food really is delicious! I think I forget this way too often.
There are two elephants in the room when Lysa talks about feelings of deserving certain foods or needing a treat to get by:
- Elephant 1: “It’s my party and I’ll eat cake if I want to. Don’t tell me I have to give up all treats for all time.”
- Elephant 2: “I don’t think this sounds like a spiritual journey. I think this sounds like a legalistic approach to eating.”
With which elephant do you most resonate? Do you feel you can eat treats as you usually do and still make healthy choices? Do you resist the idea that your battle with food can become a liberating spiritual journey? What past experiences inform your views?
Elephant #1 is the one in my room right now…Has been since my very first visit with the dietician after my Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis. And you know what? The advice of the dietician has changed so much over the last 3 decades, I hope I am still doing this ok! Seriously, starch exchanges, carb counting, visualizing…so confusing! I generally stick to carb counting, as I found a nifty app on my phone (www.myfitnesspal.com) that I can pretty easily find the carbohydrate content for any food (in almost any restaurant or grocery store too!). I can even enter in my recipes and it calculates everything for me! This method seems to be the easiest for me with my insulin dosages too, as my fast-acting insulin is based upon a carbohydrate ratio: 1 unit per 8 grams of carbs in the morning, and 1 unit per 10 grams of carbs from lunch on. Easy enough, right? Good thing I have a bachelors in mathematics!
The hardest part of having diabetes is the restrictive diet. I know I have written about that before, with the whole wanting to break free of the “diet restrictions” factor. The Type 1 Diabetes will never go away, unless the Lord chooses to “remove the thorn from my flesh.” I am learning that I can eat in moderation, and include a sweet treat once in a while. The problem is learning what “once in a while” means. For a while, I was allowing that to be multiple times a day. “Once in a while” means maybe once a week, or 3 times a month. You know, Sundays at church, baby shower, bridal shower, wedding…special occasions. And that the AMOUNT of the sweet treat should be just enough to savor the flavor and take minimal insulin.
Well, that’s Chapter 16 for me! Now I shall continue to dwell and reflect on these questions, words, and where to go from here!