Taming My Screaming Belly

Sunday, January 13, 2013
6:46 pm

My mind feels like mush. But I didn't want to go more than a couple days without blogging. Honey and I spent a lot of the last 2 days driving back and forth to Sarasota (80 miles each way) . . . twice. We go to church down there. Yesterday there was a picnic to attend, and today, church. I know. It probably seems a bit odd that we drive 160 miles round trip for church each week. But we do, and we are so thankful to have found our place. 

We visited so many churches in our area and even attended a few for extended periods of time (like a year to three-plus years each), hoping we could find a church to call home, but it just didn't happen. We'd all but given up until we decided to drive down to visit the Sarasota church last summer. We were hooked immediately. And so our Sundays are travel days. It just happened that this particular weekend, both Saturday and Sunday became travel days. It's all good though. I can sleep tonight!

I saw this phrase today and I thought it was funny. I wonder how many people like me thought, Well, yeah! That would be awesome if we could do this. Who doesn't want a quick fix or wish there was a magic pill that would remove the excess fat and leave us looking the way we know on the inside we are supposed to look on the outside, without us having to do the work to make it happen? I think it's safe to say that we got ourselves into this predicament with our fat selves through mindless eating. Granted, much of it may have been a form of self-medication. But we are just as culpable for our size, as the alcoholic is for becoming a drunk. 

She may have had a predisposition to alcoholism, and may not have known it before taking that first drink. But the fact remains, if she had not consumed alcohol, she would not have become an alcoholic. We may have experienced truly horrific circumstances, or devastating rejection, but for whatever reason, we coped by stuffing the resulting or corresponding emotions down with pasta, cakes, casseroles, cookies, pies, ice cream. You name it. It wasn't tequila, gin, or beer, or  even weed, cocaine, or pills, but for us, it was a drug just the same.

Of course we all know that unlike those other substances from which one can choose to abstain, we cannot simply stop eating. We must eat to continue living. We have to learn to make peace with ourselves in order to be able to look at food for what it is and was always meant to be. Fuel for our bodies. Nothing more. And to do that, we are going to need to be willing to recognize and experience our emotions when they arise. 

Over the past eight to ten years I have gradually become more aware of the emotional triggers that cause me to turn to food for reasons beyond hunger. There have been times when I've felt isolated, misunderstood, or wrongly accused about something, and as my frustration level rose like Mount Vesuvius about to erupt, I knew in that moment, that I reached for food and consumed it like an alcoholic grabs a full glass and throws it back. Everything in me "needed" that release. 

What I want to learn in increasing measure is to identify my emotion in those moments, and remind myself to pray and breathe and walk out of the kitchen, perhaps even out of the house, long enough to decompress and settle myself down. Then I'll be in a better frame of mind to find responsible ways to  help myself. 

There are still those times when out of nowhere I simply WANT to eat. My flesh screams for food like a spoiled child screams for anything he wants but can't or shouldn't have. We all know how the child will turn out if his parents continually give in to his tantrums. He'll be uncontrollable and no fun to be around. He'll be a BRAT! Well, my body has become a brat too. It has whispered, Oh, I want some cookies. You just baked 'em and they're still warm. Mmm, one tastes so good, I bet two will taste even better! And if I would take a stand and say, "No...you don't need those cookies now," what's the chance my body would responded with, Okay, no problem. Maybe tomorrow? Yeah right! More like, I want cookies NOW. I have to have them NOW, NOW, NOW! And because I've allowed  my body to rule me this way, I will need to face the fact that for a while anyway, I'm going to need to find creative ways to distract it when it starts to pitch a fit. If I don't, then I'll never lose the weight. If I can do this, I will give myself the chance to finally be free from the feeling of being trapped inside way too many layers of flesh that have held me captive for far too long. So, let the discipline begin.

Until next time . . .

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