If we believe we are made by our Creator to be exactly who and what we are - nothing more, nothing less, nothing better, nothing worse - we can begin to let go of some of the shackles that bind us to false ideas..." Mary DeTurris Poust, Author, Cravings (Ave Maria Press)
A few months ago, a spied a book, I know I just had to read. Cravings: A Catholic Wrestles with Food, Self-image and God by Mary DeTurris Poust. The word WRESTLES leaped from the cover and spoke to my heart. Yes, wrestle, struggle, and sometimes even get pinned. For years, I have been held to the mat by my cravings, and more specifically the emotions that were tied so closely to them. I requested the the book from Ave Maria Press (*review of books received from publishers always welcomed never expected and never influenced). After I finished the introduction, I decided to blog my journey, when I reached chapter 3, and read that I should be consider keeping a journal, I know I was on the right track with Cravings! More importantly, I knew I was on the right path to finding a new peace and place with food, my own self-image and yes, even God.
It has not been the a fast tracked trip to weight loss that I had hoped, maybe that is because Cravings IS not a book about losing weight or even gaining weight, it is about shifting our thoughts from mindless to mindful consumption of food. Food was created by God to nourish our bodies, and while there can be great enjoyment from eating, it is not meant (at least in my opinion) to be all the other things I have allowed it to be for so long. My comfort, my means to procrastinate, and even my medication in times of anxiety, sadness or loneliness - much to my health's dismay. Over the last few years, I have put on over 30 lbs, my bones and joints don't wish to support as well as triggering other unpleasant health issues. It was time to make a change, and I craved that change, but had no idea where to start.
Cravings and an unusual answer to my prayer have ignited a new, healthy food attitude.
I have already shared that I have suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome since my twenties, maybe earlier, but back then they called it a 'nervous stomach'. I will not share my newest 'condition' , we'll just suffice it to say, it is a pain in the bottom. <blush>
My sensitivity to food had definitely been intensifying, and I finally turned to God for help. He is so faithful, if you don't believe me, just ask Him yourself. The tricky thing is, if we ask God for help, we can't also decide how He answers our prayers. I realized that important insight when one of the women in our bible study brought a special journal of a late friend to share with us. As she read the prophetic words from a very beautiful woman's battle with her own food issues, completely hidden from all of us during her life, I felt very strongly, these words were being spoken directly to me - answering my prayer. They were a loving, gently stated warning. I needed, now to stop looking at food other than anything but nourishment, and I had to start really listening to my body. There are foods that disagree with, and it was clearly time to figure out which those where and eliminate them.
In the past as I tried to eliminate food to lose weight, I would grow disgruntled and depressed. I felt punished and depraved, I wanted what everyone else could enjoy without unhappy side effects - ice cream, chocolate, popcorn and even beer. All the while, very aware I needed to include the spiritual, so it was no coincidence Cravings came into my life at the same time. God truly answers our prayers - and I am glad I don't decide how because I am clearly not as thoughtful as He is!!
The bookmark on the left is a fabulous summary created by the folks at Ave Maria Press to be used in conjunction with Cravings. Although it is thorough, trust me it is not even close to all the insights and encouragements Mary DeTurris Poust provides within the pages of her book! As I read, I learned for the first time about mindful eating. I slowed down, I thought about what I wanted to eat as well as what I COULD eat, I marked down my feelings and consumed food in a journal ... and of course, I prayed.
Nearly 3 months later, I am only down 5 lbs, I even hesitate to record that and use the word, "only", but it is my honest thoughts - and if nothing else I want this post to be an authentic sharing of my own wrestlings. I am just at the beginning of discerning what my body can and cannot tolerate. However, thanks to Mary's book, and an amazing blessing of being able to speak to her personally on A Seeking Heart this Thursday (*see embedded player below to listen to our honest and open conversation), and the grace of God - hope now reigns! I see food an adventure not a chore, and my Fitbit no longer sitting unused on my night stand or tallying a pittance of steps. I am excited to see what the next 3 months (and beyond) brings!!
No journey is fun by oneself - so be sure to share you progress and even your struggles as we embrace a new mindful existence with our food, our bodies and our God, and understand profoundly the beauty that sometimes "a cookie is just a cookie".
An open and honest conversation with Craving's author, Mary DeTurris Poust - food, faith, family, and more ...