Do you remember your first diet?
I do. I was in 8th grade. It was 1980-something and DEXATRIM was in abundance at the local K-mart. No one checked your ID or cared about your age, though back then I did look much older than my 13 years. Fun Fact: I even stumped a traveling Carny at the "If I Can't Guess Your Age, YOU win a Prize" booth; for the record he guessed 22, and I was only 14 -- oh, my poor parents!
I was reminded of that diet and the countless ones that came after it as I read the following words from Mary DeTurris Poust, in her book from Ave Maria Press, Cravings: A Catholic Wrestles with Food, Self-Image, and God:
"It's amazing what we can do to ourselves, isn't it? We can hang our self-worth on five or ten pounds, or a pant size, or a false image we see in a magazine or on TV."
She then goes on to quote her Aunt Louise (**I have one of those too!! She's 91 now. She is my godmother and I am her namesake (can you guess my middle name!) She is the spunky matriarch of my family and so beloved- but I digress) ... speaking on the connection between food and dieting these very insightful words:
"Dieting and food are definitely connected to how I feel about myself and my life. If I can control my eating, I feel good; I think I look good. that's probably the key. If I'm in the control of my eating, I'm in control of my life, and then I can accomplish whatever I want because I feel no one can beat me down."
Personally, control is a goal. Although as Mary points out "control [is] that ever-elusive dream." I still find myself striving for it - and not just with food. In my dealings with finances, temptations, mothering and even my destiny.
Mary goes on to remind us,
"We all crave it, and yet our faith reminds us that we're never really in control. We may try to convince ourselves otherwise, but usually we find out the hard way that even our best attempts to steer every last detail of our lives won't give us what we're seeking."
So today's lesson and point to ponder on this journey of wellness - putting behind all these false ideals and harmful thought processes, and "PUT OURSELVES in God's hands." Those are pretty good hands to be in - if we are going to trust God, I guess it is time we TRUST God.
I am going to implement a NEW prayer before meals -- not as I am sitting down, but as I am feeling either hunger pangs or find myself thinking about food. Purposefully, asking God into that part of my life - which I think it pretty evident up until now - has been off limits. A quick prayer to help me identify if I am really hunger, and if so, to help me find ways to satisfy that hunger in healthier ways. I might even add a little something about helping me overcome the cookie monster within (*maybe)!
Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food,
A year ago, I was not only blessed to read Cravings; but also to spend some time with Mary DeTurris Poust on A Seeking Heart:
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Small Success #1
Migrating A Seeking Heart with Allison Gingras over to Breadbox Media ... same great show, same great people I am working with just new name. However with that new name came all new links INCLUDING My podcasts ... don't miss a single episode by subscribing now toBreadboxmedia.podbean.com !!
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Small Success #2
Weight Update - what a summer this has been. God answers pray in the craziest ways sometime. ALWAYS making us a better version of ourselves when we are open to do things according to His word - although I do go kicking and screaming most of the time!! Darn Human Condition!
God's way included:
Small Success #3
Learning to better prioritize! On last week's A Seeking Heart, I featured Marshall J Cook's book (and workbook) TIME MANAGEMENT: A CATHOLIC APPROACH (from Pauline Books & Media). OH MY gosh... it has sat on my shelf for YEARS... so GLAD God put it on my heart to include him on the show!! My email goes to the bottom of my to-do and the things that matter have found their rightful place at the top - such as time with family and writing about God (here on the blog and in a book I am working on).
It has meant some really tough decisions for me - taking a hiatus from Tech Talk on Catholicmom.com being at the top of that "hard to let go" list, but when I look at my NOTEBOOK full of 'to-do' items, I know that I can NEVER get through them all if I don't make some really prudent time decisions. I love Marshall's Value Based Time Management approach!! I also loved him even more after spending an hour as my guest ... don't miss the interview below! #Delightful
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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 ...
This week's success focuses on food, exercise and body image ... in preparation of journeying on A Seeking Heart with Cravings by Mary DeTurris Poust (Ave Maria Press)
Walking. Yep. My first success this week - I hit the pavement. Not just once, but several times. And not just 5 minutes on the treadmill, but I covered distance! I walked ALONE, which I never do because I'm a chicken. I took a stick - not a big one, but sharp. The effectiveness is definitely questionable, but it made me feel empowered. One day I took my rosary beads - way more powerful weapon than any stick!
Success #2 - I located my missing FitBit. I had the the wrist holder part but was missing the actual electronics. Confession -- I did wear THE empty FitBit wrist holder for half a day until I realized it as indeed empty! I had accidently thrown the charger with the handy-dandy control center attached into my 'bill box' and shoved them both into my desk drawer. OOPS!! Shows how often I pay bills. What was lost has been found! And most days I remember to put it on to count my steps!
Small Success #3 - is a baby step success really. I am starting to make changes in my food consumption - but it is not based on some crazy diet fad, but on opening up to allow God to reveal to me how HE created my body to eat, exercise, and maintain good health.
The scale has inched down about 5 lbs (which means more like 4, but rounding up makes me feel better - see told you it was a baby step!). While a little scale movement is wonderful I am not letting it determine how I feel. It is good - don't get me wrong, anytime I stop the upward march of the scale, I am a happy girl. The interesting thing is realizing with great certainty that God is answering my prayer in the area of food, body image and disdain for exercise with the awful experience some of my food choices have on my body.
TMI alert: I suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and I have for many many years. For many years I could just deal with the symptoms. Sure, they can be embarrassing but I would just accept the pain, discomfort and other effects. However, since entering the 'change'... oh the change - love being a woman! well, now things are just different. I know it is time use food for it's intended purpose to nourish me, instead of allowing food to continue to control me. While I would have LOVED for God to just take off the weight, and allow me still consume as many cookies as I can find in the bag, but HE always does what is best for me.
Listen in June 29th - July 2nd for more lessons I learned from Cravings ... 10 am et on www.RealLifeRadio.com
Last Sunday felt like my personal Pentecost with an explosion of inspirations filling my little head and heart in Mass - and the hours following.
We arrived early, a miracle in itself providing me time to pray before Mass. Although I consider it an incredible privilege to interpret the Mass for Faith, I do miss the deep spiritual experience that sometimes come during those moments when I can reflect during the Liturgy.
My prayers began with my whining to God about the experience that morning of getting dressed. It had been another tortuous occasions when I realized I hated every piece of clothing I owed! An overstatement maybe but the conclusion of that deep dislike rooted in my realizing every piece had been purchased to hide something I hated about my body and not to accentuate anything I liked. Though, arguably that morning, I would probably have been hard pressed to find that positive attribute to accentuate!
My mind wandered from that pity party to the many prayer requests for friends, family, and even strangers in various health crisis and the struggles within each. I found myself once again back to me - begging God to (selfishly) protect me and my family from similar challenges - and that is when it all started to unfold... my food, weight and body image in relation to my relationship with God and my desire to be with Him (forever) in Heaven.
I AM still unpacking most of it...and I will go into each with a deeper reflection soon, but here is what I am contemplating presently:
Much more to come... how has your month been? Have you tried keeping a journal? Being mindful of what you are eating or not eating, and the emotions present? I know I am still at the questions stage - but it took 40+ years to get to this point, and although I have thought I've found the elixir along the way to 'cure' me I am realizing it is much much more than that. Thank you for journeying along side.. You are in my prayers.