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 ...
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 69% of adults over 20 years old are overweight. I am one of them, more specifically a yo-yo’ing one of them. In my weight-loss journey I have successfully graduated from Diet Workshop, Weight Watchers (twice), and The South Beach Diet. Yet I keep finding myself back in that 69 percentile – and I honestly don’t know why. I can take lots of educated guesses, but perhaps it stands to reason (at least in my mind), if I’d stumbled on the real reason, I stopped the cycle by now.
In February, 2013, after a “back up the scale” bout, I wrote a Tech Talk column entitled Making a Better Temple. It was the start of Lent, and somehow I thought the grace of the season would provide me the necessary, and often missing, oomph to get over my distain for exercise. I reviewed “The Official Couch-to-5K” app and tried to incorporate it into my own daily routine. I don’t like to use the word FAIL but…I did not last very long at that endeavor. What I dislike the most about setting these goals and missing the mark is that they leave me feeling so guilty, which is ridiculous. Instead I should be thankful for the #smallsuccess of the 5 or 6 days of exercise I got, which was far more than I’d had the previous months!
Slow Your Roll
I’m an apple shape. All my weight sits precariously around and sometimes over my waistband, also known as a ‘muffin top’, painfully present in my latest “only God could open this door” miracle: my Blink series: Sharing the Faith on Social Media, on CatholicTV.
This was one of the greatest accomplishments of my ministerial career, and all I could focus on were the faults in my appearance. This was not the voice of God in my head, but someone bent on stealing the joy of this moment. How many of us look at the images from those special moments in our lives, especially our baby’s Baptism (most occurring just a month after giving birth), and instead of offering a prayer of praise and thanksgiving, experience that pang of sadness or embarrassment of the sight of ourselves frozen forever in time? This whole scenario reaches epic new levels with the invention of social media, where now this picture that would have once been relegated to a family album is plastered across computer, smartphone, and tablet screens across the world (or at least that is how it can feel)!
Moving and Grooving
After several novenas, the latest one to Mary, Undoer of Knots, I’ve finally realized my prayer to be thin is probably the wrong prayer. I am focused on the wrong thing: this goal, if I am honest, is based in vanity and pride. I have definitely been like the widow at the judge’s window figuring if I just pestered God long enough I’d just wake up one more free of cravings and eager to run around the block. I have erroneously determined how I want God to answer my prayers, and getting discouraged when He doesn’t follow my plan.
If I believe, which I do, that I have adequately put this struggle into the Blessed Mother’s hands asking her to bring it to her Son, faith tells me that Jesus is well aware of my request (well, let’s face it, he was well aware of it way before I even asked!). Most likely it has already been answered in the way God has determined is best for me, which could be for this ‘thorn’ to be part of my side for my entire life, because in His infinite wisdom knows it keeps me reliant on His Grace and close to Him.
Instead of focusing on the negative and on my will, I shall ask God daily for the grace to make healthy choices and accept His movement in this struggle. However, true to form, I will also continue to seek new technologies to utilize in “operation spare tire deflation”!
Fitbit Zip made possible by the generous donation of a shopaholic friend. This friend bought Fitbit Zips for her whole family, but found they were less enthusiastic as she had hoped. Wisely, and to my great benefit, she decided to share them with her closest girlfriends, and together we are working to put more steps in our days. We created teams and encourage each other through our linked online page. Although I have never found accountability a great motivator, the comradery is a definite bonus.
The Zip is your bare bones model, unlike the Flex it is not worn on the wrist but clipped to your pocket or bra, and does not calculate stairs taken or sleep patterns. For more on the Fitbit Flex and One, read these two informative CatholicMom.com reviews:
While this (and some other calorie counting apps) are great companions on the healthy living journey, I would be lying if I didn't admit how I REALLY wished (and prayed) all these mechanisms in place translated into instant and permanent weight loss success (she says with a wry grin).
Success #1 -- I got a blog posted this week!! My time management really needs so assistance. IT is in that part of my life, my ad/hd is most apparent.
#2 - I had a super generous and kind friend loan me one of her extra fitbits (yes she had multiple - she was hoping for allies) . SO I'm wearing it, but I can't seem to make the thing smile at me much. Weight-loss baby step #1: It is on.
#3 - Surrendered my credit cards in an attempt to be out of debt for the first time in 25+ years. This is a big girl thing to do, and honestly I'm scared. However, I know it is time to unbind myself from all the material things that I want but never fulfill my heart's desire and always leave me wanting more - and of course, even more in debt.
Whom the Son Sets free is Free Indeed! John 8:36