Monday, February 22, 2010

Eating Joy

Do you read Sophia's blog, Burp and Slurp? If you have not discovered the sassy, smart, silly foodie fun that is the essence of the House of Burping and Slurping, I recommend that you check her out. She's another Jesus-loving recovering anorexic chef and food fan, and is just all-around fabulous. Miss Burp and Slurp is also very wise. Last week she shared this in a post:
During my ED days, I became a creature of habit: I had my own little daily routine, my own strict rules of things I could and could not eat. That lifestyle made me safe, and I was comfortable in predictable meals and behaviors. But it also restricted and enchained me into a life not worth living.
I can relate to that. Such habit formation was an integral part of my eating disordered lifestyle. However, the reality of this type of living (or not living) is more recently familiar. This past November and December I fell into some poor eating habits, emotional eating, and depression. I gained some weight, and I felt out of control. So I took my nibbling in hand and refocused my appetite back toward more healthful habits. I started every morning with a green smoothie, and brought a second to work for lunch. In the evening I would have a salad, some carrot fries, and an entree. Maybe some crackers, and then some homemade and/or fat-free ice cream.

I got back on track. I felt more in control. The extra weight fell off (without, I should add, me trying to lose the weight) and I returned to my recommended weight range. All was right and well again.

Except not really. I had created what at first appeared to be healthy habits, but my eating disordered brain took theses habits and turned them sour. It began to re-imprison me into the over-controlled, food-obsessed, calorie-counting nightmare that nearly killed me and nearly ruined my life and my marriage. It snuck up on me, and when I was happy and comfortable and feeling healthy, it twisted everything around. Smoothies became restricted. Dinner became a borderline binge. Every new day was a renewed battle against my body.

Sophia's words comprised one of a few wake-up calls, not least being a loving but urgent pressure from God to change something. The realization came to me a week ago in the midst of a morning hoop session. As I spun in the early dark of my living room, rocking out to some Phil Wickham, the thought came -- I can't do this anymore. I have to change or I'll die. Maybe not physically, but I knew I'd watch my life stagnate and shrivel in a way that matters more than physical death. I realized that, in trying to change my unhealthy habits, I'd created a new one and was now living for dinner.

So I set about making some changes, focusing on nourishing my body so I could enjoy life, not just my final, bordering-on-binge meal of the day. Here are some of my goals:
  • Spread out the food from dinner throughout the day so my body is not overwhelmed by calories, regardless of their labeled healthfulness (i.e., a binge on carrots is still a binge)
  • Eat a small snack when my body calls for one in mid-morning and late afternoon
  • Drink more water
  • Exercise moderately (i.e., don't start to overexercise)
  • Eat more fat (everything had started to go fat-free/low calorie again, which is a sign of disordered behavior making a comeback)
  • Eat dinner at the table with the Best Husband Ever
  • Don't eat the same thing for every meal, every day
Easy peasy, right? Well, maybe not at first . . . but whatever struggle is worthwhile. I don't want to waste my life, or my marriage. The Bible says this about what my life (and your life!) is worth:
For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God (1 Peter 1:18-19).
I don't want to dump Jesus' gift down the drain. I want to connect to God. I want to connect to other people. I want to live.

So I've been trying. Not being perfect, but just trying. And, so far, life is better. I feel more balanced, more connected to God. I enjoy the Best Husband Ever, our dogs, my job, and cooking more than I have in the past handful of months. I don't know how my weight will be affected, but frankly, I don't care. I feel at ease. I feel at peace. I feel balanced. Woo hoo! Praise God!

And while you're praising Him, check out some of my eats since starting the new joy-inducing regime:

I've had some beefed-up breakfast smoothies, with more nutrition.

I broke out my Laptop Lunchbox for workplace meals, and have been enjoying fill it up with tasty and nutritious goodies.

There have been regular small, sustaining snacks . . .

. . . and different, delicious dinners.

Not to mention continuing nooch experiments!

I feel like I've been eating joy and peace instead of food. I feel blessed. Maybe it won't always feel like this, but the knowledge that living for dinner is empty will never become false.

What about you? What do you live for? What would you like to live for?


  1. This is actually exactly what I am struggling with. The borderline bingey dinner. It's really really really hard to get over it, so I don't blame you for struggling a bit. You actually seem really positive about it :)Gotta write out your list of things bc they all seem to apply to me...

  2. Wow, betherann...I was SO touched by this post...honestly, maybe you may have been inspired by my words, but I believe it was really God calling out to you. I might as well have written that post FOR YOU! And this inspired ME and taught ME something, too! Let me brag and say that this was written for ME as well!*hugs* and God be with you to success on meeting all those detailed goals you've laid out!

  3. Beth, this is amazing. You are amazing.LOVE YOU!!!

  4. I am sure that post was difficult to write! I love Sophia - her writing, her eats, and her honesty!I've never had issues with food, just eating too much after I stopped being an athlete. Turns out that you can eat Suzy-Q's for breakfast, pizza lunch with french fries, two giant chocolate chip cookies, pie and fries after school and THEN dinner if you don't work out three hours a day!I am a Beth Ann too - but my nickname is Biz! :D

  5. hey girl! thanks for your honesty, your openness. i didnt realize you were struggling like this and im sorry. i will pray specifically for you to continue on this healthy mind path! keeping Jesus in the center focus will give you the strength of awareness and the ears to hear Him tell you to make a change!

  6. You know what? You are beautiful in every way. You continue to inspire me (and so many others). Keep fighting the good fight! :)


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King