FAT. I hate that word. It comes with so many connotations and so much trauma. Many of us struggle with our weight. Personally, I come from a long line of emotional eaters. I was taught to celebrate with food, grieve with food, bond with food. I have, in the past, realized it was a crutch, but it was only in the last year or so that I realized it had become an idol. I am addicted to food. It was where I went first to deal with a bad day or even just an overwhelming hour with my kids. Can any of your relate?
Sure I’ve tried lots of diets and workouts and programs to address the weight and the food, but none of them got to the spiritual root of the issue. I saw a Facebook post today that sort of summed it up.
"Your diet is not only what you eat. It is what you watch, what you listen to, what you read, and the people you hang around. Pay attention to what you feed your soul, not just your stomach."
That’s the thing isn’t it? We have to be willing to look at a holistic change, one that includes valuing our lives, not just our bodies, and having self-worth beyond what is prescribed to us by the outside world. We have to care not just about our weight or size but our health, mental, physical, and spiritual if we want to get well. For me this meant a systemic change: journaling what I eat when, how fast, and what I was feeling at the time. Tracking it allowed me to take the power back and re-route my feelings to talk to a friend or counselor, or yes God. (I mean God made everything we use for food so I feel like She has to have a pretty good handle on what we are up against here.)
More than that it helped me change my attitude. Matthew 15:11 states, "It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles." Jesus goes on to explain that what comes out of our mouths is more dangerous because it demonstrates a toxicity of our hearts and minds. If we are still self-deprecating and even self-loathing we will continue to hold onto that which weighs us down (food or otherwise). We will self-sabotage, cheat, yo-yo and continue our self-harm if we cannot first find our self-worth.
Heading into this season of hidden Halloween candy, famous turkey stuffing, and Christmas cookie parties we will be tempted. This year, though, let’s do the spiritual work first. In October I’m starting "Waist Management" a group offering accountability and support with a spiritual foundation. Meeting once or twice a month to reflect on both what has gone into and come out of our mouths. Consider joining or starting a group near you and ask yourself, "What feeds your soul?"
Rev. Debbie Saxe (@IrRevRant) is ordained in the CCDOC and currently serves as minister of the First Christian Church of Cuyahoga Falls.