Secondary Gains, Part 3

This post is originally from October 2010.

Okay, so we covered health and we covered relationships. What more could there be?  What about simply bad habits in response to the stress of life?

For instance, as a child my mom would give me potato chips to calm me down. Hmmm, makes sense that carbs are a major comfort food for me.  Combine that with thyroid issues where I merely look at a potato chip and gain 10 lbs – well, it combines for significant weight gain.  Also, having struggled with depression and a family that refused to acknowledge or care about that, where else would I seek comfort except for where I was taught to find it – in food.

See the cycle of addiction/habit here?  Need – met with food instead of caring – begets weight gain which can amplify my need and then is again met through food.  And the vicious cycle continues.

Over the years I had to recognize that while my weight issues are not solely due to eating wrong things, there were however deeper emotional issues that prevent me from moving forward to lose the weight.  Unmet needs.  In my marriage, in my family of origin.  You know – the yuck stuff of life that is hard to escape and will likely not change.  So I adapted and meet my own needs – with comfort from food.

Earlier this year I embarked on an intense six week weight loss regimen.  I had to cut out all sugar and starches and my menu was limited.  I knew I could do it. I had been on detox diets before; I knew it would be hard, but survivable.  And yet, in spite of the positive reinforcement of my shrinking body, lowering numbers on the scale and having to pull out smaller clothes – well, I struggled.  Seriously.  I journaled. I had my goals set.  I was physically making progress but emotionally I really had a hard time going there.

See – my weight had become a protection too.  And while I want to be thin – it’s scary.  I don’t like the way I look – but then I also get frustrated because I am often sabotaged in my progress by people who should be cheering me on.  I’m afraid I will be more vulnerable to the attacks and criticisms that come against my person – if I don’t have food and fat to hide behind. So twisted!

So what did I do? I had to work on the why. I had to set aside the baggage of negative messages I had been carrying from people who should have been encouraging rather than critical.  This was not an easy process and at times I still pick up those bags of negativity and struggle to carry them as if my worth and value cannot rise above them.  I have to drop them again and again and again. I also had to feel the pain of life instead of anesthetizing it with food.

I was blessed by a friend who said to me, that I often speak negatively about myself (my body).  I was blind to this. So I asked her to hold me accountable because sometimes what we s ay reflects how we really see ourselves and we sabotage our own success.  Simply having her hold me accountable, I was able to stop the negative talk.  In essence I  wasn’t accepting who God had made me to be, stretch marks and all.

I’m not advocating looking in the mirror and giving yourself positive messages.  However I do advocate looking in Scripture at who God says you are in Him.  He loves me in spite of my weight.  He uses me in spite of that. Not that He doesn’t want me to lose the weight or be healthy.  Doing those things would make me a more effective servant for the long haul.  But He knew before the beginning of time that I would be where I am at today and that HE would walk through these struggles with me – to confront my own unhealthy adaptations and learn instead to find my unmet needs – met fully in HIM.

So, while I sometimes still enjoy potato chips or other foods that used to be favorites, I’m finding instead that seeking and savoring GOD is far more satisfying.  I crave HIM more than I do the food and He is slowly becoming more and more of my habit. A healthy adaptation!  Eventually my prayer is that the scale will confirm that too, but that will only be the cherry on top of the schaum torte.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. amy
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 17:28:05

    a lot of people do not understand the depth of this struggle. I also am frustrated daily with the internal battle that I hate my body, but must accept that God loves me and I am “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Please know that you are not alone. Also – more posts on this topic would be welcome, I am sure. God bless.


  2. lillygracebrown
    Nov 24, 2010 @ 07:53:22

    Amy – thank you. Saying a prayer for you today. Someone once told me that it was sin to see my body so negatively and in many ways it does diminish the fact that for whatever reason, God has allowed us to be just who we are at this point in time. Sometimes I need to confess my negativity as sin! Ugh! We live in human vessels, fragile and in many cases even broken, but God still uses us and for that we can be grateful! Blessings! LGB


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