Everyone has it.
Nobody wants it.
Unfortunately, my typical reaction to stress is to go to the kitchen and bite something. I have a bad habit of clenching my jaws and grinding my teeth (according to my dentist), so maybe stress manifests in my jaws and makes me want to sink my teeth into something.
The undesirable side effect has been a few extra inches clinging to my hips and thighs that refuse to pack into my jeans.
It was frustrating, until I stepped on the scale to get real with myself. That’s when it went from frustrating to jaw-dropping.
It took me YEARS after Caleb was born to get the baby weight off, and in a two-week time span, it has all come rushing back. What the weight??
Diets don’t work for me, y’all. I start feeling rebellious against whatever food/calorie deprivation is involved in the diet before I’ve even completed the first week. I find myself saying one or all of the following:
- I cannot go on like this for another day … this brain fog … this grumpiness … I’m. So. HANGRY!
- Um … I didn’t realize low-carb meant giving up mashed potatoes. Nope, nope, nope, and all the nopes in Nopeland!
- Why am I so hungry. Why must my body insist on being hungry. I’m so hungry it’s all I can think about. Hungry, hungry, hungry, hungry …
- This isn’t life! Life is supposed to be enjoyed, not survived! I am barely surviving! I give up! Right now, I choose to enjoy my life, not torture myself! I choose JOY! I choose JOY! (I continue to chant this with every slurp of ice cream)
- Who are you, diet, to tell me what I can and can’t eat? *shovels chocolate into my mouth* Take THAT! *swallows a chunk of cheese the size of my fist and chases it with sweet tea* Take THAT! And THAT!
Then, inevitably, Monday rolls around, as it insists on doing every week. I feel all barfy and bloaty from all the bad foods, not to mention the volume. I’m pretty sure I have a couple of fresh, shiny breakouts from the toxicity coursing through my veins. I vow to get my life in control. I hop onto the interwebs and research “food plans” and “eating lifestyles” (you know, because denying that you’re on a diet and relabeling it works every time, right?…) I get sucked into before-and-after pictures that I come across. I suddenly remember the “before” pictures I took a year ago and go back to check my weight stats. I’m disheartened to realize I’m in the exact same place I was then.
But no more. No more!, I tell myself. I shall not cave to the sweets. I raise a shaky fist into the air and shout, “I’ll never eat chocolate again!” All while the Diet Devil retreats into the shadows, wringing his hands and laughing that creepy, breathy laugh that sounds like Bozo the Clown has been smoking for 40 years.
That’s where I am today … which isn’t Monday … but still. I called my husband and unintentionally picked a fight with him because I was frustrated that it was so hard to make time to workout. And then I did what every good little nerd does when they’re stuck …
I picked up a few volumes of light reading and began to research nutrition.
I came across something interesting … something that took on new meaning in light of my current nutritional frustrations. I read about Daniel in the Bible requesting permission from the king to abstain from the rich, royal foods that were given to himself and several other young men, and instead chose to eat only vegetables and water for a 10-day period. After the 10 days, he was tested against the other young men and proved to be in better health. He was then allowed to continue eating that way.
I thought, “Now THAT’S how to honor God with your body.”
It took a single Google search to realize that Daniel’s way of eating during that time has inspired a whole slew of religious weight loss books. I had heard of the “Daniel Fast” but because it contained the word “fast” I just assumed it was some version of intermittent fasting or something.
What was impressive to me about Daniel is that he risked getting in serious trouble with the king to honor God with his body, but glorifying God was that important to him. It should be that way for all of us, in all areas of our lives.
For that reason, I’m looking at “dieting” in a way I never have before. Instead of making sad, flimsy attempts to lose weight, I’m going to make the decision to honor God with what I eat and with how I exercise. It’s something that has never occurred to me before.
And I might just start with a 10-day Daniel challenge.