Chapter Three, Replacing My Cravings, is where I really started to believe Lysa TerKeurst had somehow gotten inside my heart and stolen all my thoughts, using them to write a book that would eventually help me. As if the first two chapters and the introduction hadn’t convinced me.
At one point she writes, “Who could I talk to about this? If I admit my struggle with food to my friends, they might try to hold me accountable next time we go out. And what if I’m not in the mood to be questioned about my nachos con queso with extra sour cream?” I had been having those exact same thoughts. And two paragraphs later she brought it all into perspective. I needed to “[r]eally surrender. Surrender to the point where I’d make radical changes for the sake of my spiritual health perhaps even more than my physical health.” If you are one of the many people who has contacted me to let me know that you are going to read this book, please dig in to chapter three. If necessary, read it through twice.
I had a fascinating revelation about myself during the reading of this chapter. I wrote: “I hate to admit this but food is the only way I know to comfort a grieving person or help a person in need. If I feel that someone is having a bad day and needs a treat all I can think of is food. This rang loudly in my spirit when I wanted to give a particular friend a gift for loaning her van to us and all I could think of was food, and she’s allergic to so much that I wasn’t able to give her anything. I literally gave her nothing because I was stumped on what to give!! I think it may be the “southerner” in me… that’s what we do. We feed people.”
Lysa gives a practical tactic to combat her cravings. Each time she craved something, she used that as a prompt to pray. She said she found herself praying a lot! One of the prayers she prayed, I needed to pray, myself. “Help me, God, to feel satisfied with healthier choices.” I share a bit about this later on in this post.
In the personal reflections section of Chapter 3, Lysa asks a question:
Using the list below, can you recall specific situations in which you turned to food for these reasons?
Keeping the same situations in mind, how do you imagine your experiences might have been different if you had relied on God, craved God, instead of turning to food?
And my reply: “I had memories that touched on all of those. In the end, I ended up bigger than I was a year ago, out of shape, miserable, hating myself, and angry at myself. Ashamed. Had I turned to God during each and every one of those moments I would, be at least 20 pounds lighter, fitter, and I think even my marriage would be better as I’m grumpy in this state and it’s talking it’s toll on our relationship.”
Yes, my marriage was reaping the negative results of my negative attitudes about myself. That’s not something they cover in marriage retreats. I wonder why. PROBABLY BECAUSE THIS TOPIC HITS SUCH RAW NERVES THAT NO ONE WANTS TO ATTEMPT IT. Except Lysa TerKeurst!
One final question of hers I want to cover before I move on to where I am today as opposed to where I was on May 30th. She asks, “How has prayer helped or failed to help in your previous food battles?” My reply: “HAHA! I have never, EVER, tried prayer in my food battles. That’s why I think this time will be different. I’ve felt so victorious the past two days when faced with temptation because I’ve used the “permissible/beneficial” prayer. I know it’s only been two days, but it’s far better than I’ve ever done before.”
I read this chapter on May 30th and I was still craving sweets and carbs terribly. Making healthier choices was still a major challenge at each meal time. May 30th was the second day in a row that I made good choices all day and it was such a victory! I was excited to get up the third day and make good choices all day, again. Now I’ve been working on this for six weeks I am finding it so much easier to make good choices and I don’t have to work quite so hard at it. I’ve found some snacks to have on hand that fit within my plan and now, when I find myself hungry, I don’t have any temptation to grab something bad for me. Partly because I don’t have much in the house that is bad for me, but mostly because I have prepared snacks that are good. I put “pre” in bold letters because that’s a key for me. Preparing the snacks before the need arises. Here are some tricks I’ve been using to help me not cave to the poptarts and cereal that call my name from the pantry.
- I buy a peanut mix that I like and portion it out in baggies the day I buy it so I don’t feel tempted to take the container to my recliner and sit and snack away. I never realized just how small a “portion” of nuts is, but now that I’ve been using them as an occasional pick-me-up snack, I understand that a quarter-cup is really enough to curb hunger.
- I keep a baggie of these in my purse so that when I find myself out and about and hungry I can grab this instead of being tempted to splurge on junk. I wasn’t in a bad habit of doing this, but those nuts have come in handy a time or two.
- When having my favorite yogurt I top it with my favorite granola mix and measure out a half-serving. (A full serving is 1/2 cup but that’s too much to go with a yogurt… I use 1/4 cup.)
- I have Crystal Lite on occasion to spice up my drink choices. I prefer my Dr. Pepper 10 but my trainer has banned these from my diet. I don’t know if she means forever or just during my super-focused training time… not thinking about that right now. Just focusing on the current goals.
- I keep baby carrots around like you wouldn’t believe. It’s not that I just love carrots, but I do enjoy hummus and when I find that I’m just needing to crunch, carrots give me that satisfaction without the guilt afterwards. I’ve learned to recognize the difference between the hunger-craving and the crunch-craving. When I just need to crunch, carrots are great!
Where I am now: Minor victories! Yesterday I did Insanity before I went to a friend’s Change of Command Ceremony because I knew that the day was going to be so packed I wouldn’t have time to do so later. I walked into the ceremony and there before me was the biggest sheet cake AAFES makes. The very first thing I heard in my spirit was, “No cake.” I wasn’t even disappointed. I just knew I wasn’t to have the cake. After the change of command I hugged my friend and left, having eaten NO CAKE! I was quite proud of myself. (That was victory #1.) I knew that I was going to be out during lunchtime so before I headed out the door that morning I packed a lunch that I would look forward to (no carrot sticks involved) but that would fall within my plan. I sat in the van with Parker and ate my yummy, guilt-free lunch. (That was victory #2.) And then we were off to the VBS Finale. First thing I saw when I walked in was the biggest sheet cake AAFES makes. Again I heard, “No cake.” I accepted that and know that the reason I was able to do so without being disappointed was because I had just eaten a healthy lunch, because I had already exercised so I didn’t want to undo any good I had already accomplished, and because over the past five or six weeks I’ve eaten so few super-sweets that my craving for them has diminished considerably. I even turned down a “bite” when Hayden offered me one! (And that, my friend, was victory #3.)
I firmly believe that had I not gone through the tough early weeks of serious cravings repeating “everything is permissable but not everything is beneficial” a hundred times a day, I would have caved at one of the two events… I love cake. I LOVE CAKE.
In my post yesterday I forgot to mention one huge milestone I have reached since I started this journey. My BMI no longer places me in the obese category! I’m finally just “overweight!” Okay, not many people rejoice in being overweight, but I do. I’ve never liked either word but one definitely hurts more than another. Guess what?!? I only have EIGHT MORE POUNDS to lose until I, for the first time since college, fall into the “normal” category!