This weeks lesson in learning to live with less has definitely been a more literal translation of that idea. This week and for the next several weeks, as I am in pursuit of becoming more active, more healthy, and more fit person, I have decided to undertake and confront one aspect of my life I rarely give up for modification – food. By no means am I severly overweight (tho if you pay attention to the BMI I am either obese or borderline obese – which I don’t pay attention to, because, really, it is quite ridiculous to say that I am obese, squishy, yes. Curvy, yes. Plump, even, yes – but not obese). However, I have been noticing that I was becoming more and more uncomfortable in my own skin. I don’t think any one should feel that way. It was disturbing to me and I didn’t like it one bit. So I decided to do something about it. Part of what I decided to do was attack my eating habits with severe predjuice. I took into account what I was putting into my body and how it may affect it – either positively or negatively. When I was really honest with myself I realized that I was consuming way too much processed and artificial foods with ingredients that I can’t pronounce, let alone even begin to understand how those ingredients affect my health and my ability to digest and convert that food into energy. So then I thought, well if I can’t process in my mind what these ingredients are, then how can I expect my body to know what to do with them? Then came the hard part…getting rid of them. Oh how I love so many foods. I savor the taste of them, the texture, the euphoria things like choclate ice cream give me. But, I wanted to see what kind of difference I could experience physically and mentally and if whole foods (foods that don’t require a label. Foods that by looking at them you know what they are – fruits, vegetables, chicken, beef, fish. No canned foods (with the exception of those that make my life easier – i.e. artichoke hearts, beans, etc.), no preprocessed foods in bags or plastic containers. If I could go to the farmer with a grocery list, I would) could really transform my physical life.
I have never been this disciplined in all my life. You know, it really hasn’t been that hard. It’s been 1 week and I find that by not having those temptations in my house it makes it easier not to turn to them, sneak them. And really, I would only be cheating myself. The hardest part was committing to do it. Accepting the premise for doing it and believing it. That’s the key, I think, is believing in it. If you believe in what you are doing it’s easier to do it in the sense that mentally you are committed to it. If you do not believe in it, I can see how one would struggle with it. Fortunately for me, I don’t have an addictive personality so changing some aspect of my life really comes down to whether I want to or not.
I guess that has always been true. Even from the time I was child – I must have seemed obstinate, cantankerous and at times down right disobedient to my parents. Oh how I am sure that I frustrated them to the end of their wits, but thank God for their love. I remember one time I must have been 8 or 9 and my mom made salmon for dinner. My mother was not one to make different things for dinner to suit the needs of her family. It was one meal for everyone. You ate what was put in front of you or you didn’t eat. I think that is a good rule for households. I am not sure if any of us children had actually put that rule to the test before this, but I tested my parents, my dad especially. I ate everything on my plate but the salmon. I probably took a bite, decided I didn’t like it and left the rest – but I don’t remember. Everyone finished eating and my dad noticed that I had not. I remember being told, “you will sit there until you finish.” I think my dad thought that I would get bored or give in and just eat it so I could go play or watch TV or something. Sit there, I did. I sat there untill 9 that night (we usually ate around 6). He told me to go to my room. I do believe that was the last time I was told to eat something I didn’t want.
The point is: I didn’t want to do it, so I didn’t and no one, parents included, was going to make me. I guess that is what makes it so difficult for me when I have done wrong. I chose to because I wanted to. I am not easily talked into something that I don’t want to do. And if I do anything it is because I decided I was going to.
After I decided to change the way I eat so that I can become more healthy, I began to ponder the ways that I could translate that kind of discipline and transformation into other areas of my life – my social life, my spiritual life, my work life. What would removing all the artificialty out of my life do to it? How would it change? Not just by taking out the complications to make it more simple, by really seeking out the nonsense and making it all more whole and real.
Something happens to a person when they have experienced life in a way that leaves them broken. And it becomes easy to fill it with things that don’t matter (even and especially a person whose faith is in Christ). As a Christian we are taught to put our trust in God. We are taught to let him heal and let him bear the cross we so often take for ourselves. This world teaches us different and we are easily confused about what to let in and what to do ourselves and what belongs to God. Because for so many, God doesn’t exist in their reality. So our lives become full of stuff and people that are artificial and make it difficult for our hearts and minds to tell the difference between real and artificial. By cleaning out the artificial and replacing it with real whole “foods” our minds become clearer, our focus is repositioned on what’s important and everlasting and it allows us to see where we are in need of – God. Our hearts let go of layer after layer of callous and stone and our true wants, desires and hopes are revealed and can finally be addressed.
Please feel free to comment. I would love to hear your thoughts and maybe we can discuss this and go deeper