Monday, January 2, 2012

Growing Through Losing

Ugh! I had noticed a few extra pounds. You know what I’m talking about… Baggage that left no bag in my jeans. Clearly, my eating habits had changed. I used to mentally gauge my food choices. I only ate when I was hungry and chose wisely. I employed the give and take principle. A balance between calories, flavor, serving size and cravings. Somehow, this morphed into eating what I wanted when I wanted – which was a lot and often.

Case in point: Jeff and I were out and about running errands and picked up donuts and strawberries for our lunch. Next we headed get some coffee to go with them. On the way, I wrestled with myself. Just get a black coffee, it will balance the calories in the donuts…but I really want an iced coffee… they’re so good… but black coffee has no calories and will be good with donuts… but the iced coffee is so good…you’re already eating a ton of calories and fat…black coffee it is…end of discussion.

Still wavering as we approached the cashier, I changed my mind to milk, arguing with myself that it would provide some protein and fill me, rationalizing that I would then consume less donuts. Ok, I would order milk, then when I heard Jeff order a Frappe, the “me, me, me” piped up…But what I really really want is a vanilla iced coffee…

I returned to the car carrying a milk…and an iced coffee. And once again I had given in to desires and ended up with too many calories. (By the way, my idea that I would eat less donuts with the milk proved a theory…I gobbled 3 donuts, strawberries, the milk and the iced coffee…It did not amount to less in any way.)

Enter the diet. As in THE diet. Let’s admit it, no one truly enjoys diets. No one is really eager to start a diet. Until you come across someone for whom a diet has truly worked. Then you pick their brain and get website info. And so it was for us as we visited with some friends who were staying in our home this past June. 

Suddenly my husband, Mr. Anti-Diet himself, was encouraging, even pushing me to learn more about the diet so I could put him on it. Shocking, I know, if you know him at all. I didn’t even know that the word diet was in his vocabulary. Hostess Ho-Ho’s and Coke Cola, yes, but diet? It seemed so strange. But alas, he had decided it was time to make some changes. (Apparently he had noticed some extra baggage on himself as well.)

Dragging my feet at first, I reluctantly researched this diet of diets and pressed “confirm order” on the website.  I’m not really the diet sort of person, instead, I strongly believe in moderation. “Moderation in all things” could be my life motto for eating. And when I say all things, I mean all…. As in cheesecake, brownies, ice cream…. Nothing is off limits, just consumed in moderation.  I have done ok with this method for years, except for the times I have thrown moderation out the window and adopted the “eat whatever I feel like” plan (as of late), which has brought on this nice package of excess I’ve been carrying around with me.

This new diet is strict. Instead of being Miss Moderate, I have to be Miss Extreme. I’ve got to be tough. It’s trying me. I can’t make any excuses or rationalize. There is no room for situational ethics of the munching kind. Not even the famous “just one little bite of brownie won’t hurt…”  It is working, though. And it is working in places that have been difficult to lose it before (Girls, you know what I’m talking about.) Despite the difficulty, it is worth it.

The same principle applies to my faith walk. This is how we should live our lives as followers of Christ. Excuses don’t cut it. Rationalizing doesn’t hold up. Situational ethics just doesn’t fit. He doesn’t want wimpy moderation-ists. He wants extremists. Followers who are done with excuses. Who will give up the triple latte comfy life to fully obey and follow no matter the discomfort. Being a follower of Christ requires us to follow instead of sitting on the sidelines eating donuts and wearing WWJD bracelets.

This has been good for my walk. Just like my eating habits, I tend to give myself an inch and take a mile where my walk is concerned. I get lazy, I rationalize, or make excuses where I know I shouldn’t. I replace the goal of pleasing God with pleasing self. I know that living for self gets me where I do not want to be, but still I give in to indulgence. Getting back on track, radically following my Savior feels good because I know its right. Its what I was made for.

More on this next week…..

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