It was decades ago, but I vividly recall the first time I dove deep into a pile of food and didn’t come up for air until I wanted to vomit. I was in middle school at the time and lived with my family in an old Victorian home on the edge of town–directly across the street from a gas station and small convenience store.
I frequently wandered across the street, browsed the small store and drooled over the abounding treats.
Sometimes I scrounged up enough money to actually buy myself a little treat.
In my mind’s eye, I feel myself race across the street from the station. I’m giddy with excitement. I turn on the TV, fall into my dad’s green La-Z-boy, kick up my feet and tear into the bag as though it were a Christmas present. The rich smell of the donuts makes my eyes roll back and mouth water. I know I should only eat one or two and save the rest for later, but once I start, I don’t stop. I can’t stop. I eat uncontrollably until every last piece of glazed goodness is gone.
I stare hard into the bottom of the bag in disappointment and disbelief. I feel overwhelming guilt, shame and regret for what I’ve just done. I’m sick mentally and physically. Sadly, this lack of self-control with food consumption continues like a rerun well into my adult life.
Food is a source of joy for me–a celebration, a party. My excitement over food is not a secret to those closest to me. As I look back over my time spent at childhood friends’ homes, I clearly see how much my delight in food influenced those around me.
In the two childhood friends’ homes where I spent the most time, I somehow convinced my friends’ mothers to stockpile my favorite treats in their cupboards at their expense. My mom is embarrassed right now. Sorry, Ma–I was hungry.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely believe food is meant to be at the center of celebrations–food is created to be enjoyed. But, I also believe that self-control has to be a huge piece of the puzzle in one’s relationship with food, or else the relationship has the potential to go awry. The self-control bit is where I have failed. Miserably.
My family, and my husband’s family both enjoy gatherings with large spreads of food; kitchen tables brimming with the most delicious creations imaginable. At such gatherings, most individuals grab a plateful, sit down, chat with family members and enjoy the meal placed before them until they feel full and comfortable–but not me.
I stand at the food tables and I eat like a cow at a trough, grazing for hours. I eat and I eat and I eat. I do not exaggerate. I truly do not understand how my stomach can even contain the amount of food I have consumed during single parties.
I’ve behaved this way at get-togethers for years, and the saddest part is–after eating for hours, I’m rarely full. I’m not satisfied. Yes, I may have a stomach ache. Yes, I’m so bloated my gut hangs over the top of my pants. But–do I want more? You betcha.
Restaurants are the same brand of poison for me. After I eat an oversized plate of food, as well as a full dessert, I feel as hungry as I did before I began to eat. I want more.
Until recently, I thought it’s just the way I am –the fact that I’m rarely able to eat and be satisfied. It has never once occurred to me in my thirty-eight years of life that I could get control over my appetite by changing my diet.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve begun most of my days with a giant bowl of cereal and oversized glass of orange juice. But, within the last few years especially, I’ve noticed that by 10:30 am, my entire body trembles, both internally and externally. My hands shake as though I were eighty years old.
When my body behaves this way, I reach for more food, because in my mind, it’s signaling I need fuel. Once I eat, the jitters dissipate. This cycle has continued for years. I didn’t believe there was any reason for concern, because according to my understanding, aside from my occasional binges, I had been eating a “mostly healthy diet”.
But at the end of 2018, I noticed my jeans seemed tighter. No really–I am embarrassed to admit, but I actually convinced myself that the pants I had been wearing for years suddenly shrunk in the dryer. Laugh all you want, but we believe lies when we don’t want to face the truth. It was more about me and less about my pants.
I began an exercise routine around Thanksgiving with no intention of changing my diet. I frequently joked with my workout partner that I exercised simply so I could “Eat all I wanted.”
By February, I was irritated. Despite all the time and effort of my routine, my pants were still snug. It wasn’t my jeans’ fault or my genes.
I noticed my friend at church was visibly shrinking from week to week, so I asked him what he’d been doing to lose weight. He was on the Keto diet. Hmmmm…food for thought.
I decided to research the Keto diet. His results were far too remarkable to ignore.
I read many articles on the diet–many of them controversial. Some articles claimed that the diet was unhealthy and unsustainable. I definitely didn’t want to risk my health to lose a few pounds.
I had a gnawing hunger to learn more.
I joined Keto groups on Facebook and followed #keto on Instagram. Some of the “before and after” pictures were shocking. I almost didn’t believe they were real. People lost hundreds of pounds while eating high fat foods. Over and over I read, Fat doesn’t make you fat. Sugar makes you fat.
Within these Facebook groups, people claimed to reverse their diabetes on the diet. They claimed they could do without prescription medications. They slept soundly. Food was more flavorful. Their brain fog disappeared. Stomach issues were healed. On and on and on. Seriously?
In one Facebook group, a lady suggested we watch The Magic Pill. It is a documentary that follows people who switch their traditional diets to the Keto diet. All of the stories were eye-opening, but the most profound to me was a woman who actually shrunk her cancer by simply changing her diet. No chemo. No radiation. She simply stopped eating sugar and started making better choices with food.
The more I researched, the more I became convinced this way of eating could be a good fit for me. I saw no harm in trying it for a few weeks, maybe even a month to drop the pounds I wanted to drop, and then go back to my regular way of eating.
In reality, I gave myself permission to quit if I couldn’t do it. I needed to change my mindset.
After much research and deliberation, I began the Keto diet on Valentine’s Day, 2019.
The first three weeks on the diet I wanted to die. That’s dramatic. I was very miserable.
I craved, dreamed of, fixated on all of the processed garbage to which I was accustomed. I stared evil, unchristlike glares at small children eating cinnamon crunch bagels and treats at church. I pictured myself “Cookie Monster”-ing large trays of snickerdoodles. I would go weak in the knees packing Pringles in my kid’s lunches. All I wanted was a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats, for goodness sake.
I had no idea up until this point how incredibly addicted I was to carbs. I was a carbohydrate slave. It quite honestly scared the crap out of me. I began to refer to myself as an addict. Hi, my name is Laura. I’m a carboholic.
The more I struggled with withdrawal symptoms, the more I researched what was going on within me. I read article after article about sugar and its addictive qualities. In fact, some studies claim to have found sugar to be eight times more addictive than cocaine. Whaaaaaatttt?!? Isn’t that sick?!?
I also discovered why eating starchy, carbohydrate-filled foods made me more hungry. When we eat flour and sugar in processed foods, it causes hormonal disturbances in our bodies that actually DO make us hungry for more sweets and starchy junk food. It was a huge epiphany for me that it wasn’t “Just the way I am.” I had unknowingly been in a carbohydrate-dependent cycle for years.
After the first three weeks on the diet, I began to notice my cravings lessened. My hands didn’t tremble anymore; I was calm and steady. I noticed I didn’t desperately desire a nap in the afternoon. I slept better at night. But, the most remarkable thing to me of all was the fact that after eating, I FELT SATIATED!!!
Eating nutrient-dense, high quality food made me feel satisfied. I ate appropriate platesful of food and stopped. This was life-changing for me. Many times I wasn’t even hungry by the time it was “time” for another meal.
It has been four months since I started Keto. I’ve dropped close to 25 pounds and I feel like a new woman. I now have a healthy relationship with food. I have so much energy. I don’t struggle with cravings. I’m eating healthier now than I have in my entire life. I don’t binge, therefore I don’t deal with guilt and shame regarding food. I have zero desire to go back to my old habits. I’m peaceful. I exercise self-control.
So why do I share this with you?
Because it’s part of my mission. My mission is to restore, create and encourage vision in others to explore all that’s possible. I want you to see that it’s ALWAYS possible to change your mindset and improve your life.
If you regularly feel negative emotions or symptoms after eating, I can full-heartedly say it’s time to make a change. Am I going to recommend that every individual on the planet take up the Keto way of eating? Heck no. That’s foolish. I don’t believe it’s a one-size-fits-all diet.
What works for me is not necessarily going to work for you, your sister, or your sister’s friend. But–I encourage you to seek something that will work for you. I want to give you hope that there are plenty of food plans out there that can make you feel full and satisfied, happy and healthy. If what you’ve been doing isn’t working for you–CHANGE!
I just finished reading Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. Twice. There were countless takeaways from the book, but the overall theme of the book was that YOU have the ability to change your life. “You just have to stop waiting for someone else to do it for you. There is no life hack. Just you and your God-given strength and how much you desire change…When you really want something, you will find a way. When you don’t really want something, you’ll find an excuse.”
I DID NOT want to give up potato chips, cereal, granola bars and dessert, but here’s the thing I know to be true: If I continue the diet I’ve been accustomed to for most of my life, choosing unhealthy, processed foods, I will proceed to spiral out of control.
If I choose to eat healthy, nutrient-dense, filling foods, I will be in control of my relationship with food. I’ll think better. I’ll feel better. I’ll act better.
Can you relate?
Your spirit, and if you’ve invited him in, the Holy Spirit, both reside within your physical body–your temple. The care and consideration you put into the health and well-being of your temple speaks volumes about your character.
God desires for us to be healthy, whole humans who demonstrate his love and power wherever we go. If what you feed your body makes you feel sick, miserable and unsatisfied, that’s not God’s best for you.
If you devour platesful of what this world serves and you’re not satiated, ask the Holy Spirit to feed you with his fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
You have the ability, with help, to do absolutely anything. You just have to decide to change your mindset. There is hope. If I can do it, you can do it. I believe in you.
I made this framed verse specifically for this post, with the hope that one of my readers would want to hang it in their home as an encouragement. I truly believe you CAN do anything, with His strength. The frame measures 16.5″x20.5″.
In order to be entered in the giveaway, simply comment in the box below (on THIS blog post, NOT on Facebook, because I can’t see all of the comments on Facebook). Don’t stress about this part. I know I talk to a lot of people who say they want to enter, but never know what to write. If you can’t think of what to write, tell me what fruit of the spirit you desire most in your life right now (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control).
Anyone can comment, and if you don’t necessarily want the framed verse for yourself, try to think of someone that might be blessed by these words, and give it to them. A winner will be chosen within the week.
Thanks so much for reading.
*****UPDATE***** Erin is the chosen winner. Thanks so much to everyone who responded to this post. I appreciate all of you.
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