10 Years in the Making
Five years ago I started a new journey towards health. My first one was over 10 years ago in college, surprisingly. I learned to cook (in a cast iron skillet no less), did Pilates and walked everywhere. Eventually I lost 40lbs. I was ecstatic to say the least. However, a few symptoms still lingered such as IBS, a constant runny nose/allergies, acne, and anxiety. Just to name a few.
Back in college I had no idea that what I chose to put in my gut had such an impact on my overall health. It was not until a girlfriend of mine suggested I cut out dairy to ease my runny nose/allergy symptoms. So I did. For 6 weeks. The amount of information I learned just in the first week was incredible. I learned to read labels. Did you know dairy is practically in everything? I also learned that dairy is not the only ingredient I should be ridding in my diet. It was totally overwhelming! To help stay accountable I joined a weight loss program that invented a point system to help you limit your calories. This helped me stay engaged in what I put on my plate throughout the day. It also encouraged me to eat more veggies since they were only 0 points. Winning!
Oh, I should mention that at this point in my life I had gained back all 40lbs I had lost in college. Adulting is hard, ya’ll. By the 4th week on my new dairy free journey I had lost 20lbs. Rather effortlessly. By 6 weeks my allergy symptoms were practically gone. But I still ate quite a bit of junk foods. Potato chips have no dairy btw.
Then one day I met my future husband. He introduced me to the world of paleo/primal and clean eating. Suddenly I’m listening to podcasts featuring health enthusiasts such as Mark Sisson, Chris Kresser, Dr. Mercola and JJ Virgin. I learned so much that year. After my plateau of 20lb weight loss I added only one thing to my diet, more fat (avocados, nuts/seeds, grass-fed butter, etc) and lost another 10lbs overnight. At this point I had not been exercising regularly. I did the Couch to 5k program and after running my first 10k I realized I hated running. So instead I followed the Primal Blueprint model of lifting heavy things, keeping active throughout the day (as much as possible) and sprinting (like giving it all you got) once a week. The sprinting was the hardest to maintain because I hate running (too much jiggling and bouncing).
This lifestyle was amazing. I felt amazing and more alive than I have ever felt. I was also the fittest I had been in my entire life and I was 30! But the social culture I am used to eventually led me to little treats here and there until I got pregnant and morning sickness brought all the comfort foods back. I still ate clean, but definitely not low carb. Since having my son I have found it extremely difficult to even stick to clean eating. I felt like a fraud. I was a health coach after all and I couldn’t even get my health together!
I started reading books like Food Freedom by Melissa Hartwig, and completing my 4th Whole 30. Still nothing stuck. Then a friend from college reached out to me and suggested one more book. It was Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food by Lysa Terkeurst. The funny thing was I had bought this book years ago and was not ready to receive the insight inside it. It took me about a week to open the book back up. Reluctant to feel condemnation for my lack of holiness and fear that the spirit of legalism would rear its ugly head again… in fact the opposite happened. Turns out I was living in a spirit of legalism already. I have been trying to fill deep voids with pleasurable things (movies, sugar, bread and lots of it) when really I needed to fill it with the pleasure of God.
While reading her chapter on “Made for More” a scripture kept playing in the back of my mind. It was Romans 7:15-16. It reads:
“For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled, bewildered]. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe [which my moral instinct condemns]. Now if I do [habitually] what is contrary to my desire, [that means that] I acknowledge and agree that the Law is good (morally excellent) and that I take sides with it.”
Read that again and let it sink in.
This scripture ultimately explains how the author struggles with sin even though he knows what the Law says and that it is good. He also states that by denying his sinful desires he is making a statement that the Law is good and better for him. He is outwardly agreeing with the Law.
Wow! How many times did I say yes to a donut (ok, more like a binge) knowing I would feel terrible afterwards and reaping the consequences for the next couple of days and never realized that in essence I am saying that I agree with junk food and that eating clean has no merit. That this temple of mine does not deserve respect or real nourishment. It sounds extreme but that is what I need. I need to be held accountable. I have learned so much that to deny it would be stupid and selfish.
In her book, Lysa says to gain closeness to God requires us to “deny ourselves something that is permissible but not beneficial.” She sacrificed sugar so that she may become closer with God. He was all that would satisfy her from then on. She was made for so much more than constant binges and self-loathing.
I was made for more. I cannot complete the tasks before me if I do not take care of this temple. I want to be able to say, “Yes, Lord, I am here;” not, “Yes, Lord, but maybe tomorrow when I’m feeling better.”
This is my new mission. It has taken over 10 years for me to get to this place and I am sure it will still take some time to get where I ultimately want to be. Why? Because: life. But at least I am not where I used to be. Will you join me on this journey?