A few weeks ago I shared that I was going to begin a Whole30. You can read that post here.
Honestly, there is a part of me that doesn’t want to share this. Is this really important? Aren’t there weightier things we could talk about?
I’ve recently come to terms with the fact that I cannot be who God has called me to be if I’m bound by an addiction of any kind. I am not as effective of a witness. I am not living free. If I can’t move past this then I am limited. My purpose is limited.
I was addicted to food. And in light of the way the world is going, I think it’s more important than ever for us to lay aside the “weights and sins” that would try to hold us back, whatever they may be.
So, here’s my story.
Friday (November 20th) will be my last day of these 30 days dedicated to eating whole foods. Not the store. Just real food. Woohoo! Kinda.
This way of eating is pretty strict and I stuck to it for the most part. But there were times I did deviate and staunch Whole30er’s would say I just need to start over. It is an elimination diet, so it cuts out things that might not agree with your system for 30 days. So, if you mess up, the whole elimination thing is kind of moot. Thus, the need to start over.
I started off guns blazing. It was going really well, until Sunday after worship, I popped a mint in my mouth. That was the point that I knew I wouldn’t be able to say I completed a Whole30. It was the same moment that I knew:
1. It was okay.
2. I needed to keep going.
I knew I was addicted to food. Really, I think most of us probably are to some degree. I thought about it all the time.
In the past I would feel the emptiness in the pit of my stomach and I would reach for the most convenient and satisfying thing at the moment. And then, I would excuse myself because it was “just a little bit” and “I’ll work out later,” but I wasn’t making any progress, not necessarily in the way I looked, but in the way I felt.
I wanted to be healthy and strong. I wanted to honor God with my body.
So, I keep going, even though I ate that stinkin’ mint but, I determined not to beat myself up. If I was somewhere where I couldn’t be absolutely positive of what ingredients were in my food, I would relax. I didn’t stress. And most of the time, I didn’t blatantly go off plan. The times I did were premeditated because, too often, I eat without thinking and it would all be downhill from there.
About 2/3 of the way through the 30 days I realized my attitude for food was changing. I wasn’t craving my nightly salty or sweet snack. I was feeling completely satisfied with my eggs and apples with almond butter for breakfast. I wasn’t using a lack of ingredients or convenience to derail me for a meal. And I didn’t feel like I had to eat something just because it was there.
The things that used to really tempt me lost their appeal. This is HUGE for me.
Other benefits have been:
1. I'm sleeping better.
2. I have a ton of energy during the day, which makes a huge difference when you’re trying to keep up with kiddos.
3. My clothes fit better!
The benefits have been awesome. But the greatest benefit has been something I didn’t expect.
I knew something needed to change. In the past, I didn’t want to invite God into the process. I wanted to do it myself. It was too embarrassing for me to ask Him for help. Really? Am I that weak? And the answer is a resounding, "YES!" I kept trying. For months, even years, I tried to get my act together and I became well acquainted with failure.
A good example of this is my love for running. I would run so much that there would be no reason I shouldn’t be in shape. But, I thought running meant I could eat ALL THE FOODS. And as a result I got plantar fasciitis because my feet couldn’t handle the stress from the weight of my body. It was an incredibly painful reminder every time my feet hit the pavement. I couldn’t fully enjoy doing something I loved so much.
You might look at me and think,
“Casey, you look fine! You don’t have anything to worry about.”
And I would say,"You’re right."
I wasn’t all that dissatisfied with the way I looked. The goal wasn’t to lose a certain amount of weight, although I knew that would be a bi-product of a healthier lifestyle.
I was dissatisfied with my lack of self control.
I was dissatisfied with making excuses.
I was dissatisfied with being a slave to my cravings.
That is no way to live. That is not abundant life.
The other day I made cookies for a meeting and I took a bite. I took a big ole bite of that cookie and it was good. I enjoyed it. And it wasn’t Whole30 compliant in the slightest.
At that moment, I felt the urge to shove all the cookies in my mouth and store them in my cheeks like a chipmunk. To hide them in my pockets. To take the whole pan and sit in the bathtub with the lights off. Just me and my cookies.
Confession. It was actually Q’s cookie.
I stole a cookie from a one year old.
“Oh, Q. You don’t like that cookie? Just let me take care of that for you.”
Nom nom nom nom.
And then, I stopped. I had a choice to make. And before, it wouldn’t have felt like a choice. I would be the begrudging child and God would be taking my toy. I think that’s why I was afraid to invite Him in.
In the areas we want to keep to ourselves we begin to see God as a taker not a giver. [Tweet This]
I stopped at one bite…alright, maybe it was two. But the point is I stopped. Okay?
I’ve invited God in to my experience with food. I’m still inviting Him in. Because y’all, this is a journey.
I have come to terms that I will always deal with weakness in this area. But in my weakness He is strong. His strength is so much better than my puny strength.
I started the Whole30 because I literally needed someone to tell me what to do. I could not be trusted to make up my own rules. Now, I know that with God’s help, I can totally keep going. And sometimes, I will eat cookies. Only now, I know when to stop and by God’s grace I know that I can.
Matt shared about his struggle with addiction here and I just shared mine.
Has addiction influenced your life? How? And what steps did you take to find freedom in that area?