Recently, I’ve noticed a pattern in my behavior. I get up in the morning, read my Bible and exercise, and then I eat a healthy breakfast. I eat a decent lunch. I track all of this food and will be well within my calorie range for the day and feel good about my choices.
Then the afternoon comes.
I think about food all afternoon. I don’t know if it’s because I am sitting at my desk answering phones and don’t have much else to occupy my mind or what, but it’s like once I am done with lunch, I can’t stop thinking about what I will eat next. I usually bring a snack with me for the afternoon, and so all I can think about is that snack. Most days I have to tell myself I won’t eat the snack until 2:30 or 3:00 or until I’ve completed a task I’m working on. And then I look at the clock constantly until that time comes. Some days I am strong and don’t even eat the snack unless I am really and truly hungry. But other days–and every day recently–I eat the snack. It’s not so bad if all I have brought with me is a 120 calorie fiber bar, but right now I have a bag of animal crackers in my desk, and buying those was definitely a mistake. Instead of portioning them out, I find myself just reaching into the bag intermittently throughout the afternoon. If I’m not eating them, I’m thinking about them sitting there in that drawer. Yesterday, the Girl Scout cookies I ordered from a coworker came in, and all afternoon it was as if they were literally calling my name. I ate two of the Tagalongs, which was a serving, but it took every ounce of mental tenacity I possessed not to eat more. I was so relieved when 5 p.m. came and I could go home and eat dinner. But then I ended up eating much more than I should have, and I felt guilty for a good chunk of the evening.
I know that part of the solution is to only bring to work a snack that I have pre-portioned, so I won’t be able to eat more than that. I am so thankful there is not a vending machine at work because I know it would be so much harder to avoid. But I also know that controlling the size of my snack is only part of the problem. I get derailed at other times besides just the afternoon, like on the weekends or after dinner.
For a while, I felt as though I had my eating issues under control. Like I told my husband, I kept thinking to myself, “I’ve lost a lot of weight, so I must be doing okay, right?” Lately, however, it’s clear to me that I have not fully confronted this issue but have only stuffed it away. I am obsessed with food, and I don’t know how not to be. I have found myself having thoughts about sneaking food, which is something I used to do all the time but have not done in a while, and I can’t help but wonder if this struggle is the reason my weight loss has slowed so much. I can exercise all I want–run a half marathon, even–but if I eat so much that I negate those burned calories, I’m only harming myself and my efforts.
The truth is because I have lost so much weight, I have become complacent, and for many months I have not truly turned to the Lord for help in this area, and it’s clear that I need help. I have been making too much out of food, giving food too much power over me. I need to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ, so that I serve Him and not my flesh. I need to “taste and see that the Lord is good” and know that He alone satisfies all my desires.
Do you struggle with an obsession with food? How do you fight it?