Sunday, January 23, 2011

Treating My Unhealthy Eating Like an Addiction

Well, yesterday was my first day back on the path of  treating my unhealthy eating tendencies as an addiction.  That meant that I took my mind and heart off of trying to manage my urge to eat with outside-in techniques and started paying attention to my inside-life, again.  What's going on inside me (in my thoughts and feelings and urges) that's setting me up to pick up that first unhealthy kind of food--the kind that I know after a life-time of trying that I just CAN NOT eat in moderation? 

I'm back to getting down to the roots of why I can be so desperately willing to stop eating in unhealthy ways one hour and the next hour throw it all out the window for just one more chance to indulge in some kind of food that I find "delicious to the taste and very desirable."  Those words just give me the heebee-geebees when I say them. 

"and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted."  That's how Lehi describes the fruit of the tree of life or the "love of God." (See 1 Nephi 8:11.)

I think it is so interesting (at least for me personally) that the "love of God" and the "word of God" are compared with "sweet" and with "bread" -- which are my two personal biggest forms of addictive and compulsive eating.  And it is equally interesting to me that when I turn back to God, I find both love (assurance, comfort) and guidance (counsel, inspiration) and I feel filled, satisfied, fed, nurtured.

Last night before I went to bed, I spent about a 1/2 hour reading and journaling about the insights I gleaned from the first paragraph of "Bill's Story" in the Alcoholics Anonymous "Big Book."  I was stunned and so fed by the sweet and the bread that unfolded to me as I opened myself to the personal application of his story. 

Turning back to the first book ever written for treating addiction from a spiritual (inside-out) point-of-view is, for me, humbling myself and admitting that my unhealthy eating is NOT something I can just manage (chart and goal-set) my way out of.  It is humbling myself and admitting that I have an "addictive relationship" with certain foods.  Oh, I can "white-knuckle" control them for awhile, but unless God removes the tendency (disposition, inclination, temptation) from me so that I feel nothing for them--sooner or later, when my guard is down, I'll lose "my cool," my resolve, my whatever . . . sanity? .  . . and start behaving in a crazy, out-of-control way around those substances/foods.

Thanks for letting me share . . .

©2010 Colleen C. Harrison

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Another Trip Around the "Mulberry Bush"

Wow!  What a trip around the proverbial “mulberry bush” the last couple of months have been for me.  I haven’t been back here to this blog because right after I started it and made my first couple of posts, I got caught up in yet one more vain attempt to manage my eating of unhealthy carbohydrate foods.  That, for me, is the EXACT equivalent of an alcoholic trying to manage his alcohol consumption.

I think the phrase “vain attempt” fits really well for me, too.  Why?  Because it is so plain to me that it is vanity on my part to keep trying to manage my life.  In the Book of Mormon, there is a really diabolical character named Korihor who was an “anti-Christ” or in other words an “anti-Savior” person.  He taught the people that we prosper in this life, not through Divine intervention, but by our own “management of the creature,” and our own “genius” and “strength.” (See Alma 30:17.)
Being a child of the modern age (since the 1950s), I’ve grown up with those very ways of thinking and believing riveted upon my hearts by the teachings of secular science.  According to that way of thinking, there is no source of divine guidance or power.  Mankind as a whole and each of us as individuals have to do the best we can to prosper in this life by management of our behaviors, by our own brains, our own IQ, and by our own strength.  It’s all about us and our abilities because there simply isn’t anything or anyone greater than us and our own management, genius and strength to turn to.  There is no power greater than ourselves and we evolved from apes.  We are the highest, most intelligent life form on earth and even in the heavens, as far as we can observe.  There’s no one “out there,” there’s nothing going on that is the slightest bit personal or interested in us.  We’re on our own.  There is no such thing as a “God.”
And then there are the people that believe there is a God, but that He put us here in this life to prove that we can be independent and prove ourselves worthy . . . and that He expects us to do that on our own, without any help from Him until we’ve shown Him what we can do without help from Him.  Only then will He get involved in our lives to save us–only after all that we can do.   These people believe that the instructions to do many good works “of our own free-will and choice,” somehow translates into doing these good works by our own management, genius, and strength, too.  This is the kind of person I was like for years.  I believed in God in exactly those terms.  That’s how I saw His character and personality.  He put me (all of us) here and then stood back and gave us the smallest amount of help possible so we could demonstrate what we could do on our own, without Him.  I know.  I know.  I already said that.  But you know what?  It bears repeating, because it is one of the most “anti-Savior” ways of believing and thinking that a person could ever blunder into (with a lot of help from the adversary, Satan, who is doing all he can to convince us that God either doesn’t exist at all–or better yet, to convince us that God does exist but has veiled us, taken away our memory of eternity, and left us on our own in this lost and fallen situation of mortality.)
Anyway, I went back to trying to believe that I needed to pay close attention to my behavior around food and eating and keep track and make it a predominant subject of my time and attention–manage it–and that maybe this time (shored up by loved ones that were doing the same program), managing my “creature” would be the answer.  After all, a lot of people that I love and admire were doing it and it seemed to be working for them.  Surely, with their fellowship and a clever new way of keeping track of myself (my creature), I could lean on the “arm of flesh,” (the power of mortal sources of management, genius and strength) and triumph over this weakness.  Never mind that God has told me plainly that He gave me my weakness in order that I might be humbled (not puffed up by my own triumph over it), and come unto Him so that He could make my weakness become a strength unto me. (See Ether 12:27.)
Well, two months of trying that way of dealing with my unhealthy eating inclinations has done nothing for me at all weight loss wise.  True, I haven’t gained anything in the two months, but then I haven’t gained anything in the last several years.  What it didn’t do was help me stop eating those substances that are addictive to me (grains and sugars) or help me stop eating compulsively (compelled or driven to in order to distract myself from the many fears and sorrow and disappointment and other negative feelings that the adversary, Satan, is always trying to tempt me into.) 
So, anyway, here I am again–back at the only option or way of dealing with my unhealthy eating (kinds and quantities) that has ever worked for me–thinking of it as an addiction or in other words, as something that only God can deliver me from.  Only by relying wholly (not just in part to help me, but totally to carry me) upon Him to bless me with the power (grace) of God (of Christ, my Savior) to go through my days delivered from my enemies–my compulsive and addictive eating tendencies and the negative thoughts and feelings that Satan uses to get me abandon God and rely on my own management, genius and strength. 
Satan is a Liar and his tactics haven't changed since the beginning with our first parents.  Think about it.  He used those same lies on them:  don't trust God, take your salvation into your own hands, rely on your own management of the situation, and your own genius, etc.  And to take it yet one step further at least in my ability to relate to his tactics, I find it so interesting that he used the same tactic then to get them to ignore and abandon the counsel and companionship of God–he got them to lust after something “delicious to the taste.”  Boy, do I relate with that form of lust. It's exactly what kicks in when I start thinking of the foods I just want a little bit of.  Just one bite.  Just one more time. . . .

No matter how hard I try to ignore it--this eating thing is a VERY spiritually significant symbolism in my life--and only a spiritual solution deals with the desire/disposition/inclination to do myself "evil." (See Mosiah 5:2.)

©2010 Colleen C. Harrison