Food File: September 29 2018

Target Audience: Christians

There is a reason why I list “Christians” as my target audience and not overweight Christians, obese Christians or other kinds of unhealthy people. The reason is that it isn’t just overweight or obese Christians who are unhealthy and do not honor God with their food. In many ways, church leaders are enablers and facilitators with respect to dishonoring God with food and beverages. This blog post will not change the overwhelming majority of churches in North America in particular that serve high sugar, high fat, high sodium snacks and desserts to their members. Perhaps more appalling is they blithely comply with a culture of addiction to these cardiac killing desserts. Now I am aware that very few teenagers collapse with heart attacks or strokes due to too many desserts or too much sugary soda. That being said, it is standard fare at most churches. A case in point is The Meeting House in Oakville, Ontario, the church I happen to attend. It is an awesome church and I love the ministry team and the teaching of the church. During the month of September, though, they greeted people coming into the building with large baskets of Timbits (small donut holes of various varieties). They were ubiquitous throughout the building each Sunday. I managed to avoid them every Sunday but the first one. My point is that we need to find other ways to celebrate than food. Perhaps they could have given everyone a pen with the name of the church on it, or some other non-food item. Is it wrong to celebrate with food? Not at all. I think as our society is among the unhealthiest in the world, though, we might rethink the kind of food we use to celebrate. More and more people are celebrating with creative fruit platters and veggie platters. In my mind, it doesn’t sound as appealing as Timbits or chocolate cake, but I am still almost 200 pounds overweight, so I wouldn’t put my weight into what I think.

As far as my weight loss is concerned, things have been going fairly well. I went to Weight Watchers today (about to be rebranded Wellness that Works) and was up .8 of a pound. That happens. This past week has been difficult, but not totally unmanageable. Last Saturday night my family took me out to a restaurant for my birthday dinner. While I enjoyed the salmon dinner, which should have been a low point dinner, restaurants are notorious for hiding things like sodium, fat and other additives that can turn a seemingly healthy meal into one that is not. Then last night I met with some of my university buddies. We go out to a pub two or three times a year. I don’t drink but a couple of the others like their beer or ale. Anyway, I had treated myself to a steak dinner before I left home but found myself curiously hungry when I got to the restaurant and saw a salad that one of my friends had ordered. I ordered the same salad and it was good, but I wasn’t aware of the Ramen noodles in it, or the amount of oil they used as dressing. Everything else about the salad was good and healthy. Had I asked for dressing on the side and for them to leave out the Ramen noodles I might have been fine. 

This journey is more than just shedding 200 pounds, although that is a main motivator for me. It is about adopting a permanent lifestyle change of healthy eating, exercise and a mindset that shatters the connection between food and emotion. Dr Phil McGraw, a noted psychologist, commented in his book on weight loss that until you divorce your emotions from your eating you will never be truly successful. I will freely admit that I am an emotional eater. I have been ever since childhood when my parents medicated my moods with food. If I was unhappy, it was time for cookies. If I was celebrating something, cake or pie, if I lost a job and was feeling like a failure, a dish of ice cream would pick me up. It isn’t my parent’s fault, by the way. Long after their influence ended, I carried on this tradition in my own life, when I lived independently. If I was feeling apathetic, then tortilla chips, salsa, and sour cream would be an easy “meal” or two or perhaps even three. If I didn’t feel like cooking and just wanted to veg in front of my computer, a frozen pizza was on the menu for lunch or supper. 

This journey is also about how I feel. I have noticed over the past couple of weeks that I am walking easier. Yesterday and today I left my apartment without my walker for the first time in a long time. Now the walker is an excellent “cart” when I have 30 pounds of groceries to haul up to my apartment from my car, but when I am not going shopping I have now started leaving the walker in the apartment because I don’t need it. 

My goal for this coming week is to try a couple of new meals and to move more. The weather is getting cooler and it is easier for me to walk, which is precisely what I need to be doing. The Canadian Thanksgiving is next weekend and while I have opted not to join my family (a 2 hour drive each way) for their meal, I will be celebrating with one of my university buddies and his wife and friends at their condo. The goal: honor God with my food.

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