I thought it was about time to update you on my recovery from overeating. I’ve learned some interesting things since the last posting, and I thought you might get some encouragement in my sharing them. There have been some real benefits to approaching the process as (1) a recovery, and (2) a lifestyle change.
The media has done a fair job of introducing America to the idea of 12-step recovery. Though the vast majority of media focuses on chemical dependency recovery, there have been shows about gambling and sexual addiction recovery. It turns out that human beings are all broken and have their failures. The truth about 12-steps is that it works on a broad spectrum addictions and compulsive behaviors. For my recovery, I am using a Christ-centered 12-step program.
Christ-centered 12-step programs eliminate the amorphous “god of your understanding” or “god as you man know him”. God is the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. You get the benefit of knowing God, as opposed to having to work the steps and fabricate a god”. The Bible gives a clear understanding of Who, in steps 2 and 3, you get your power from and turn your life and will over to. It is then that you can actually receive the power to recover from an actual Deity, rather than leaning on one created from your own flesh. Paul’s writing clarifies the benefits of receiving God’s help.
Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.
My overeating was treating His temple with insufficient respect because of the sin of gluttony. It’s very hard to admit it, but painful honesty is a necessity in any recovery process. If I were to continue to lie to myself, I would not have made the progress that I have. But with God’s help, I have made progress.
Before I give you the progress report, I want to mention another aspect of recovery that has been very beneficial. I have the best accountability partner ever – my wife. Charlene and I have talked for years about doing something about our weight and health. On October 24th, she came to me with a book on the Paleo Diet, and she said she wanted to give it a dedicated effort. As we talked about that particular diet, we came to some realizations that are worth sharing with you.
The Paleo, like the T-Factor and the Atkins diets, require the “dieter” to remove foods that are part of the body’s metabolic equation. The broken nutritional equation creates a barrier to metabolizing fats or carbohydrates, essentially starving the body of these nutrients. What is unhealthy about these diets is that their deprivation short-circuits natural digestive processes, robs the body of nutrition, and causes serious side-effects.
I have struggled on Atkins, and suffered some dietary repercussions. If you have any inclination toward depression, Atkins seriously amplifies the chemistry that causes depression. It also is very high-protein, so it will damage the kidneys with any long-term commitment to the program. Atkins is not easy to digest, and the lack of carbohydrate saps your energy.
The Paleo diet that Charlene and I entertained had strong similarities to the Atkins diet, and seemed to me to be chemically about the same. T-factor, which I tried in the 90’s, always left me hungry even right after eating due to its lack of fat (20 grams… really?!?). The failures led to a very simple truth. “Diets” always fall short, and the resulting weight loss is short-lived. We needed a real lifestyle change.
Calorie and portion control was the answer that we found. We’re now in a phase of substantial and sustainable weight-loss. Our calorie count is 1500 per day, spend them however we choose to. We’ve learned to make our calories count, just like we were budgeting money. The only difference is that we can’t borrow or lend from one day to the next. We can eat whatever foods we want. We just try diligently not to exceed the 1500 calories. Here is a sample day:
1-cup of Weight Watchers cereal and 1/2 cup of almond milk – 150 cal
1-cup of light yogurt – 120 cal
Ham fold-over on wheat w/ light mayo and an apple – 150 cal
Banana & pack of cut carrots – 120 cal
4 oz baked pork chop, 2-cups baked cauliflower, 1 slice wheat bread w/ Land o Lakes Olive Oil Butter – 330 cal
1 cup Edy’s No Sugar Added (Splenda) Slow-churned ice cream – 180 cal
1050 calories. You get 450 more, do what you will.
Quality of food has been very important in our recovery. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to stay away from what I call “fake food”. Processed food was low quality food, then some company chopped it up, added tons of salt and sugar, and formed it into a man-made product that makes your tongue happy and your body under-nourished. I shop around the edges of the grocery store in the produce, fresh meat and dairy sections.
Finally, I want to emphasize that the framework and network of recovery has been important as well. It has trained us to (Step 2) believe that a power greater than ourselves can return us to sanity. Examining the triggers of overeating and eliminating or resolving them is crucial to maintaining successful weight loss. Recovery is also a lifelong lifestyle proactively dealing with a lifelong condition, so long-term success is much more likely.
Charlene and I crossed the 60-day mark on Christmas day. I’ve lost 31 lbs, and she has lost 17. Sorry ladies, but it seems it is just a slower process for you to lose weight. Take heart, though, because it works if you work it. Praise God for His blessings in this process. We’ll be praying for those who may read this article and become encouraged to turn their health and nutrition over to God and let Him take away what we all struggle with. He knows us better than we can know ourselves, and He is always there to love us as we lean on Him.
Psalm 139:13-18 (NLT)
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!