My wife and I just started a new diet. It was developed by a guy on some morning show with a bunch of doctors on it. Can’t think of the name. Pretty sure it has something doctor-y in the title.
But, honestly, diet isn’t a strong enough word. A “lifestyle change” is what Jamie likes to call it. She’s right. Whenever people ask me what it is, I usually answer “less.” I love eating. I’m 95% sure that’s in my bio on this site. For the entirety of my life, I have eaten essentially whatever I’ve wanted. It’s an unbelievably fun way to live.
The problem is, although I have learned to shovel a decent amount of vegetables into my gullet, I eat way too much. I have a reputation at Jamie’s family gatherings as the “cleaner,” the guy you give your unfinished plate to. There was a time where I wore the moniker with pride.
Now I understand that portion size is vitally important (as told to me by my hips and thighs). That’s the great thing about our lifestyle change: it forces us to eat much smaller, healthier portions of our meals. When we’ve done this before, I always get solid results on the scale and in feeling healthier.
But it also leaves me really, really hungry. It isn’t a feeling that I’m incredibly familiar with. As you might have gathered already, when I’m hungry, I eat till I’m not. Then I usually eat a bit more. Or a lot more. Kind of depends on the day. Feeling hungry is not great. I couldn’t begin to imagine what people who experience real kinds of hunger and starvation.
In my context, this hunger turns out to be a good thing. First, it brings me closer to my wife, Jamie. We both love to eat. We love bread, cheese, sauce, meat, cake, cheese, and…sorry, it’s happening again. Where was I? Oh, yeah: we love to eat. That makes eating less very difficult for us both. To make sure we stay on track, we have to lean on each other and hold each other accountable. We are transparent, stern, and forgiving when one of us has a misstep. We also celebrate when we beat temptation or have particularly clean eating days. It deepens our relationship by teaching us to trust and rely on each other in the uncomfortable or less than joyous times.
Our lifestyle change pushes me to God as well. There are a few levels to this. I learn to respect this body more as a temple. I’m reminded that as I am hungry, Jesus was hungry (significantly more hungry, of course). But, most importantly I think, I’m reminded of my weakness and need for God’s grace.
I live in a world where food is abundantly available to me, I have a home, I have an overabundance of things to fill (read: waste) my time, and I can very easily avoid hardship of almost any kind. When I’m feeling my slight hunger pangs, however, I actually experience some deterioration of my resolve. I can’t just will myself to perfect serenity. I see it as a healthy reminder that, even though I sometimes believe it, I’m not completely self-sufficient. I have a deep need to be near to God, to seek Him and his unending strength, love, and forgiveness.
I hope and pray that this becomes more true for me than I let be. If I don’t consistently believe that I need God then I am doing this whole Christianity thing all wrong. God is all that we need. Jesus died and rose again to make sure that we could have Him. As I try to truly rest in this, I hope you can, too.