Current Happenings

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Normality and Temperance

I did a bit of talking the other day about how I would like to eat like a "normal" person. Personally, I don't mind using the word "normal", though I tend to put it in quotes to show that the term doesn't exactly stand on it's own. Norms are very changeable, and everyone seems to have a different idea of what normal is. For me, eating normally is eating with temperance.




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tem·per·ance

2 a: habitual moderation in the indulgence of the appetites or passion
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There are some areas of my life where I live it up and enjoy the overflowing abundance. The love that I have for my husband and my daughter is an area where my cup runs over. I strive to be as stuffed full of joy and happiness as a person can hold. I don't think that any of that means that I need to have a plate that is overflowing or a reasonably sized dress straining at it's seams.

For myself, I'd like to be always completely full to bursting with the Holy Spirit, and immersed in God's presence. It's just gluttony to try that same thing with soda pop, pudding, and Girl Scout cookies though. That's not "normal" for me, because it is not living up to the standard that God has set. I couldn't give a rat's naked tail for what society has to say, because other people's opinions don't mean much to me in general. We're all dysfunctional, and that dysfunction seems to be exponentially multiplied when people congregate. So, the only voice that I tend to listen to is that of God. He has said quite a bit about how we should live.

My "normal" lives right there, and happens to be written all over my heart. I know what is good for my body, and how to be kind to me. I know that I should treat my body as the temple that it is, instead of cramming it full of garbage. I get a smile out of reading about the Proverbs 31, particularly where it says,"She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. " It gives me a little giggle because a couple of my family members have some inane fear that I will have arms that are "too" strong and "manly". I just laugh because it seems as though they haven't bothered looking at me. There isn't one inch of me that looks anything less than womanly. I'll never be "manly", regardless of how well sculpted my arms may become. It's all just ridiculous.

For me, normal isn't about what everyone else is doing. It is about what God says is good for us, and where I should be working to be. I am far from perfect, as is every other human being, so I'm going to make my mistakes and skin my knees. Since there are very few things that I can "overindulge" in without hurting myself, I am trying to live a temperate lifestyle. I want to cram in all of the good, and stick to a few nibbles of these things in life that can make me unhappy and unhealthy. I'm honest enough to admit that I am a glutton when it comes to many different types of things, and my eating habits are probably the most innocuous. However, my Father in heaven has big enough hands to pick me up, dust me off, and show me how to live better. He's doing the heavy lifting, so I can't take any credit for leaving behind a myriad of destructive and harmful habits. It feels good to be free of them though. Now, this food thing is top on my priority list, and I want HIS normal, God's standard.

I was talking with my husband about all of this stuff, and my past endeavors to live a healthier life. I wouldn't say that I am a yo-yo dieter, but I've lost and gained some substantial weight over the past few years. Fear and sadness are not my buddies, so I do real well until something happens, and then I just curl up into a survival mode. Unfortunately, that has meant eating whatever was easily and readily available... which hasn't done me much good. It's hard to come up with any real "umph" though, when it feels like your heart is outside your body, just a bleeding mass of flesh. My first attempt at regaining my health was sabotaged by my own bad coping skills when Grandma died. I didn't deal with my own sadness very well, and it was horrific to try and help DH through what felt like the death of his mother. His grandma did so much for him. Once we got our feet under us after that, then I dropped weight again, until I became pregnant with Ezzie. I didn't gain much weight at all while pregnant, but packed it on after we had to bury our little boy. At that point, I was so filled with self-hatred that I struggled to even care if I lived at all. Easy foods again became the call for the day, since I was a walking zombie for a long time.

I shared with DH that with all of this up and down, I am afraid that I will never just settle into a more regular and normal relationship with weight and food. I almost feel like I'm going to have a panic attack if I try to eat foods without knowing all of the numbers and measures. It's not that I'm really afraid of the food, but that I have no confidence that I know how to feed myself, because I've lived so long with disordered eating. When I was a teenager, I hardly ate. I didn't want to gain weight and have my boyfriend find me unattractive. When I did eat, I was terribly hungry and probably ate too much during those short times, which I then felt ashamed by. In my late teens, I became pregnant, and then I learned about how absolutely insane my body is when making babies. Wow. I learned to nibble constantly because it was the only way that I though I could make it through a day without crawling, vomitting, and fainting. When I was pregnant with my daughter, it was bedrest for months, and whatever was easiest for my husband to cook or leave next to my bed. It wasn't until I hit my mid 20's that I started learning about nutrition and fighting to shake off the extra weight.

I'm coming up on my 29th birthday, and I'm very aware that I've spent a solid decade trying to get back into good health. My child-bearing days are certainly behind me, and I'm looking into setting that decision into stone via some visits with a good doctor. I don't want to chance getting pregnant again, and having to try and bounce back from the awful things that it does to my body. (Don't get me wrong. I love kids and see them as blessings. I've just burried two of my children, and that is enough. ) DH says that he can help me monitor my portions, while I'm trying to *not* measure my foods as much. He knows how nervous and unsure I am, and he has promised to help me as best he can through this difficult journey. It's not all about being a certain size, or even a certain shape. I'm alright with how I am, whether I'm at this weight or whether I get down closer to where I think my "goal" might be. I would love for this food thing to be in the background though, so I can put more thought and effort into other things. I also don't want to teach my daughter to be nutty with food. I already get to bear the burden for some of her bad habits, since the poor kid acts just like me. *wink*

Aw, well, I guess it's time for me to exercise some temperance with my computer time. *chuckles* That habit is going to be hard to tackle too, but I'm sure that it will get easier as the weather gets nicer. I'm determined to spend so much time having fun outside that I no longer look see-through. I'll be so much prettier with a little golden tan, since my skin has a slight olive tint to it. The sun offers a much better glow than my computer monitor.

See you later!

3 comments:

Me, Only Better said...

I am sorry that you have had to endure so much loss in the last few years. ((Hugs)) to you.

I understand the desire to be "normal" - not sure what that is yet for me, but I am striving to have good health habits that will see me thru the rest of my life!

♥ Dee ♥ said...

Ha! Don't even get me STARTED about "normal".

Kud said...

you have had to go through a lot with your losses and tragedy and I'm sorry for it. Normalcy is the emotions you and I both have when we look at a morsel of food and estimate the caloric values of it. Unfortunately, too many people have food issues and choose the easy way out rather than going with their intuition and nourishing their body. So let's embrace Abnormal and be super healthy with our approaches to food, health, life and love. Haha ditto to the computer thing. We need to find lives beyond the internet haha...or at least cut back?