Eating to live

Photo by j_bary
Photo by j_bary

My wife took the day off today, so in a few minutes we’re heading out for a longer ride—maybe 20+ miles, depending on how much time we have.  I’m looking forward to it, because it’s a beautiful day, sunny and warm, but not too warm.  There’ll be a fairly stiff breeze, but I think we’ll have a great time.

I weighed in this morning at somewhere between 236 and 237 (our scale’s margin of error is probably about 2 or 3 pounds, so who knows?).  But that’s the least I’ve weighed in perhaps as much as 20 years.  I’m still not entirely sure how I’ve managed to lose 66 pounds in the last five months—it’s definitely “a God thing”—but I believe I may also be seeing the evidence of a fairly radical change in my attitudes toward food.

The other evening I was a bit hungry by around 9:00pm, and my first thought was to go get a bowl of cereal or something.  My very next thought was, “an apple would be better for me.”  That’s when it struck me that something was changing.  You have to understand that I was a person whose idea of a great lunch for many years was two double cheeseburgers, fries, and two apple pies at MacDonald’s. I didn’t always eat that way, but I did it often enough to blow up to over 300 pounds over the years.

I loved to eat stuff that tasted good to me, and most of it involved fried stuff and bread.  I loved a fried, glazed donut (or three, or four).  I loved pizza, and I ate whole pizzas in one sitting.  I loved the occasional big breakfast of eggs, sausage or bacon (or both), pancakes slathered with butter and drenched in syrup.  Fast food was my staple.  It would not be unfair to say that at times I lived to eat, or that eating was meeting some kind of psychological or emotional need that I had.

One of our pastors, who is also dieting and losing weight, happened to casually mention in a sermon one day recently that he was learning how to eat to live, rather than living to eat.  I had heard that phrase before, but this time I understood what that meant.  When I elected to have the apple because it was better for me than the bowl of cereal, I was eating to live.  I was hungry, and my body wanted food, but I made the decision to give my body what it needed–a healthy piece of fruit—rather than what I craved (a bowl of sweetened cereal).

More and more since that little “epiphany” I have found myself making decisions about what to eat based on what would be good for my body, not what would taste good in the moment.  I’m eating because my body needs certain nourishment, not because I want to taste something good.  (If it tastes good AND is good for me, that’s all the better!)

This attitude, I think, will be the factor that helps me continue losing weight until I reach my goal (and I’m still a long way from it, but I’m 66 pounds closer than I was in May).

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One thought on “Eating to live

  1. This is a huge breakthrough, Doug! I’m happy for you and believe that because of this shift in thinking, you’ve got many great years ahead of you — WE’VE got many great years ahead of us!

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