Monday, June 13, 2011

Made To Crave Monday - Chapter 16

Oh, the diet trap(s). I think I've visited them all. The lemonade diet, the Atkins Diet, the Paleo Diet, the Daniel Fast (not for fasting but for the sake of losing weight...big difference), Herbal Life name it, I've most likely tried it. So, this chapter was a necessity for me! Can you relate? Well, let's jump in then!

Discussion questions for Chapter 16 of Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst

1. Have you ever been lured in by the promises of an infomercial or fad diet? What was it about the diet that appealed to you most? Did it guarantee quick results? Promise you could eat whatever you wanted and still lose weight? What about it made you think, 'Maybe, just maybe this one is a sure thing'? How did you feel when it didn't deliver as promised or you gained back the weight you'd lost?
Jill's answer: Oh, yes, I've been lured in by the promises of an informercial or fad diet! Let me count the ways...ha ha! I think the ones that have appealed most to me are ones that I've seen friends have success on. Seeing their results made me certain it would work for me, too. Sometimes it did, sometimes it didn't. But, in the long run, when I've gone off the plan, I've always wound up gaining back the weight. This has made me realize that eating healthy and exercising simply have to be part of my life, not a short term diet or restriction (unless I'm fasting and growing closer to God).

2. Lysa describes her experiences of diets as sacrificing for a season and then regaining the weight when she gets tired of sacrificing. Instead, she says she is now "on a journey with Jesus to learn the fine art of self-discipline for the purpose of holiness". What do you think about this distinction between diets and a journey with Jesus? How might your decisions about food and healthy eating change if you could really see them as part of a spiritual journey rather than a diet? Is this an idea that feels possible for you or unrealistic? Why?
Jill's answer: I guess I like to think of my whole life as a journey with Jesus and learning self control and healthy habits are just one part of that journey. I do think changing my mindset to view my entire relationship with food as something to submit to Jesus on a daily basis just as I would any struggle in life is way bettter than choosing to follow a rigid eating plan for a specific amount of time without dealing with the issues behind my struggle with food and weight. In these cases I usually start splurging as soon as the specific time is up (or even before at times). So, a day by day, step by step journey is probably a much more realistic approach to eating for me. It's hard though, because I'm a very impulsive person and prone to deciding to start some new plan, diet, or fad at the drop of a hat. Self control is key in this area for me, I believe!

3. "God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (1 Cor 10:13). This is a promise with which many of us who grew up in church are very familiar, maybe too familiar. Do you believe, and really believe way down deep, that this promise applies to you and your temptations with food? For Lysa God's "way out" is to plan in advance what she will eat. How hard is it for you to look for a way out when temptation catches you off guard?
Jill's answer: My head believes it, but I don't know if my heart truly does. Well, I guess it obviously doesn't or I wouldn't find myself typing these repsonses today at almost 45 pounds overweight!! Planning ahead is a really good tool and a perfect "way out" from temptation. My biggest struggle seems to be when the food is planned by someone else. Sometimes I see that as carte blanche to eat whatever I want. Sometimes a treat is OK, sometimes I go overboard. The goal here is to learn to make every bite count and enjoy treats on a much more infrequent basis. Then, looking for a way out when temptation catches me off guard is necessary, too. It can be hard, but it will be crucial if I'm going to make lifelong changes.

4. "Idolatry, in the case of food, means the consumption of ill-sized portions and unhealthy choices because we feel like we deserve it or need it to feel better". Do you agree with this definition? If so, what was the last time you committed idolatry with food? What prompted you to do so? If not, do you believe it is possible to make an idol out of food? why or why not?
Jill's answer: I'm not sure about that for a definition of idolatry. Maybe for gluttony? However, I do believe anything you put before God in your life IS an idol, so maybe in the case of food this definition could work. I have just committed this form of "idolatry" yesterday. I decided to "treat" myself, because I had been so diligent with my food elimination eating plan, with ice cream at Baskin Robbins with Alyssa (my five year old) and some friends. The only problem was that I not only gave myself "permission" to eat my scoop, but also at least half of Alyssa's scoop that she didn't finish! It seems that when I start down this path of flawed thinking it SO quickly snowballs into a full-fledged BINGE! Yikes. I need to be able to have a more balanced approach to all foods, including ice cream.

5. There are two elephants in the room when Lysa talks about feelings of deserving certain foods or needing a treat to get by:
~ Elephant 1: "It's my party and I'll eat cake if I want to. Don't tell me I have to give up all treats for all time."
~ Elephant 2: "I don't think this sounds like a spiritual journey. I think this sounds like a legalistic approach to eating."
With which elephant do you most resonate? Do you feel you can eat treats as you usually do and still make healthy choices? Do you resist the idea that your battle with food can become a liberating spiritual jouney? What past experiences inform your views?
Jill's answer: I definitely resonate with Elephant 1. "Deserving" a treat is such a way of thinking for me. I "deserve" it because I've been working so hard, because it's my birthday, because I haven't had one in a while, because it's Monday, whatever! Having a treat isn't a bad thing, it's the frequency that gets me into trouble and also failing to make healthy choices in other areas of eating and exercise. Learning to have balance when it comes to these choices is the goal because it is something I'll need to maintain for a lifetime, not just a few days, weeks, or months. So, yes, I strongly believe that my battle with food can become a liberating spiritual journey, just like any area of temptation can. Every day, every decision can take me closer to trusting God to help me overcome the grasp food has on my life!

What do you think? Please comment with your answers to this week's discussion questions so we can keep the conversation going!

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