When I gave up aspartame–the artificial flavoring that makes diet sodas taste so good–it was as if I had taken the lid off of Pandora’s Box…out came reality! I discovered that I had never dealt with an “issue” of mine…even through the year of steady weight release and the subsequent year of maintaining my new weight. I had a “thing” –a BIG THING– for sweets!
By the time I finally obeyed the Lord in this, I could guzzle down a 12-pack of diet cherry Pepsi easily in a day. And come up for air only to look around for more!
So, when I finally responded to God asking me to release this to him, I found myself rebounding back toward sweet foods…and realized that I had to do something…and fast!…or I would gain weight in a hurry! Not only that, but I could see that this was an area of BIG bondage for me! I was in captivity!
This, in a nutshell is where the idea to fast sweets for a short season came from.
In retrospect,this had a good affect…but also there has been a detriment. I am trying to figure it out now. While I was fasting sweets for about 10 days, I was at peace. I didn’t feel deprived or ripped off. It was wonderful. Of course, I knew the fast would end and I would then, I assumed, be “normal.” HA!
After the fast ended, I went bonkers. Nuts. Insane. Inhaling sweet foods like there was no tomorrow.
Ok…I have to get a hold of myself again. Lord? What do you want? Moderation in all things, right?
Yet this struggle has continued. A little stress entered my life yesterday and I found myself going nuclear in the kitchen finding all manner of holiday treats to toss in my mouth (not to mention that Michaela has been baking up a storm! EEEK! Someone SAVE ME!).
I know that nothing is wrong with sweet foods. I know that all things are permissible, but for me, there is a problem.
Thing is, yesterday, I found myself back into a dieting mentality mode that I hadn’t experienced in a LONG time. I was thinking of sweet foods as “bad” again…and given how I am prone to be a rebel…that was all I needed to want them all the more.
I know this isn’t what God wants. As my accountability partner said, I seemed to be at peace so much during the 10 days I didn’t have any sweet foods. I would like to be at peace with moderation of all things in my life. I would like to not have to make things “taboo” in order to manage them.
I have been debating about whether to fast sweet foods again or not…and to extend that fast longer…or not…and I must admit…after what I have seen as a shift in my thinking over the past few days, I fear doing that! I know the Lord will lead me…but this is ridiculous! When I first began walking this path faithfully in November of 2006, I didn’t feel this way about sweet foods. I could handle them in moderation. It was not a big deal. So what has happened? Well, eliminating diet sodas has! And presto! I am in kindergarten again!
The lesson in The Lord’s Table workbook this morning reminded me that food and drink are designed by God to point to Christ. Colossians 2:13-17 is the text used.
When I think about this…it is profound. My fixation, my desire, my longing for sweet foods…if I consider the sweet foods as only a shadow and Christ the reality, then all that I look to cookies, candy, ice cream (gosh, this is embarassing…you would think I could grow up!) to do for me…Christ is the reality. Those foods are merely shadows.
So when the stress hit me yesterday, I was feasting on shadows…trying somehow to quell the tide of fear and anxiety. Yet the fear and anxiety and stress remained…well, of course! I was feasting on the shadow. Scriptures SAY that JESUS is the reality. Had I turned to HIM with such eagerness, HE would have whispered “Peace be still” to the storm and totally satisfied my heart which was in an uproar.
If I longed for CHRIST as I long for sweet foods, if I ran to HIM as I have been running to sweet foods…I would experience the reality satisfying my yearning, rather than the shadow only making my longing so much greater.
If food and drink are shadows of Christ, why be consumed with the shadow? Why not enjoy the reality that they respresent? (TLT, p. 154)
After my naturopath first suspected I had candida, but before my test results returned, I followed the anticandida diet, which restricts all sweetners except stevia, all fruits, plus other foods I already avoid because of my food allergies (dairy, gluten containing grains, soy, etc.). I didn’t completely abstain from fruit … I had one serving at breakfast with gluten free cereal, but I did abstain from other sweets and used stevia to sweeten tea. I didn’t like the brand of stevia I used, so I drank mostly water, usually filtered water from our local Puget Consumers Coop (organic, health food store). After 3 weeks of that candida diet I lost 4 pounds (which I didn’t need to lose) and was sooo glad to get my test results which said I really had normal levels of candida, but also a cane sugar allergy, which explained why I got 48 hour tachycardia (which felt like a panic reaction) every time I had even a speck of cane sugar. Nevertheless, I learned during those 3 weeks to appreciate more subtle sweet tastes of fruit, some vegies like brocolli and brussel sprouts, and even gluten free grain cereals. (My husband thinks brocolli and brussel sprouts taste only sour and bitter.)Eventually I returned to eating lots more fruit and even drinking nutrasweet flavored 7up occasionally, but not nearly as much as I previously had. I still love PCC’s filtered water, but more so in the summertime. I drink hot water in the wintertime. Overall the candida diet taught me to appreciate nonsweet flavors.However, after an improved test indicated that my +1 level of candida was high enough to treat, I refused to follow a very restrictive candida diet again. Instead I took Nystatin (antifungal) for almost 3 months to kill the candida. I abstained from most foods containing my safe sweetners like honey, agave, maple sugar and just used stevia. However I ate fruit freely (2-3 servings daily) and didn’t follow other anticandida diet rules. I thought I had ENOUGH restrictions with 7 food allergies and restricting sweets while I took Nystatin to kill candida. After the course of Nystatin, I had a few rebound binges on sweets (average once a month), often enough to convince me that I never want to unnecessarily restrict myself again. I normally like all the tastes, sweet, sour, salty and bitter, but when I restrict sweets for long periods, I desire them so much more than normal, until I convince myself that I won’t restrict myself again. During this Christmas season, I ate a moderate serving of something really sweet (like a cooky or ice cream or pancakes with syrup or cranberry bread) at lunch and dinner. I know I can have sweets when I really want them. So I’m back to enjoying salty, sour, bitter foods mediated by a touch of sweetness most of the time, rather than wanting EVERYTHING to taste sweet.
Gosh, Sue. I don’t know how you do it! You are amazing in my book! I may decide not to restrict them again in quite the same way. I know I need boundaries of some sort. I know, too, that the problem isn’t the “rule” not to have sweets. But the “rule” surfaces stuff in my heart that is there already. So I know I have work to do. For me, I don’t want to ignore that and allow sweets freely so I won’t go nuts. I want to understand WHY I tend to go bonkers when I have restricted my intake…especially when I have restricted it and experienced FREEDOM while doing so! It reallly baffles me and I know that God is yet doing another new thing and will help me be healed of something that is brewing within my heart that shouldn’t be there.
Heidi,I can relate to all that you have been sharing. I, too, feel much like a sugar addict. I have never been one to diet or even truly restrict sugars, yet I notice that when I’m in the pattern of allowing sugary foods free reign in my diet I tend to make them my central source of sustenance. I have found it helps when I set goals for my eating… For example, save the desserts for dinner time only. I go up and down with applying this. Right now I’m in the “down” part of the cycle! Once again sugars are too central a part of my diet. Ever since Halloween it seems to have been a slippery slope. I truly do feel mastered by them. I find it near impossible to say “no” to sugary stuff, often eating outside 0-5. I don’t struggle with overeating regular non-sugary foods, so I can see that there is something unique about the struggle I have with eating sugar in moderation. Anyways, all that being said, I am with you in the same boat! I continue looking to the Lord in this and wanting to fill up on Him. I like your analogy of the shadow versus the real thing (Christ). Good point.Love and prayers,Christina 🙂
Thanks, Heidi. I don’t think I’m ‘amazing’, just convinced that years of abstaining from sweets for a month or two and then bingeing on sweets for a day or 2, is not how I want to live. Also TW and other normal eating books reassure me that I can eat all safe (nonallergic) foods in moderation. More than anything I want to eat as normally as I can with 7 food allergies and never again binge (and purge). Nevertheless, you asked a great question about WHY you (me, too) go bonkers when you restrict your intake (of a certain food). I know my self-talk about whatever food I restrict influences how I react to restriction. I EASILY abstained from gluten when I learned it caused my gut pain. I was glad to finally understand what made me miserable after every meal. When I tested for celiac gene and dairy allergy, I really didn’t want to be allergic to dairy, but feared I was and wondered how I would live w/o dairy. So I did an experiment of not consuming any dairy for 3 days and then having a tiny bit of lactose free milk in decaf coffee. I had such a dramatic (waves of cramping pain) reaction to 1/4 cup of milk, that I knew I was allergic before I received my test results 2 days later. So my knowledge that each of my food allergies cause PAIN, bloating and irregularity, makes me gladly abstain from those foods.HOWEVER, I’m not so convinced that sweets (except cane sugar to which I have a diagnosed allergy) are basically bad for my body in modest amounts. I know I chose to follow the anticandida diet, because I had a history of binge/purging sweet foods. I wanted a reason to abstain. I didn’t intend to lose more weight. However, by the time I got a test result that said I should get rid of candida, I had 4 more food allergies (sugar, eggs, vanilla and nutmeg) than I did when I initially tried the anticandida diet. I also remember my rebound sweets (from safe foods)consumption after that first anticandida diet. So I realize my self-talk, not my body, influences how I consume any foods to which I don’t have diagnosed allergies (or experience based evidence of intolerance like sorbitol types of sweetners). Accordingly I’m tracking my self-talk before, during and after meals in my blog. That’s revealing so much about my motivation to overeat or stop eating at satisfaction, as well as what I believe about food choices.
Christina – That is a good idea, for me to perhaps limit how often and relegating dessert to once a day or dinner or…I will have to see if the Lord doesn’t want me to do that, perhaps. Thanks for sharing that with me. I am the same way…I don’t usually struggle with eating outside of 0 – 5 unless is it sweet foods. So I have to do something! God is doing a new thing in us Christina!Sue: Great insight about the self-talk being the focus here…I need to try what you have going on, that of tracking my self-talk. It reminds me of Barb Raveling’s truth journalling, which I love. I just need to be faithful to DO it.
Heidi:I’m really enjoying tracking my mealtime self-talk in my blog at http://healthywithin.blogspot.com Posting after every meal or at least once a day before I forget what I thought at meals helps me learn from my experiences, rather than just develop an overall bad feeling about my eating behavior that day. I usually confess what happened with my eating in my daily letter to God, but tracking those ‘voices’ after every meal is soooo enlightening.I tend to crave sweets after lunch and after dinner, but not after breakfast, because I usually have sweetened cereal or peanut butter and fruit on bread or pancakes with syrup or something sweet for breakfast. I have many sweet food choices which I can enjoy in small amounts. I don’t intend to resolve all my hunger with sweets, just provide a sweet finish to my meal. My sweet desserts include: 1/2 cup caontainers of ice cream (of which I usually eat 1/4 cup); cookies, which I eat about half; Medjool dates (I eat either 1/2 or 1). I seldom bake pies or cakes, because I find those too difficult to consume small portions (except slivers of pumpkin pie, which doesn’t crumble with a thin sliver). I don’t have any satisfying allergy free chocolate. If you don’t have food allergies, you may have many choices for tiny bites of desserts. (I suspect I learned about 2 bite desserts through WD.)
I will be praying for you Heidi as you continue to seek God’s leading. He is teaching you something, bringing you deeper into His presence, a deeper intimate walk. I also believe He is ridding you of ‘things’ that are not of Him. Like He’s ‘cleaning house’, ‘weeding’ out what is not ‘flowering’. When I had my gallbladder attacks two weeks apart, I stopped COLD turkey from junk food (sweets, chips (my downfall), chocolate and ice cream) For one year I obstained. The pain of those attacks (with the first attack I thought was a heart attack and I was dying)WERE not worth having these items. Two years later, I don’t really touch chips. They make my body physcially sick. I may have one or two occasionally, but I have found my body just reacts terribly. As for sweets, God has called me to fast a few times, not just for a few weeks though, but much longer. During these fasts, I believe God was making me stronger, setting me in a deeper level of freedom. These are teachable moments girl. Never be shocked when you see yourself like this, REJOICE because it is through HIM that your freedom comes from and it is by His hand He releases you COMPLETELY…the bigger the attacks, the bigger the blessings girl…keep your eyes on Jesus and not the ‘failures, struggles, etc.’ ((hugs))
You both have so much wisdom and I’m in awe! I, too, fasted from sweets for about 10 days leading up to Christmas…and experienced such joy and freedom, as well. I’ve always, always, always struggled with sweets and Diet Coke! (Sounds familiar, huh?) While reading your posts over the last few weeks, I’ve cut way back on the diet coke. I haven’t binged out on sweets since my fast, but have added them here and there inside of 0 – 5. In the past, when I ate sweets it was hardly ever inside of 0 – 5! (Sigh…)I’m not trying to boast, because i actually don’t feel confident in being able to eat sweets in moderation. I’m a little afraid, does that make sense? While it makes perfect sense to to tell myself nothing is off-limits within 0 – 5…and that’s what I’ve been doing, I’m just anxious about something. Should I just keep asking the Lord what he wants me to learn or do? I, too, am not sure about continuing to fast from sweets because it feels like that would be my little way of putting a “rule” on it to “succeed”…and that’s not right. So, lately I’ve been thinking that I would only eat sweets if they were homemade and only the most absolutely best bites…see where I’m going here? Duh! That’s exactly what the Lord wants me to do….eat whatever I want/crave/need as long as it is within 0 – 5!! Aah…my self talk is on full speed! I’ve gone on too long…just wanted to say I’m here for you and can relate to what you’re going through!Diahn
Hi, Girls. Wow. Your support means so much to me. Thank you so much. I cherish your prayers, certainly. Diahn, I think it is awesome that you have been experiencing that freedom…I tasted that and it was…well..sweet! LOL! I want that again! Freedom not TO have foods, but NOT to have to! I mean, to just choose not to in any given moment, you know? Where the home made from scratch brownies that my daughter made don't demand a thing from me. That I can be "as dead" to it…it has no lure, no call. But I don't need a RULE to have that happen. I keep saying it..>I just wanna be "normal" about food! I want how sweet the Lord is to thrill my heart the way home-made from scratch cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven tend to…my daughter has been experimenting with baking…but I am the mom…i can limit it…duh!Angela, thank you for your prayers, too. I know that I will get through this. I know that if I can persevere and hang in there…I will get to the other side having seen the Lord more intimately. I know it…I just know it! :-)Thank you again, girls…for your support, your prayers, your words of encouragement.