Last week my husband’s doctor called him back in to follow up on annual lab work he had run. Matt asked me to go with him. The doctor came in and said he was shocked that my husband had not yet had a heart attack and told him that he is just 11 points away from becoming diabetic. While we were thankful the report wasn’t of cancer, we were somewhat surprised to find out that my husband’s poor food choices had caught up with him. Why we were surprised I’m not quite sure.
So, for the past week I’ve been working on menu plans that incorporate more of what the doctor recommended, which is a Paleo-type plan. In doing this I’ve also been praying over my husband and asking the Lord to search my own heart (I’ve learned this is a good practice when anything out of our normal routine confronts us). In fact, Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” I wanted to see where I might have played a part in this medical report.
I felt the need to do this because for years I’ve worked on my own weight/health issues but have failed to encourage my husband to do the same. I have also neglected to help set him up for success. Instead, I have gently but not so effectively suggested that he eat healthier. When this was met with resistance I backed off and made white rice for him and brown/wild rice for me, bought sugar-packed ice cream for him and fat-free yogurt for me, let him add cheese to everything, etc.
And when going out for dinner I would choose grilled fish while he ordered the chicken fried steak. I simply didn’t want the conflict and because he is a grown man I knew he could make his own choices. What the Lord showed me as I’ve searched my heart is that He has appointed me the manager of my home (Proverbs 31: 12 says, “She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” And, vs. 27 says, “She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.” As a home manager I do menu planning, grocery shopping, and execution of meals, even if only for the two of us (empty nesters). I am responsible to look well to the ways of my household, and this includes the way we eat and the provision of healthy choices.
One of the most beautiful truths found in Thin Within living is the discovery and realization of our whole body pleasers, which for me is found in healthy eating. The result of living that truth is that my annual lab results came back just two weeks ago and everything looks good. At almost 54 years old, that’s exactly the report you want to receive. That’s in large part to making healthy choices when eating 0-5. I want that to be the testimony of my husband and anyone else I choose to feed. That’s not to say that on occasion and down the road we can’t indulge in a small treat. What I’m saying is that it can no longer be the norm for us and I can no longer be the provider of poor indulgences. Because in the long run it’s killing my husband, and offending the Lord. And that is not the legacy I want surrounding my name, nor is it the abundant life Jesus came to give us (John 10:10 – “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”)
As I write this we’re in the middle of our “new normal” and my husband is feeling better, losing some weight, and embracing good health. He’s also finding his 5 much easier, and we’re enjoying mealtimes together much more. Yes, it’s taking more effort to help plan better but it feels so good to know I’m doing my part to create an environment that says, “You are worth this to me!”
So I’ve stopped looking to my selfish self and my weight/health and am paying more attention to the man God’s given me. I own my responsibility in having helped cause him harm, and am determined to “bring him good, and not harm” all the days of our lives. If he wants or chooses to go off course it will be because he got in the car and drove to get something, not because I had it sitting in the pantry waiting for him. Thankfully, we’re so committed to turning this report around with the Lord’s help; I can’t imagine him doing such a thing! We’re in this together and so our chances of success are much greater. Hallelujah!
So what about you? Are you bringing good and not harm to those in your household, by the food choices you make and in the provision you offer those you love? Rejoice in knowing the plan Thin Within offers and the revelation it brings of what the “abundant life” really looks like.
Great blog, Cathie. Personally, I found it very convicting. Not just how I feed the hubby but myself as well. The Lord keeps leading me deeper and deeper into the discernment phase. I really needed this. Thanks!
Wow, this brought much conviction, but also a little confusion about the freedom TW offers regarding food. My husband will eat what I make which is really nice, but he doesn’t like just “healthy” food and I am guilty of that as well. I’ve realized that I’ve gotten to the point lately that I’ve had a bad attitude about it and I need to keep pressing on. Even if his healthiest meal is at home that evening for dinner at least he’s getting that. Our jobs at the wives/mothers is so important. It’s hard for me not to be obsessive about “healthy” foods when I’m breaking free from all the diet mentality that I’ve had all of my life. Are we free to eat what we want as long as it’s within 0-5? Thanks so much for sharing.
Joy, you bring up some good points and I really like your question. I think the answer is YES! Yes, we are free to eat ALL foods 0-5! It makes me think of one of the principles of TW about eating what your body enjoys. My body doesn’t enjoy caffeine (it makes me WEIRD–weirder than normal–ha!). But the next person can enjoy caffeinated coffee and it’s soothing and warm and wonderful to them. I think the key is discernment, and I believe that comes with growth in this journey and the leading of the Holy Spirit and really just observing how our body reacts to food. There are so many opinions on what’s “healthy”. There is one extreme to the other–it makes my head hurt. I’ve done the diet research, I know–and the Lord has shown me I have to let it all go and listen to Him and listen to my body. As far as what to fuel our family with, well, I think it’s going to be so different based on each family. Everyone has different needs. With my children, I am learning to sort of do some of the discernment for them (until they are old enough to understand). I know some of the foods that are total rejects for my children and I won’t serve them those foods. My husband asks for more salads, and I try to come through with that. It’s learning and discerning. Are you free to eat all foods that your body enjoys? Absolutely!! We are going to grow and ebb/flow through the phases of TW. It’s not going to look like this perfect, smooth line. We will spend time in Phase 1, then Phase 2, then back to Phase 1, etc. Also, I don’t think we can control what our family eats outside of our “control”. Does that make sense? Like, I can serve my family meals, buy groceries, bake, cook, send snacks, make lunches, etc, but outside of that, it’s up to them. And really, even inside of that, it’s up to them. My goal is to create a healthy view of food: where the evil diet mentality has no permission to enter. I try my best to paint the picture that all food is equal. I’ve observed enough and experienced enough to know that food labeling is NO good. So that’s why I love discernment (which comes more with Phase 2) because it’s like God’s little power-packed, inner knowing (from Him) that “hey, your body really enjoys that” or “your body says ‘no thank you'”. Isn’t God so awesome to give us that gift to discern? I get pretty excited about it! Ha! Anyway, I’ve written a book here… Walk in freedom! God has this!
Cathie, thank you for sharing this. I’m so glad you husband’s report back was not cancer. Praise God for that! And it sounds like the Lord has given you some direction and peace in that. Your post reminds me of the 3 phases of Thin Within: Freedom Phase, Discernment Phase, and Mastery Phase. I know for myself, I have spent MUCH time in the Freedom Phase due to all of the yucky diet mentality and lies I collected over the years. I have learned that the phases sort of ebb and flow. You can spend time in the Freedom Phase, and then find yourself in more of the Discernment Phase, back for a little bit in the Freedom Phase, etc. The beautiful thing about TW is that we are encouraged to listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and to listen to our body’s signals. Everyone is at a different place in their walk with this. Ultimately, I believe God has given His blessing on all foods. There’s no “good” or “bad”. What the Lord has shown me is the blessing of using discernment. It’s simply observing how our body reacts after eating a certain food. This could be within minutes, hours, or even a day after. It’s like what you said, learning what are whole body pleasers. And it will be different for everyone. Your post has given me a lot to think about because, yes, we do have some responsibility in making “wise” choices for ourselves as well as for our family, but I also have to be SO careful that I don’t start labeling foods because that’s a set up for deprivation. I can very easily start to obsess and go down a deep and dark rut in my thinking. By the grace of God, He is teaching me about the needs of my body and what are those whole body pleasers, teasers, and the total rejects. I am looking to Him for guidance in that. And I do try my best to serve my family balanced meals, but I also have to be extremely careful that I don’t step into the diet mentality. That’s been my journey in this.
Christina, thank you so much for bringing up the phases of Thin Within and for explaining these differences so well.
Cathie, you have been a long-time Thin Within participant and worked for Thin Within “back in the day.” 🙂 From your post, it is clear God has brought you to “Phase 3” (yay!) so your post won’t resonate (and it probably shouldn’t) for those beginning TW or who need to linger longer in Phase 1. Please bear with me as I explain.
Many who visit our website and/or participate in Thin Within struggle with Orthorexia (or some behaviors of) and are truly trying to break free from looking to certain foods for a sense of purity, righteousness or morality! These men and women know with their minds that no food can make them “clean,” but they nevertheless struggle with this getting through to their hearts and their actions. (See this website for a description https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/orthorexia-nervosa)
These are folks who may need to remain in the Freedom Phase longer than others so that they really experience freedom from the obsession that has characterized their lives. I have had a number of participants in Thin Within share with me that this is their particular struggle, instead of overeating and carrying extra weight like it is for many of us.
Many times, these participants are already trim enough–not needing to release any weight (though they may think they do). They have been the “healthiest” eaters on the planet but have obsessed about every morsel and researched every diet numerous times to be sure they weren’t missing anything to be healthy and pure and ok and undefiled. They have sometimes shared with me a feeling of not being “healthy” emotionally and spiritually because of this. Truly, this profile fits a number of folks that I have “met” through the online Thin Within community.
I hope, Cathie, you won’t mind my saying that your post is not for these folks! And that is fine! 🙂 The people in Phase 1 who SHOULD move on (and know it) and those in Phase 2 are going to benefit from what you have shared, of course.
If you, the reader, see yourself at all in the description I have given above, though, please know that Cathie is coming from an entirely different place! Relish freedom and pray for the Lord to show you when it’s time to adjust. I am confident He will show you! Chances are, your journey won’t look anything like Cathie’s, though. Or mine! Please see the resources I mention below.
Please don’t stumble over Cathie’s Phase 3 words! Celebrate that she has the freedom she does and we can all focus on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. Each one of us has a different story!
For more support for those who struggle at all with the “dieting/researching” cycle:
Have a look at Christina Smith’s Sound Cloud files at our Sound Cloud channel http://www.soundcloud.com/heidi-bylsma/
or Claire’s video at the YouTube channel https://youtu.be/IyKRSyIR3Xo
or my interview of Claire at Sound Cloud https://soundcloud.com/heidi-bylsma/spring-15-tw-09-fresh-view-of-thin-within-claire-urig
or my interview of Emily at Sound Cloud https://soundcloud.com/heidi-bylsma/spring-15-tw-series-08-is-tw-just-for-those-who-need-to-lose-weight
These women are in a different space than Cathie…and so please take this to the Lord.
And it is ALL good. He has us right where he wants each of us.
Hugs, all. 🙂
Cathie, Thank you so much for writing this blog!! I have dealt with the same feelings and issues in my home and it is so wonderful to know that I am not alone!!