When I first started “eating retro” and lost weight over ten years ago I was leaving behind the tyranny of an insatiable appetite which seemingly stemmed from two issues: my relationship to food and eating junk. Underlying the usual analysis of overeating and weight loss was that I was feeling sorry for myself. Why? Because I couldn’t eat as much as I wanted when I wanted without consequences. I was also attached to the illusion that a lifestyle of eating too much, especially sugar and refined carbs was somehow good for my soul. I mistook edible artifice for nourishment. I was always “hungry” but was feeding the wrong appetite. I was focused on eating all the things instead of seeing all the gifts from a healthy relationship to and with food. Why would I, right? Shouldn’t I be entitled to unlimited access to what was mine? Did God put food on my table? No! I worked hard to put that food on the table, and why even talk about God when all I wanted was an Oreo Blizzard from Dairy Queen.
I left overeating as well as the Blizzards behind long ago, thank God, literally. Even so, I still need to practice what I call sensitive eating. There’s “emotional eating” which is when we eat because we’re feeling sad or anxious and think food will make it go away or make us feel better. What I engage in is eating emotionally; I have room and the strength to experience gratitude, joy, reverence and even sadness for the loss of life. Without that life force, and the loss of it, there can be no life for us. There would be no food on the table. We are dependent upon so much to be able to be healthy enough to earn a living, have a place to call home and the energy to make a meal. Without God I’m afraid I have little if any Grace throughout the day and at dinner. What it comes down to is that it’s not all about me. I wrote in my book American Women Didn’t Get Fat in the 1950s, that I and perhaps millions of Americans can easily equate letting go of excessive eating with intense personal deprivation. Forgoing seconds or dessert is not the Great Depression!
For Lent Wayne and I committed to saying grace before dinner every night. We read from the antique book Grace Before Meals.
Each night we’re gently reminded by a simple prayer that we were designed to eat for whole and wholesome living. Food really tastes better when we know it’s made with love from above, and it makes it easy to return the favor by being not just satisfied with, but deeply grateful for having enough to eat.