H U N G E R

This is a scary word when weight control comes up. At least it was for me.

I have never gone to bed hungry in my life.

I’m almost ashamed to admit that. But I think I’ll choose to feel richly and inexplicably blessed rather than ashamed. God is a wondrous and loving creator and he pitied me in this even though I didn’t deserve it.

What do you think of when you’re thinking hungry?

Is it a desire for a particular food? Does talk of lasagna, pizza, tacos, burgers inspire feelings of hunger?

ME: YES!!! Lasagna and pizza for lunch, tacos for Afternoon tea, burgers with bacon and cheese for dinner, and how about some ribs for Supper and let’s don’t forget deserts. Truly, I am at heart one of Tolkien’s Hobbits–least ways when it comes to food I am.

I grew up in a church family. Do you know what a church family is? Among other things, it’s a family where just about every activity is accompanied by a meal, a salad, a snack, a something-to-eat. And the folks who bring dishes are pleased and jovial to share, many folks priding themselves on their prowess at preparation. Oh we look forward to the next picnic, when Mrs. Smith is going to bring her lemon bars, and we just can’t wait to have a bit of Mr. Johnson’s famous chili! I don’t think I’ll ever forget or regret one bite of Elsie Fischer’s beloved, 14″ diameter wild apple pies, brought to potlucks several times each autumn, or Bob Keen’s apple butter, Mom’s chicken casserole (I could weep tears of joy and longing talking about that casserole), my sister’s quiche, my other sister’s zucchini bread or my precious husband’s Pink Lady “salad.” Food was not just something we ingested for sustenance it was something we shared in happiness, in sorrow, and just because we were pleased to be together. Saucy bars…. wait, give me a moment…..

Ok, I’m ok now.

I’m very pleased to report that I have not felt H U N G E R since my surgery.

The first three days following my surgery, smells of preparing or prepared foods caused me a lot of nausea. After one meal my husband prepared for everyone else as I lay in the recliner in the living room, I asked them to open all the windows and turn off the heat (yes, the heat was on in July–it was 48°F out because Upper Michigan), and please position a fan where it could blow in my face to clear the scents of this meal. I was aware of the ingredients, and I knew very well that in normal circumstances I would have enjoyed this delicious meal, but good heavens. On that day the very thought, the slightest smell of food was enough to make me plain sick. Fortunately, by day four, when I started to really perk up and feel more myself, the smells of food stopped working treachery on me.

I have not been hungry since my surgery.

But I have desired food.

Yesterday they ate grilled polish sausages, and crispy baked potato strips. While I sipped a grossly-sweet protein drink.

On Saturday night, there was something with chicken, broccoli, cheddar cheese and some crispy crumbly topping I couldn’t identify but it smelled amazing.

Right this minute, I have a suspicion that they may be eating at one of my favorite Chinese restaurants while out grocery shopping for the things needed to make my allergy friendly, not-gross protein drinks.

I think someone mentioned pizza.

Nope, not hungry. Not one pang of emptiness.

But desire for food?

OH MY GOODNESS, YES.

So how do I cope with this part? Food is family, food is social, food is a natural, necessary part of every day life! Who doesn’t NEED food? A lemon bar is food! And sour cream coffee cake…. oh wow… OK, I’ve regained my composure… that is also food. RIBS, smoked until they’re soft like butter, and then glazed in tangy, honey barbecue sauce and put to flame until the sauce is sticky like taffy, are most definitely food.

So how do I do this on my own?

The answer is: I don’t know yet.

I do know that:

  1. My stomach is only 5oz. or so big. That’s roughly the size of a medium banana. There simply is not volume enough there to eat everything I find tasty, yummy, desirable or satisfying. Not like I used to. Taste things? You bet. Eat like a farm hand? No. No way.
  2. My health and life are more important to me than 5 minutes of gratification that may have a negative impact on my overall health.
  3. I can always eat more later. The food is not going to evaporate, and there is no rule that says we can’t  have the same meal more than once in a week, or even in a day. Were yesterday’s ribs amazing? Then I can have an ounce or two for breakfast and even lunch if they were that tasty (when I get to solid food stage.) Do I still yearn for that quiche from breakfast? I can eat it for dinner or my final snack of the day.
  4. Discipline and self control are two skills I do not have in abundance. I am impetuous and a bit flighty. Some might say I am a “flibberty-gibbet.” If a “great” idea occurs to me (It’ll be great!) I often fly off into it with little or no thought. Maybe someday I’ll tell you about the ducks we raised in the dining room… Knowing I don’t have these skills as a rule, means I need to get a grip and start really applying myself to their practice.
  5. I need to pray. I need to pray and pray, and beg my loving Father’s help with reigning in my desire. Some people have trouble with desires for porn, sex, alcohol, drugs, power, authority–mine is food. The textures, the flavors… It’s the most regular type of gluttony known to humankind–eating–and probably the least often thought of.

Our God has promised to lend us His strength when we are weak and to make his strength perfectly manifested in our weakness. Wow, am I looking forward to His promised proof. And I am grateful that the proof of His strength is promised. That way, even though my answer to how do I do this myself is “I don’t know” the answer to “how do I do this with God” has already been answered and continues to be answered every single day.


 

2 Corinthians 12:8-10New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power[a] is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.

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