And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. John 8:32

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Lies of Thanksgiving Dinner

I love Thanksgiving. I love the smells, the tastes, the friends, the family, and the coziness of it all.

What I don’t like is the day after Thanksgiving—that moment when you’re lying in bed, and all of a sudden you remember what you ate the day before, and you think to yourself, “How will I ever make it past Christmas without gaining a ton of weight?”

This year I’m going to try a new tactic—I’m going to start preparing early for Thanksgiving dinner.

Sure, I’ll make the rolls and the pies and the stuffing (with the help of my family), but that’s not all I’m going to do. This year, I’m also going to prepare my mind for Thanksgiving dinner.

I’m going to fill my mind with truth before I start to eat. In fact, I might even start a couple days before, so I’m really ready.

I’ll take a look at the lies I believe that make me want to stuff myself with moist turkey, savory stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes and gravy, warm rolls with butter, pumpkin pies made from scratch, fluffy whipped cream - on second thought, I think I better start right now. It may take me awhile to get ready for Thanksgiving this year.

The Seven Lies of Thanksgiving

1. It’s Thanksgiving—I should eat.
Truth: It’s Thanksgiving - I should be extra careful what I eat, because it will be easy to eat too much.

2. I don’t know when I’ll get this again. I better eat as much as I can now.
Truth: Chances are I’ll get the same thing tomorrow for leftovers, but if everything is gone, I can always make it again.

3. This food is so good that I should have seconds.
Truth: This food is so good that I need to concentrate on thoroughly enjoying each and every bite. In all seriousness, I will enjoy myself more if I eat a healthy amount and savor it, than if I eat an unhealthy amount and not fully appreciate it. (It’s hard to truly appreciate large amounts of food.)

4. It’s Thanksgiving. I should celebrate (by eating whatever I want).
Truth: It’s Thanksgiving—I should celebrate God’s goodness to me by praising Him with every fiber of my being. Eating three pieces of pie is not an expression of praise.

5. I shouldn’t have to follow my boundaries on holidays.
Truth: Boundaries protect me. My life will actually be better if I don’t stuff myself on Thanksgiving.

6. It won't be as much fun if I don't eat whatever I want.
Truth: It will actually be more fun, because I'll be able to totally enjoy what I eat without having to feel so uncomfortable afterward.

7. I can’t help myself—it’s there, and I’m going to eat it.
Truth: If I fill my mind with truth before I sit down to dinner, there’s a good chance I won’t even want to stuff myself.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I hesitate to tell you this, but I’ve already wrapped most of my Christmas presents. I know, I know—I can just hear all the groans out there, but please hear me out.

The reason I’m wrapping Christmas presents already is that I’m a procrastinator, and procrastination is my biggest reason for emotional eating (and you know how many opportunities there are to procrastinate at Christmas—shopping, Christmas cards, decorating, etc.—I could go on, but I don’t want to make myself nervous.)

In theory, I love Christmas. I always have. But in practice, it’s a lot of work. That’s why I’m starting early. If I do just a little each week, from now until Christmas, it will be enjoyable. If I leave it all until the week before Christmas, not only will that week not be enjoyable, but the rest of the month won’t be enjoyable either, because it will always be in the back of my mind, stressing me out.

For some reason, the sooner I do something, the less intimidating it is. I enjoyed Christmas shopping last week, and I enjoyed wrapping presents this morning. But if I’d waited until a week or two before Christmas to do those things, I wouldn’t have enjoyed either one of them. Why? Because then they would have been on my “I have to get this done this week, or I’ll be in big trouble” list. And just the thought of all that pressure would have been enough to make me not want to do it.

I figure I will save about five pounds by doing the things on my Christmas “to-do” list early. Yes, we gain weight at Christmas because of all the goodies, but we also gain weight because of the extra emotions hanging around this time of year. One of those emotions is stress, and we can greatly reduce it if we get started early with our preparations.

So to all of my fellow procrastinators and stress eaters out there, I want to offer you a challenge. See if you can do one thing today to get ready for Christmas. Then try to do two more things by the end of the week. They don’t have to be big things—maybe you’ll get Christmas lists from your kids or decide what to get your parents or actually go out and buy a present. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do something to get the ball rolling.

The more you do now, the easier it will be later, and the more you will enjoy Christmas. And who knows, you might not even gain weight this year!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Incessant Forward Motion

Have you ever started a new weight loss program and thought, “This is the answer to all my troubles”?

The program sounds good, it’s easy to follow, and you think it might just work. So you begin. Things are going well, you’re sticking to the boundaries, and you’re even losing weight.

Then one day—BAM—you eat too much . . . way too much. You lose a little bit of confidence, but you keep going. Then out of the blue comes another bad day . . . and another . . . and another.

It’s easy to start thinking, “This program doesn’t work. It’s too hard. I just can’t do it.” And it’s easy to give up.

In Hebrews 12:1-2, Paul gives us these words of advice, “Let us also lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us and run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame.”

Have you ever thought of your struggle with emotional eating as a race that needs to be run? We want that race to be a sprint—a fast and furious effort that’s over with quickly. Unfortunately, it’s more like a marathon. It goes on and on and on, and we get tired of running.

My husband actually likes to run, and several years ago he entered a race called the Imogene Pass Run. The race course started in Ouray, Colorado, went up over the top of 13,120 foot high Imogene Pass, and then ended 17.1 miles later at the finish line in Telluride, Colorado.

One of the main pieces of advice the race organizers gave the runners was this: no matter how tired you are, keep going. They called it IFM—incessant forward motion. You might have to walk, you might have to limp, you might have to crawl, but as long as you keep moving in the right direction, eventually you’re going to finish the race.

I’ll be talking more about this race in another post, but for now I want you to focus on IFM—incessant forward motion. When it seems like the “race” is too hard—when you’re eating outside your boundaries right and left, and you feel like giving up—that’s when you need to keep moving forward.

Fill out your lie-truth chart. Do your Bible study. Pray through Scripture.

Renew your mind even when it seems like it’s not working, because one day the truth will kick in. And when that happens, you’ll believe the truth . . . and the truth will set you free.