Self Will Run Riot. No more Monday Menus

Scripture calls it being handed over to your desires.

My 12 Step books call it an “Obsession of the mind” or “Self will run riot.”

Either way you put it, it means the same thing. God sits back and lets me work out my control issues until I’m dead tired, defeated, and humbled and remember that he is there to help. This isn’t a new thing, it’s really how I tend to run my life. I believe it was Ben Franklin who said, “God helps those who help themselves.”

The problem with that phrase is, it isn’t true. It’s not even scriptural.

God is a gentleman, yes he’s willing to help but do y’all remember the verse, “you have not because you ask not.” – yep, that’s me. I don’t ask for help. I’m more of the hey God look at me! See, I can do this all by myself. But the truth is, I can’t nor was I created to.

I thought the Monday menu was a good idea. And from a family planning perspective it probably was. Except that I spent hours pouring over cook books and web pages looking for ideas to piece together the perfect family menu that they would love and I could eat and still lose weight.  I was obsessed.

My doctor gave me simple instructions when he released me from his care, don’t gain weight. He also very kindly pointed out I was not in good health and he’d really like to see a different me by next June.

I have, over the years, tried preordered plans like Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem. I’ve even done Weight Watchers, LA Weight loss, Atkins, and South Beach Diet. I’ve swallowed a variety of pills from appetite control to fat blockers to cleansers all to no avail.  I’ve counted carbs, points, and fat grams until I couldn’t count anymore. I’ve also spent a few thousand dollars on equipment and videos over the years only to give up after a while.

In AA, when an alcoholic doesn’t want to admit they are an alcoholic they try what is called “Controlled drinking.” That basically means they white knuckle their way through just having one or only two drinks, or they abstain for a period of time to prove they can. Foodies like me do controlled eating. Alcoholics keep a private stash of booze, I keep a private stash of candy bars or chips or cookies or cakes.

It’s really no different. Except that for an alcoholic to fully recover they need to quit drinking completely. I cannot quit eating or I’ll starve to death.

I’m not going to bore y’all with this. Let’s just say it’s been a journey. This week in my new bible study, (  I learned about permission based eating. Basically that means I wait until my stomach growls before I eat. Sometimes I like that – most days I don’t. See, my stomach doesn’t growl when I think it should. But we’re getting there. I also became aware how often my brain tells me I should be hungry and when I stop and really listen to my stomach, I know I’m not and I pass on the food.

Another neat trick I learned — use the pause on my videos. Right now, I can’t keep up with them. I dropped a class at church because I couldn’t keep up. Even though it’s a wonderful class and the gal said go at your own pace, my pride over rode my desire to get in shape. Same with a bike trip. Several gals get together every week and ride 12 miles. I can’t keep up and I don’t want to make them wait for me, so I told them, let me get in better shape and I’ll join you then. I do the same with videos at home. I just turn them off. Then my mentor suggested something she did – hit the pause button, catch your breath and turn it back on. It doesn’t matter if it takes you two hours to do a one hour video, just make the goal to complete it.

I hadn’t thought of that.

 So that is where I’m at this week.

  1.  No more diet plans (which should make grocery shopping enjoyable again) 
  2. Permission based eating 
  3. Use my pause button and keep going. 
  4.  And last but certainly not least, it’s my spirit that is hungry, not my body, so Bible Study is essential for me.  Without God, this won’t have any kind of lasting results.

So that is it in a nutshell.  Confessions was not intended to be a foodie blog anyway. Confessions is just a place to practice my writing, and share stories. And besides I have much cooler things to share with you guys than my food issues, like The Messiah, Adventures in comedy, missions and family as well as saving up for my very first girlfriends only vacation that I’m taking next year. So, thank you for letting me have my rabbit trail, and now let’s get back on track, shall we?

 This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart: Confessions of a Spiritual Bulimic. All rights reserved. November 15, 2010