Friday, March 27, 2009

Eating Less and Enjoying it More

By Jessie Dye, Program & Outreach Director

Not eating between meals for Lent is the real deal for me-an honest to God sacrifice and learning opportunity. I didn’t realize that I ate constantly. I had no idea that I nibbled the entire time I cooked. No wonder I always lost weight when I traveled—no kitchens!

For a few weeks I was hungry; then I started eating huge meals to make up for lack of large, frequent snacks. Enormous meals don’t digest well, I realized. At night, I actually had to fight with myself not creep into the kitchen for a late evening bite. Forgoing night eating caused me to rise earlier and eat bigger breakfasts and then less the next night. This Lent is habit-braking; I am slowly turning healthy.

Excess—for me it’s eating constantly, for you it may be isolating too much, drinking too much, spending too much—anything that takes us away from the moment and from our real feelings, is a kind of addiction. It masks the pain of our humanity with gluttony, numbness, obsessing, whatever. Fasting brings that pain right to the front burner. It takes skill and patience to feel those feelings and learn what their message is. When you fast and feel and acknowledge sorrow and unmet needs, something else happens. The pain passes, the desire lessens, the habit breaks.

Lo, I’m feeling better, more energy, less fascinated with food. Of course this may revert when Easter Day arrives, I’m no saint. For the rest of the season, though, I’m holding my own, feeling my body and my feelings, and praying for protection and direction for me God’s children.

Oh, and turning out my lights this Saturday night at 8:30 for Earth Hour.

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