Monday, February 28, 2011

Diet/Fasting--Is It All About The Food?

Most days that I work I either have an eat everything in sight day or,like Saturday,a granola bar and coffee in the morning and nothing else til I get home,type of day.
Sunday morning several of my nurses aides informed me they had started diets.
Some on Jenny Craig and some on Weight Watchers.
They all decided on Friday to try and make an attempt to rein in their weight issues.
Well like most diets its always easier to decide on Friday after a big supper then to follow through on Sunday,after two days of what feels like you'll never put another pleasing piece of food in your mouth again.
Each person told me exactly what they could and could not eat,how many food points they were allowed and how once they lost the weight they planned never to be heavy again.
One girl even told me she and her husband were on their weight lose paths together and they had decided how they would eat during week days,so on Friday night they could get take out from their favorite restaurant,Longhorns,allowing their selves ribs and baked potato night.
As the day went on each person told me how deprived they felt,it wasn't that they were hungry,it was more that they missed not being able to eat what they wanted and liked and seemed to spend a great deal of time thinking about what they could not have and how meager the choice were becoming as their diet days were progressing.
This Sunday in our Orthodox faith,started what we call Meat Fare.
After Sunday we start on our journey of fasting by first giving up meat.
Now I know your saying "What Lent has already started,did I miss it?"
No you did not.
We,as Orthodox Christians sometime like to over achieve and start things,I guess just for practice.
After Liturgy on Sunday,our church,St.Micheal,had what we call an extended coffee hour where every one brought in food to be offered to all,as a sort of good bye to pleasure and abundance day and a hello to fasting.
My husband,being the good and loving man he is,brought a container of these delicacies to work for me, so I could also partake.
Of course several of my dieting friends walked by and told me how good my food looked,but they had already had lunch and did not choose to have any of my pleasures.
At present they were committed to weight lose.
When I got home Vic and I went out to Chili's,and as a kind of a farewell tribute to meat,I ordered a hamburger,with bacon and cheddar cheese,which,if I follow the fast correctly,will not be mine to taste again for more then a month.
This morning has I looked over the face book section on my Internet,I came across a posting called "A list of thing to have in ones pantry during fasting times."
I went to the site and read about half of said list then thought to myself "for something that is suppose to be a discipline there is an awful lot of pre-thought to this whole fasting thing."
"Food,food,food!" I wanted to scream out. "Enough with the food already!"
We seem to spend an awful lot of time thinking about what we are suppose to be forgetting about and that is the enslavement to our stomachs.
Fasting,as I understand it,is a way of disconnecting our selves from the driven need to eat,our physical pleasures,and turning more to our spiritual and Christian hungers and attempting to fill them.
The past two years I have tried to make it my aim not to feel deprived of food during fast periods,focusing instead,on the fact that to eat better,more healthy foods,during Lent,is a way of making my body,my temple,more in tuned with the needs of God and those around me.
Stopping my desire for junky foods and life style and moving more toward a purer link with God.
Fr.Peter always says if you follow all the fasting rules but have not changed in any way then you may has well eat the hamburger,or in my case the bacon cheddar cheese burger, because you missed the whole point.
To much emphasis on food and not enough on how you plan to spiritually change,over the up coming fasting period is just has much the work of the devil has committing sin.
If your mind is wrapped up on food all the time then you've lost sight of being wrapped up in God.
Now don't get me wrong fasting,like dieting is allot of work but it is also suppose to be a change in attitude as well as a change in diet.
At this time of year I try at every meal to center my self on eating healthy for the next 40 plus days.
Yes each day is a struggle but it should be no more of a struggle then finding true harmony and peace with our spiritual side.
Supposedly as we grow farther from our physical being and needs we are to grow closer to our brothers and sisters around us in an attempt to be more Christ like.
Like dieting,our main objective is to take our growing hunger to fill our mouths and stomachs with excess and transfer it to a new growing need to fill our souls and spirits.
In the end we want to take this new found weight loss and grow it into continued maintenance of our daily lives in Christ.
Fasting should not be allot of pre thought on how our kitchen cupboards are set up,it's emphasis should be on how our spiritual cupboards are set up.
If we fill our kitchen but not our souls then we may as well have the hamburger and forget the fasting.

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