Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lent, etc.

"To discover what you really believe, pay attention to the way you act--and to what you do when things don't go the way you think they should. Pay attention to what you value. Pay attention to how and on what you spend your time, your money. And pay attention to what you eat."

--Geneen Roth, Women, Food and God

So Lent begins today. I have decided to give up snacking--i.e. mindless eating. It's funny to think of snacking as a spiritual problem, but I believe for me that it is. It's eating as a way of not feeling--not feeling bored, not feeling sad, not feeling whatever feelings are inconveniencing me. Instead of lifting my problems, fears, and anxieties up to God, I hand them over to a box of Wheat Thins. I believe this to be a spiritually unsound practice.

Sometimes I snack to shore myself up through the making of dinner, the last burst of the day's activity before relaxing with a book or my knitting. Most of my snacking, in fact, takes place between 3 p.m. and dinner. It's like I need little pops of pleasure to help me make it through the day. If I were a smoker, I would be lighting up, but I'm an eater, so I eat.

I think it's safe to say that food is a crutch for me, and so this Lent I'm dropping the crutch and seeing what happens. I'll keep you updated.

My S.A.D. lamp just popped off, and now the room seems dark. I bought the lamp last week and have been using it since Friday. It's very bright, and the first day it gave me a terrible headache, so the second day I wore sunglasses. Then I read that it's all about the light going into your eyes, so now I sit in front of it unshaded, thirty minutes every morning.

You've heard of S.A.D. lamps, right? They're to help with Seasonal Affective Disorder, i.e. the winter blues. Is it working? Well, I can say that I've felt perfectly fine, even a little bit perky, for a good stretch, and we've had a lot of gloomy weather since I plugged in, so maybe. Or possibly it's the placebo effect. It may all be magical thinking. But I'm not moping around, and that's good, especially for February.

One of my teeth has almost straightened out! Well, actually, it was my only crooked tooth, and it's been that way since I was ten. Very strange, almost forty years later, to see it as God intended, a vertical little number to the left of my front teeth, not overlapping anything. My neck may be sagging, my knees wrinkling, my age spots multiplying, but my teeth are finally getting straightened out thanks to these confounded braces. I'm new again!


Angela said...

Giving up snacking is a Fine Ambition for Lent. I wish you well. My dearly beloved has given up Coffee. This is a Major Thing for him. Its mainly cos he OD'd last Saturday trying to stay awake after a ridiculously busy week, and made himself ill.
Problem is, that means we are not making ANY coffee round here, so I am missing out on it too. We only have cafetiere[french press] or electric filter stuff- and it is inefficient to make just one cup. Not sure it is right to foist your Lenten Abstinence on others.

It is STILL snowing. Hoping that stops soon- burial in village graveyard at 9.15am on Friday looks like being a cold event.

What is your weather doing?

wintry blessings xx

Heather said...

I mindlessly eat all the time. I know I am not physically hungry, but I do it anyway. I find it amazing when I try to stop myself from doing it, but the craving consumes my focus. Powerful stuff. Good luck.

Pom Pom said...

Yay for the happy light.
I'm glad you are enjoying your braces. It's SO worth all the weirdness in your mouth. I am very thankful I went through it.

Lent means Easter is soon. Yay. I'm so ready for spring.

Amanda said...

You are very honest with yourself, which I admire! I certainly eat to avoid my feelings sometimes. I also eat when I'm tired, as if the food will fix me (getting ready for dinner, clearing away the after-school mess, battling the early dark is the worst time of day!). The only way I stop this is to have no desirable snacks in the house, or no time to eat them! Praying instead of eating is true wisdom.

wayside wanderer said...

I think that must be a strange but gratifying thing to see your tooth straighten up. I'm glad the light is working, too. Spring will be here very soon and I am ready to welcome it.

debbie bailey said...

You need to have afternoon tea around 4:00. And by tea I mean some savory snacks along with your tea. That should hold you to dinnertime. Then you won't feel the need to snack from early afternoon on. I think for most women this is a hard time. The British are brilliant to come up with tea at 4:00.

Fat Dormouse said...

I hope you find that you can sustain your no snacking rule: you're right to call it mindless. I used to find myself standing by the cooker literally stuffing tortilla chips mechanically into my mouth, not because I was hungry but because I wanted to eat something. I could stuff a whole bagful in, almost without tasting them.

A cup of fruit tea at 4.00 might well help - it gets me through my fast days!

Jo said...

I'm glad you are renewing yourself for spring, and those expensive braces are working. We are taking the next child along for her first appointment today. Oh dear.
Snacking in the afternoon. I do it all the time. I now have proper afternoon tea with the children when they come home from school, then declare the kitchen closed. And only snack on vegetables when I am making dinner. Well, that's the theory anyway. I had to put a sticky note on the sunflower seeds to remind me. Love those sunflower seeds..

Gumbo Lily said...

I know all about the afternoon munchies. It really helps me to have my 3:00 coffee time and I allow myself a snack to go with it. I usually have a protein bar or some nuts, but occasionally I have a couple cookies.

I'm happy your tooth is straightening. I wonder what we can do about the sagging knees tho?

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GretchenJoanna said...

Frances, this is an eloquent description of the problem...I am going to print out your post and keep with my Bible or prayer book or taped over my mouth.
Thank you, Dear.

Thistle Cove Farm said...

Goodness! What a fine quote for any day of the week, including Lent. I don't snack but, since Dave died, have a problem with eating healthfully. My meals are, too frequently, cheese and crackers, warmed in the microwave. Not good but better than junk.

The dB family said...

Wow! That is one powerful quote! I do the exact same as you, but sadly I didn't realize it until now. I'll join you starting today. No more snacking for me!