This is the Year of Possibilities

It’s a new year with new possibilities! I’m trying to get in better health this year. I did okay (for me anyway) last year and lost 25 lbs and have kept it off. I have so many joint and back issues, that I’m limited in exercise options. To make things worse I had the weirdest fall 2 months ago and injured my shoulder. But I’m reminded of people that have been in worse condition and retrieved their health. Obviously, I’m not going to be one of those people that are trying to run a marathon in the spring. Running was never a great thing for me. But swimming? Hey, I can do that. In fact, my doctor recommended swimming because of my muscle and joint problems.

Running and I don’t mix.

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My small goal is to lose another 25 lbs and maintain healthy eating habits. Last year for 4 months, I almost went vegan. It wasn’t a conscious decision it was a natural process of eliminating harmful food. I wasn’t a vegan because I ate fish, but I tried to stay 90% fruits and veggies, stayed away from milk etc. I was determined not to be the vegetarian who downs bags of potato chips and cakes and cookies.


I can’t explain what happened, I fell off the wagon, got caught under the wheels and tangled in the spokes. It was terrible. I was like, ” One meal, ‘it’ll be ok”. That became 2 meals, then a week later I was practically weeping in whip cream.

But I’m back inside the safety of the wagon! My kids are helping by being on this fruit and veggie cleanse with me.

My oldest son in Massachusetts and my daughter warned me that we were all cleansing our system and resetting our bodies this month with a combination of lemonade diet and fruits and veggies. I started earlier this week and messaged both of them to see how they were doing… Silence. Then my daughter messaged that she was starting with me as planned.

I know this isn’t the best idea, but my daughter and I had a farewell burrito together on new year’s day. This is how we roll sometimes!

Then she came to me yesterday.

“I might have to leave you alone. I’m starving. I want a turkey burger.”

I talked her out of it and told her to grab an apple and binge watch a show to distract her mind. I know it was tough for her. She’s running after an 11-month-old all day.

Honestly, I have to pull strength from last year. I did so well! I refused sugar for months. I even posted on Facebook about my victory over sugar. I actually went through withdrawal symptoms, shaking, chills, headaches, stomach pain. Sugar, the drug. Getting sugar out of my system was great and felt really good. Problems with my joints and sore feet completely disappeared. I walked better because I wasn’t so stiff. My thinking was clearer. I felt stronger and was able to exercise more effectively. I tell ya, getting rid of sugar is the key to a lot of health problems.

I felt myself slipping around July and tried to get help from a friend of mine who eats very healthy, but he and his wife were busy. So I pulled in a therapist, and she helped me to get the root of my overeating.

Food and My Inner Child

One of the things she told me is that everyone has their own coping mechanism to relieve stress. I used to wonder why I was so obsessed with food. I equated it with relaxation and escape. When I was a child, and my parents had hellacious fights with knives being pulled out, I didn’t know whether I was going to be missing a parent after it was over. So to stay out of the way as long as possible and get my homework done, I ‘d stay in my room. This is how I coped. When I saw things were going wrong, I would get a whole lot of food and go into my room so I wouldn’t have to come out.

Eating had become a habit from being in a lot of emotional pain. This is what I used to cope with a violent household and a manipulative father. It was the one thing that made me feel comforted. I could always count on my favorite foods to be the same and give me the same results. People who are in physical pain are going to reach out for what makes them feel better and when you’re in emotional distress, it’s no different. Christ helped me with a lot of that emotional childhood pain, but there were some areas I still had to conquer. Since I’ve been focusing on my inner child this past year, I’ve found tremendous freedom not feeding her McDonald’s fries in exchange for feeling comforted. Knowing the source of the problem helped tremendously. Seeking comfort and relieving stress has been at the root of my relationship with food for most of my life. Now that I’m aware, I can work on finding less harmful methods of comfort in addition to prayer.

I will probably always be a foodie. My oldest son and I love to cook and exchange recipes. For my health’s sake, though, I have to gain better control over how I deal with emotional pain and stress and acquire healthier tastes. My friends have sent me books and things to try and help me, but it’s a struggle I must overcome internally with the help of God.

The Jesus in me ain’t feeling those fries

I know when Jesus isn’t feeling McDonald’s fries, but I am so tempted (they’re so addictive, what aliens don’t like McDonald’s fries?) You have to really slap yourself and realize what’s in them to give yourself any chance to resist. By the way, Comedian Jim Gaffigan has a hilarious take on junk food.

With 320 billion fries sold per year, I know I’m not alone, and don’t tell me to get one of their salads. The Caesar Salad contains more fat than their hamburger.

Besides, the Bible says let your moderation be known to all men (Philippians 4:5). I want to give Jesus this part of my life entirely without feeling I need a hamburger to make it all feel better. These are old habits that need to be conquered.

I don’t think I’ll label myself to quickly. People ask, “So what are you, a vegan, a vegetarian, pescatarian?” I suppose vegetarianism has some use, but if you’re going to live off vegetables just go hard, stop being a wimp and go vegan. I for one may never go vegan as it seems way too much work and worries. In my many food travels, I found vegetarianism to be too hypocritical for me. When I tried it, I was always on the border of something terribly wrong. Food had two categories for me. ” HEY, IT’S NOT MEAT” and “THESE ARE VEGETABLES WITH NO TASTE AT ALL TO WHICH I’M ADDING BAD STUFF.” The second category is because, to make the cooked vegetables taste delicious, I allowed butter and sauces and other things that didn’t seem very healthy at all. I ate way too much pasta and potatoes (hello diabetes) and allowed myself to eat way too many sweets because, well…. (hah, hah….it’s not meat). I don’t think I”ll ever be Euell Gibbons (from the 1970s grape nuts commercials, who advocated foraging in the woods). If you remember him, holler in the comments.

I think I want to eat super healthy 90% of the time (like reverse tithing to myself-10% goodies). I think that feels right for me. No matter what your struggle, take it one day at a time and focus on progress and not perfection.

Author: Renee

I am an author and a retired minister. My passion is helping others find their sense of self and identity after so many years of losing my own. So often we go to church and are still not aware of our disconnection with our true selves. The person inside that God deeply values. My husband and I have been married for over 30 years and have 3 children. I love gourmet cooking, swimming, all kinds of music, and political and religious discussion- the two things my mom said never to talk about at the dinner table.