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We have a friend who says, “Money can’t buy happiness, but it can sure make you comfortable.” The statement always gets a laugh because it’s true. Almost everyone wishes they had more money, but they can see that the rich are some of the unhappiest people in the world.
It’s equally true that food can’t make you happy. In spite of all the magazine articles about comfort food; eating with the wrong motivation just compounds problems, it never makes them go away.
My Darling Daughter and I had a conversation on this topic this morning. It started when she said, “Food makes you happy, Mom, but I’ve never really liked to eat.” At first I wanted to flatly deny both parts of the statement, but I couldn’t.
I do enjoy eating. I like the flavors and textures of food. I don’t care for gourmet cooking with fancy sauces and decorations. Simple food simply prepared is my style. However, I do get pleasure from cooking and eating.
DD on the other hand, says she has never really liked to eat. I remember that when she was a little tyke, she rarely finished her breakfast or lunch in one sitting. She would eat a few bites, then leave the table and go play. An hour later I’d see her back at the table, eating a little bit more.
This has made it hard for her to gain weight this year. She doesn’t like feeling full. She doesn’t want to have to eat snacks in between meals. She especially doesn’t like eating before she goes to bed.
I reminded her that while she didn’t eat a lot when she was little, in her middle school and early high school years she would come home from school, watch TV and snack. That was different, she explained. TV and munching seemed to go together. It wasn’t so much that she liked eating, but she liked keeping her hands and mouth busy while she watched. And she certainly didn’t like the weight that she put on during those years.
She told me how unhappy she was when her jeans wouldn’t fit. “So you worked hard and lost weight – too much weight,” I said. “Did that make you happy?” No she admitted that it hadn’t. “Now you’re almost at your goal of a healthy weight, does that make you happy.” Again the answer was no.
Food doesn’t make you happy. Happiness and joy come from inside. (The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22) Happiness is more about your faith than about how much you eat or how much is in your bank account.
I hope that DD will come to learn that while the right kind and right amount of food can bring health, a happy heart is much more than weight or dress size or the image in the mirror.
I am at my aging parents home in NJ right now. Having some difficulty in missing my own family and serving here. Many demands on the part of my dad. I am lamenting that I have little money and need to eat what they (brothers) have purchased. At first I thought it's hopeless. But after reading your blog tonight, I feel encouraged. I can eat, but not to feeling stuffed. I can eat what they have and be thankful to the Father. Maybe some of the negative consequences of poor choices made for me will be diminished.
(Like Weigh Down, if you know about that diet). It will be ok. It's only for 2 more weeks. I don't have much money or the kinds of food I enjoy, but it will be ok for now. Something you said gave me hope. Thanks!
Everyday I learn more and more, but reading this blog helped me to understand I am not alone.
I ended up adding up the amount of time I got enjoyment from eating yummy forbidden stuff before (no more than an hour a day) compared with the amount of time I can spend now thinking "I look good in these jeans/that photo/this dress" (however long I want to).
Some days I'd rather have the Ben'n'Jerry's, most days I'd rather have the jeans.
ATB for your DD's happiness.
Personally I do enjoy cooking and eating. Since I started the BTD I enjoy trying to find ways around the things I can eat. At first it was hard, I wanted to buy puddings, candies, cake, etc. I would look at the fresh fruit and think "Those are so expensive!" (I live in Japan). But then, I realized that the amount of money I had been spending on desserts and candies was the same I would have to spend for fruits. Since then, I have stopped buying sweets at the grocery store. When I feel like it, I also tell myself "People didn't have oreos 500 years ago, and they lived just fine."
I get pleasure from cooking and eating still, but at least, I don't use food as an emotional blanket.
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