I have recently been reminded that my relationship with food still needs to change, after all these years of managing to lose and maintain a significant weight loss. Yikes! I thought I was finished dealing with this. The challenge of summer fair food is one more adventure where I’m not, and never will be, finished dealing with this.
I’ve been trained to handle large amounts of food. As a volume eater, I’ve practiced portion control and even learned how to indulge in larger portions by making those larger portions contain vegetables and some fruit. This works, most of the time. What I’m facing now, however, is the need to truly understand and practice portion control when dealing with the all-you-can-eat mentality found at buffets, summer fairs and amusement parks. Who invented this craziness anyway? The only situation that comes to mind is when Jesus fed the multitudes and he invited the people to “eat until they’ve had their fill”. Was this an all-you-can-eat-fest too? I imagine the indulgence that is implied represents the blessings above and beyond what we can imagine that God can bless us with, when we come to Him with only a little bit (like five loves and three fishes, or was it four loaves and two fishes?) and offer it in true faith. We know God can do anything, but did He mean for us to really eat until we’re truly full?
When I approach a buffet, I must admit it feels like a food fest. After all, it’s all the same price for me to eat more, isn’t it? We look at this as a good deal when it comes to money, but it’s not really a good deal with our stomachs, is it? When Jesus fed the crowd, it was about the money, too, since the food was free. I wonder if any of them had overeating issues back then. I’m certain someone must have had a bit more of a passion for food than needed, like I do. Why can’t I look over the buffet, decide what to eat, then get that, and STOP? What is it about the fact that the food is sitting there that makes it call my name?
I remember last summer when our family visited a local amusement park with the expected “summer fair food”. You know what I mean: funnel cakes, fresh-made French fries, delicious hamburgers, ice cream and even candy treats. It calls our name simply because it’s there. We smell the food and see the food; we see others eating it, and then all sense of structure and balanced meals go out the window. Maybe it’s the background noise that is so loud it deafens us to the sounds in our own heads to control our eating.
After two days of a food fest, I decided to approach our final day at the amusement park that summer differently. I prayed for help. I asked God to help me decide what to eat, what not to eat, how to think about it, and even how to stop thinking about it, for the ONE day. It seemed to be on my mind more than needed. What I sensed was the plan to choose one treat that day, which would be a treat that I wouldn’t have otherwise, or at least would be something I truly craved that day. What a blessing. I survived the day not only by having just one treat—which was orange and vanilla swirl ice cream---but the booth where I purchased it happened to carry a smaller size serving than the others! Praise God!
I am always in need of the reminder to take the one-day-at-a time approach to eating. As summer eases in with all its adventures, I can say: let the food fests begin! It’s been handled before, and will be handled again.