I met a friend whom I had not seen in a while and I commented about her obvious weight loss. I asked her the one question I can’t seem to keep from asking whenever I see or hear a weight loss success story, “How did you do it?” To which she answered, “I stopped sinning.” Hugh? I waited for her to offer an explanation but when I realized that none was forthcoming I took the bait and asked, “What do you mean?” and before uttering one single word, she turned to face me and her much reduced body and posture said, “I am so glad you asked’” and she proceeded to enlighten me.
She said, “I heard a speaker elaborating on the seven deadly sins and when she got to gluttony I recognized myself.” My inquiring look must have prompted her on and she continued, “She said that we seldom think of gluttony as a sin, but that in fact it is one of the most deadly and deceitful sins because it masquerades as comfort, reward, pleasure, entertainment and companionship.” I thought of the pint of Hagen Daaz ice cream that was waiting for me at home, and I felt tried and convicted by her words.
She continued, “She said that our relationship to food had changed and that we no longer bother to disguise it as nutritional. We eat things that we know are no good for us. In fact we eat things that we know are harmful to our health.” I thought, “Ouch!” and she continued, “As she continued speaking I felt more and more convicted and guilty. It was as thought she was speaking directly to me. She could not have been more on target if he had been looking in my refrigerator and pantry. I had to admit that she was right. I was a glutton. I was eating myself into an early grave. I was sacrificing my life with my family and loved ones for a black forest chocolate cake and a daily latte.”
She paused to take a breath and continued, “I confronted myself, ‘You are a glutton.’ I told myself that I was overreacting to one person’s opinion and that if she were a good speaker she would have been less judgmental and negative.” Those thoughts comforted me for a while, but it seemed that the more I tried to forget what I’d heard, the more her words taunted me the more I felt guilty. I’d reach for a consolation in the freezer but could not bring myself to eat it because I knew that the sweet, creamy indulgence that I craved was the very thing that was causing me guilt."
Well I did ask the question and my friend was not withholding anything from me. She took another breath and continued, "For the next several weeks I wrestled with the word 'glutton.' It was an ugly word. I much would have preferred being considered an ‘overeater’ or a ‘compulsive eater’ or even having an ‘eating disorder.’” I could admit to either one of those diagnosis, but to expect me to admit to being, 'A glutton' was brutal."
By then I was beginning to feel sorry that I'd asked but it was too late. She was sparing non of the details. She continued, “Anyway, after several days I stopped wrestling with myself and admitted that I was a glutton. After several days to my delight I began to notice a change in the way I felt every time I reached for a carrot instead of carrot cake, or a handful of almonds instead of an Almond Joy. I felt great! I wrestled less with myself and making healthier choices was becoming easier. Then one day I noticed a change in the way my clothes fit.”
My friend did an embellished whirl and I was amazed at how amazing she looked. As if reading my mind, she added, “I even started noticing that my husband was watching me with newfound interest and that my children started coming home for dinner and they did not race away from they table. At first I did not realize the impact that my eating had on my family but I noticed the reversal, when I changed my relationship to food, I developed a better relationship with my family. I have since lost more than 65 pounds but more importantly, I have learned that food is not my best friend.” Hmmm?