When Chocolate Is Your Comfort
I found myself standing in front of the pantry door. I felt frantic. My eyes scanning for something. Something sweet. “Chocolate. Yes!” I wanted chocolate. I needed it. I rummaged through the containers filled with nuts, protein bars and a few undesirable kids fruit strips. Chocolate, I must find chocolate. I learned early in my health journey to clear the pantry of anything that would sabotage becoming the better version of me. I had done that for moments just like these. And then I remembered. The freezer. The tiny pack of dark chocolate peanut butter cups I purchased off the end cap of Trader Joe’s. The ones I knew I shouldn’t buy but convinced myself they weren’t that bad. Chocolate. It’s in the freezer. I hid it. Not because it’s bad. It’s food. It has no emotions. But I do. And chocolate had to stop being my comfort and my deliverer.
In that moment I stopped. What am I doing? More importantly, why?
My husband had been given a grievous heart diagnosis and fear struck my heart. I had gone down the catastrophic road of becoming a widow and envisioned walking alongside my children incapable of helping them in their deepest sorrow. It sounds dramatic. And it was. But in that moment it felt like facts, and I found myself standing in front of the pantry desperate to find chocolate to subdue.
Food is fuel. It’s not good or bad. It doesn’t hold emotions. But we do. And we often go to food to soothe. In that moment I knew God was challenging me on what I was turning to in times of stress and sadness. He was challenging me to surrender to His control. I wanted to. I needed to. And it wasn’t just for the sake of my physical health but my spiritual health even more.
I reached out to my own health coach and simply named my current reality. That is where the 21 days of breakthrough began. She and I gathered with a small group of women every morning at 6 AM. In thirty minutes every morning we changed the narrative and began to ask ourselves different questions.
The process of getting healthy and optimizing from there has to be about more than just losing weight. The focus must shift from only ourselves. It’s not just about a clean diet and extra workouts. It’s about recalibrating our souls. Change must occur inside for any lasting change on the outside. It can’t simply be behavior modifications. There must be a deeper dive around the emotions that are activating so the heart can be transformed.
When the 21 day breakthrough group began, I felt bloated. Full of self bullying. I was consumed with can’ts, living in a deprivation, negative talk mindset toward my body. I was operating from a place of lack. And holding on to some things from my past.
In 21 days of daily community, collective prayer, honest questions and consistent journaling, I released. I moved forward by holding onto truth and letting go of a few lies that had been holding me back. Most of which I didn’t even fully know until I decided to seek new breakthrough.
I released a person. I let go of a belief. I released religious teachings and mindsets that were not serving me. And one of my greatest breakthroughs was letting go of an ongoing story I had been telling myself. This was a story of thirty years that began in 1992.
I took hold of the gospel that says I am set apart. I am set free from things connected to my body. I can soothe with something besides chocolate. I can wear a two-piece bathing suit in public and that has nothing to do with the number on a scale. I can get a tattoo and fully live out all God has called me to be.
If you are feeling defeat, inadequacy or a lot of negativity toward yourself and your food struggles, I want you to know there is hope. Consider these questions as you navigate these big emotions around your health.
1) Do you measure your worth as a woman by the size of your jeans or a number on the scale?
2) How often do you compare your body to your sister’s, a friend’s, or a stranger’s on instagram?
3) Do you ever make mental comments about your body and your physical appearance that you’d never let another person say to you?
If you can identify with even just one of these, I want you to know, “ME TOO.” But not anymore. There is hope. But the solution is not just a good nutrition plan and more time on the treadmill. Those help. But the solution includes relying on God more than the food you soothe with. It requires radical shifts to pursuing Christ more than you do your perfect health. And it requires a deeper dive into God’s heart toward you because shallow desires produce shallow results. And the Lord has more for you from the inside out.