Two weeks ago, I learned that I now weigh as much as I did before I ever dueled with anorexia. That in itself is enough of a change to fan the flames of fear. Then, this weekend, my husband and I attended a marriage retreat in Staunton, Va.
I always fret over these types of “fun” events. They are anything but fun for me. My regular workouts are threatened by pathetic hotel gyms. Nice as everyone seems to think free food is, for an anorexic, the idea of a prepared plate being set in front of you is terrifying.
Who knows how much butter some careless caterer used on the mashed potatoes? What if they serve dessert? How do I say no when everyone is watching and moaning over how sublime the cheesecake is? On top of all that, a retreat is supposed to be relaxing and fun. For me, it is sustained agony in a place of temptation while bound by a bunch of self-woven rules.
The first night there, we went down to dinner. I had told them that I am a vegetarian so the caterer brought me a plate of pasta, drizzled with olive oil and flecked with onions, mushrooms and green pepper.
My darling hubby looked at my plate and asked, “Do you want my potatoes and green beans? I’ll eat your pasta.”
So we traded partial plates and I ate. I ate every delicious creamy swirl of potato and every green bean dripping with golden butter. And it was good!
But Day 2 was even more spectacular! At breakfast, I did not eat the special, safe food I had thrown into my duffel bag “just in case.” Instead, I enjoyed fried potatoes and scrambled eggs!
I tried to excuse myself from lunch, but when the waitress delivered a veggie wrap the size of a small torpedo, my tummy growled. The thin flour tortilla was crammed with veggies, cheese… and dressing. Some saucy, delicious, doubtlessly not-light dressing.
OK, OK. I’ll eat half. Oh well, I’ll eat all of it – it’s so good!
I could go on about the excitement rumbling against residual fear in my belly. Hope of a different future tantalized me – holidays not spent skulking in the kitchen to monitor the usage of oil. Date nights not wasted at Subway restaurant so that I can get a 50 calorie salad. What if….it doesn’t have to be that way forever?
If you have ever stayed awake counting calories instead of sheep, you know exactly what I mean. You know exactly the type of freedom that we have not danced in for so many years.
You may not be there yet. I didn’t think I was. But Jesus knew. And Jesus is the one who surprised me by throwing open the gates I have long hidden behind.
Oh the beauty of the view as I stand here in His arms surveying the landscape of blessing He has in store for me – and you.
Eating Treat Foods without Guilt (Constance Rhodes)
Back to basics… (Aubrey Strobel)
HEAL – Healthy Eating Abundant Living (Resource)