Self-Controlled or Obsessively Controlling?

scale and veggiesI haven’t posted in a while. I haven’t had much to say. I hadn’t been doing very well with my eating. It has been frustrating. It was like I relapsed into the mental place I was in a long time ago. A place where every day I would wake up and say, “today I will eat better.” I would succeed with my breakfast but at some point before or after lunch I would blow it and lose control completely, I would say to myself, “I’ll try again tomorrow.” The most frustrating part of all of it, was that I really thought I had overcome my food and eating issues. I know what freedom under control with food feels like but couldn’t get back to it.

A week ago something switched in my head and I got back on track. Since then, for a week, I have eaten almost perfectly. Everything seemed to be going really well until I realized something last night. My goal can not be perfection. I have gone from being out of control with food, to obsessively controlling food. Two embarrassing examples of my obsessive control: 1. a few days ago my hubby told me to close my eyes and popped some chocolate into my mouth, I spit it out, 2. a friend offered me two cake pops, one for me and one for my daughter. I said, “just one please.” She handed me two anyway, I handed it back to her and said somewhat desperately, “please, I just want one.” The sad part is, neither of these things phased me at the time. I thought I was doing a good job staying in control.

I met up with a good friend who is a mentor to me. She has really helped me through a lot of my food issues over the years. When we met up, I thought I was doing so much better just because my eating had been on point all week. She reminded me about the difference between being controlling with food and being free. I realized in order to escape my chains to food, I found a new pair of handcuffs to obsessiveness. And now, I am looking back and seeing this glaring tendency I have always joked about. I have called it an all or nothing mentality with food. But it’s even more than that, it’s either obsessively controlling or compulsively eating. Neither healthy.

So I think I have a few more things to really think about here. What does freedom really mean? My goal is freedom with food. I’ve said it a million times, I want to be able to enjoy food, to have enough self-control to eat just one brownie (or cookie, or scoop of ice cream, or whatever). I hate it when I feel I don’t have control and fall into a kind of bondage with food. Here are some verses that have spoken to me about this.

1 Corinthians 6:12
“Everything is permissible for me”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”—but I will not be mastered by anything.

Galatians 5:1
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

I have been very focused on my fear of going back to a place of being mastered by food. I did not realize I had this fear. But I have been so afraid, that I have slipped into something new mastering me; obsession. (And, it’s really not new, I just hadn’t seen it before.)

What I see now is this; I thought I had it all together. I thought I had mastered my food issues (with God’s help of course). But I think what I might need in order to be successful with my food issues, is to remember daily, this will always be something I struggle with. There are two extremes I don’t want to live in: being out of control or being obsessive. While being obsessive seemed to help me be under control, it is a new kind of bondage. And as I sit here trying to have an epiphany about what to say about it, I think I can see there is no black and white answer. The answer might just be, I will never have it all together, the second I think “I’ve got this now,” I always fail.

4 responses to “Self-Controlled or Obsessively Controlling?

  1. I loved this post Carrie! It’s so honest and upfront about how even if you struggled with food issues once before.. it’s always a struggle. Thankfully, with God’s help we can overcome anything -that I firmly believe. He helps us through the impossible.. so when times are tough (and with food is often) we must lean on him above all else. Thank you for sharing this post. xo

    • Laura, I’m glad you enjoyed it. After years of being embarrassed and afraid to talk about my food issues, I found the first step in healing was being open and honest about it. That was about 6 years ago. And even though it’s still a struggle, I have come a really long way!! Thanks!

  2. Hi Carrie,
    This reminds me of some things I’m dealing with, due to a few recent medical test results. First, I’ve have a hiatal hernia for years (like my mom), which has now led to Barrett’s Esophogus. I also received a negative report about my LDL. So now, I pretty much have to be on a vegan eating plan. I’m frustrated because I’ve spent all of my adult years having to eat pretty conservatively – regularly denying myself unhealthy (though preferred) choices like fats and whites – but it hasn’t been good enough! So as not to get too wordy here, I’ll just tell you that I’m aware that my only hope for success is to avoid extreme thinking. I’m sure I’ll be eating animal products now and then, and chances are I’ll overeat in the “good” categories (like too many peanuts). I’m not making going to make any proclamations. I’m only saying that I’m heading in a certain direction. I’m just “trying,” and I’ll get back on track when I stray. We’ll see what happens.

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