Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I've been on a hundred diets and lost ten thousand pounds. Once, during my Atkins Diet Dispensation, I discovered something that was so wonderful it almost brought tears to my eyes. It’s the Russell Stover Sugar-Free, Low Carb Chocolate Candies. I had deprived myself of chocolate for so long that I secretly feared that I may never know such carnal pleasures again. I envisioned myself as a cocoaeunuch from henceforth and it was a depressing thought.
Then Russell Stover came to me – in the depths of my dieter’s despair he came and lifted me up from the sweetless wasteland where I lived and set my feet on chocolate ground. May his name be blessed! Russell Stover delivered me from the prison house of chocolate deprivation.
Long had there been civil unrest in the depths of my being, as my dictatorial dieter’s will held me in slavery, while my yearning for chocolate had regularly chanted “We shall overcome.” Now at last my appetite cried out, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, free at last!”
When I discovered this Russel Stover's Candy, I thought the millennial reign surely had begun. It felt like the earth had righted itself and all life made sense again. All was right with the world. The famine was over and chocolate had returned to its rightful place in our lives.
I bought low carb caramels, a low carb version of Butterfingers, low carb peanut butter cups, low carb chocolate covered peanuts, even a low carb version of M&Ms. It was a a dieter’s nirvana. With those first bites of chocolate, I savored the delicacy. Then for the next week, I ate the candy with no restraint – freely enjoying it with the same guiltless grace that I felt hadn’t been known since Adam and Eve walked naked in the garden and were not ashamed. After all, it was low carb!
I gorged on this cocoa-manna that seemed like it had surely been dropped from heaven. I felt that truly I was experiencing life the way it is meant to be enjoyed. I never varied from my low-carb routine at mealtime. But in between, Russell Stover and I became best friends.
When Monday rolled around and it was time to step on the scales for my self imposed weekly weigh-in, I stepped out of the shower and onto the scales with no fear at all. After all, I was on a low carb diet that had been working for me. But as I looked down at the number on the scales, I was shocked. Surely I was misreading what the digital number said. I stepped off the scales to give it a moment to reset, then stepped back on again. The number was the same. My heart sank. Anxiety suddenly flooded my emotions and it seemed as if the fat demons of the universe were taunting inside my head, “Gotcha! Sucker! You gained more weight this week than you had lost in the previous two weeks!”
“What happened?” Those words bounced around inside my fat head, indicting me again and again. “I ate low carbs this week!” I protested. Then it hit me. “The candy! Could it be the low-carb candy?” I quickly dressed and went immediately to the kitchen to read the nutrition panel on the bags again to make sure that my memory of the carb count was correct.
As I stood there in the kitchen, barely dressed and with my wet hair still sticking straight up on my head, I anxiously studied the nutrition information on the back of the candy bags. Then I saw it. The other column – the one that listed serving size and calories per serving. I was shocked.
Suddenly the scales made sense. I had indeed eaten low carb meals all week. But with this candy, I had eaten enough calories to feed a family of three for a week in some poverty stricken countries of the world. It was a lesson hard learned – low net carbs can still mean a lot of calories.
The whole thing boils down to what I call the “If This-Then That Principle” I thought that if I ate a low carb diet, I would still lose weight. Was I ever wrong. “If I do this, then that will happen.” I’ve learned that life in general often doesn’t work that way. Just because “this” is true doesn’t mean “that” is true. There are variables that keep the “If This-Then That Principle” from becoming a universal law. God is not a vending machine where you put something in to get something out. That is a legalistic mind set.
I used to think that if I read my Bible enough, I would become the person I wanted to be. If I would pray enough, I would feel spiritual. If I shared the gospel with unbelievers, my Father would be proud. On and on the list went. I don't think that way anymore. Now my actions are motivated because of His love for me and what that creates. I read the Bible because I want to, not because of duty. I pray because I find the desire in me instead of the demand I used to feel.
I'm free from the "if-then" trap and never been happier in my grace walk. As to my "weight walk," I still carry a 35 pound thorn in the flesh in my body, but I'm done with the if-then rule in that part of life too. Until the Father gives me some revelation,some deliverance, some impartation in that area, I'll just live by the verse that says, "He that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat" (Proverbs 28:25, King James Version). Okay, I'm kidding about that too, but I know it'll be grace that leads me onward there too. In the meantime, there shall be no grace toward "Job's friends" who tell me what I need to do to lose weight. "For the wages of condescending comments from thin people is being unfriended on FB" (Atkins 3:23).