I mentioned HERE that the hubs and I had an opportunity to visit the Bahamas on a staff retreat with his work.
To say I was excited about going is an understatement.
5 days without kids?! 5 days not being needed to wipe bottoms, tie shoes, and pack lunches?
Ummm, when do we leave?!
But to say I was apprehensive about wearing a bathing suit in front of people (PEOPLE I KNOW) is an understatement.
Words like horrified, disheartened, aghast and other synonyms I searched for under the word AFRAID were what I was feeling instead.
So I knew I had to try to figure out a realistic way to get my body into some kind of non-scary state for the beach.
And, for me, it all boiled down to one super simple tip.
Are you ready to get ready for your swimsuit – you hot mama, you?
Here’s what you need to do –
STOP EATING AFTER DINNER.
No 100 crunches or 400 planks or 50,000 Russian twists or 10 million squats or 9 trillion butt lifts (although these can be helpful if you’re into sweating).
No P90Xing or T25ing or Insanity-ing or listening to Jillian yell at you for 30 minutes 10 times a day (also helpful if you like torturing yourself).
Just stop eating after dinner.
I sat down one day and asked the Lord why I was so afraid of my own body and He quietly revealed to me that a lot of my body image issues were stemming from an area in my life that I had yet to fully surrender to Him.
This area called overeating at night.
As the Lord shed light on my sin, I realized just how much peace I was losing over this.
Because I could be solidly disciplined in my 3 meals a day plus one afternoon snack (usually THIS), but as soon as those adorable children had their last drink of water and potty run and the circle of emotional support stuffed animals were in place, my craving to munch kicked in.
I worked hard all day long chasing around 2 monkeys.
I deserved something delicious.
I deserved an opportunity to eat copious amounts of crunchy things.
Yes, I could sit down with a bag of trail mix or granola or ice cream and before I knew it, be staring at the bottom of the package.
Then I would go to bed bloated and wake up angry.
And still bloated.
Then the whole cycle would repeat.
I knew I was holding onto about 5 extra pounds because of this nonsense and it was wrecking the way I felt about myself.
Then Lent happened and I thought, “Hey, if Jesus can NOT EAT AT ALL for 40 days, I can fast from eating after dinner for 40 days.”
Let me just say, I have a whole new appreciation for people who experience withdrawal from an addiction.
There were many nights where the hubs had to hold me back from chewing a hole through his shirt – like I was some kind of a rabid animal or something.
My teeth have never been cleaner because I probably brushed them 10,000 times as a distraction technique.
Sometimes we would finish dinner at 8 pm and I would go to bed at 8:01 – just to avoid the temptation.
Somewhere along the way, though, all the little tricks above began to give way to a genuine desire to obey God.
I looked to my greatest example and inspiration – thinking about how HARD it must have been for Jesus to sacrifice as He did in the desert for those 40 days.
But He found His refuge and power in something far greater than the feeling of sinking your teeth into a square (or 4 or 5) of dark chocolate.
I memorized Psalm 34:8 and stood before my
evil pantry saying,
“Taste and see that THE LORD is good!”
Because when you’re trying to kick a habit like finding comfort in food, you’ve got to find your strength and satisfaction in the One who is absolutely and totally enough.
The physical results of this challenge became secondary as I grew closer with Christ and let Him become my after dinner craving.
Do I do this perfectly every single night?
The hubs and I still like to have late night ice cream parties every once in awhile where we clink our spoons together and celebrate the fact that we survived another day of parenthood.
The difference is now I am trying to be more conscious of how much ice cream I eat and my heart behind each bite.
Is this your story, too?
Try my little trick for a few weeks and let me know how you feel.
Then go get that bathing suit on, girl.
I’ll meet you by the water’s edge and we can celebrate our rockin’ beach bodies (well, as rockin’ as they get after bearing a couple of kids and dealing with things like um, gravity) by eating a properly portioned piece of chocolate before dinner.