Whispers preceded my approach into my sister's Zumba class this morning and beautiful Crystal informed me she had been telling her students about the fact that I absolutely never eat unhealthy food. This proves a quite common occurrence, actually, or situations much like it.
Hello. My name is Michelle and I am a recovered junk food addict.
As women interested in fitness often ask how I manage to avoid unhealthy snacks with apparent ease, I feel it might prove advisable to provide the story of how I went from consuming root beer and Reese's peanut butter cups for lunch to a strictly no junk lifestyle - and how much I love it.
True it is that as a teenager my eating habits proved absolutely atrocious. I would eat horribly and then avoid food altogether for unhealthy amounts of time. I never gained weight in this vicious and destructive cycle and also proved to maintain a healthy amount of fat, so others rarely even noticed my habits. Little by little I moved toward something of a healthier lifestyle but my impulsive junk food bane remained.
Cruising through my early twenties I came to care quite deeply for the welfare of a certain relative whose decisions had often proven rather spiritually damaging. I had long wished the best for this family member and had been quite gratified at his slow movement toward what I deemed a more morally appropriate lifestyle. Still, one aspect of his behavior troubled me. He continued drinking alcohol, which I felt deeply and miserably. I am not one to continually nag anyone to change their lives. My strategy in life is to love and accept people while remaining morally strong myself and encouraging others to a higher plateau. Drinking seemed to be a stumbling block over which he simply didn't seem to be able to hurtle. I began to become rather frustrated with him and found myself in prayer regarding the matter. My answer came thus, "You cannot ask someone to change their eating habits if you do not know what it is to do it yourself." I reflected that I had never drunk alcohol or smoked in my life, but I wanted to understand this concept better that I might be able to better succor others. The impression continued, "Think. What do you put into your mouth that you know quite well you shouldn't but yet you still do." The answer stared me in the face. Again the impression continued, "You need to first prove that it can be done before you ask others to give up something they put into their bodies. And if you stop eating junk food and then revert back and eat it again, aren't you giving others permission to stop drinking alcohol halfheartedly and then return to it later? Aren't you admitting that abstinence proves an impossible demand?"
The Lord knew me well enough to know this argument would change my life forever. Had He told me to give up unhealthy food for myself, both He and I knew full well I wouldn't be able to do it and stay true. But if He gave me a way to help others, to better others, and to set out on a quest of wisdom, He knew point blank that nothing in this world would stop me.
Quitting was hard. Withdrawals proved murderous. My social life suffered tremendously and in fact came entirely to a standstill. People didn't want to spend time with me because I would be munching on carrot sticks while they indulged in donuts. Even my siblings were uncomfortable around me and one of my sisters asked how long I was going to keep going with this bizarre fad. But I had a set purpose and a desire to understand something I had no other way of comprehending.
They have accepted me now and my relative fame goes before me in gym classes, family gatherings and the like. I am still viewed as quite different but in a good way and I often have people look at me in awe and ask how I do it. I do not even crave unhealthy food anymore. I can feel the difference in every fiber of my body when I eat well and when I do not and I relish the feeling of being clean as a whistle inside and out. I love to eat, naturally, but now I extend my munching into the gourmet, the different, and various international cuisine.
He never stopped drinking but through difficult experiences sent by a wise and loving Heavenly Father, that came to matter less and less to me. While I still would of course wish everyone to live a life wholly devoted to God and devoid of alcohol, tobacco and the like, I recognize that I have done what I can, and that the power to change his life rests in his hands should he ever choose to do so. But God blessed me tremendously in so many ways for acting on this experiment. I have found greater peace, inner strength, and volumes of wisdom, to say nothing of a much healthier physique. I feel as though I have risen above the smog and filth of my own poor choices and can see with greater clarity the cosmos as it really exists. And truly, it's better up here.