Today I will be returning to visit Jim. Jim is not a friend. He is not a member of my family. In fact, he doesn’t really exist.
Jim is what I call my YMCA. Actually, it’s more than that. Jim is who my YMCA is to me. I created the concept of “Jim” shortly after my son was born in December – I had the desire was to lose the baby weight, but zero desire to workout. I tried to rethink how I was viewing exercise. It dawned on me that I thought of it (as most of us do) as something I was supposed to do, not something I actually wanted to do. So, I put the following picture in my head.
Do you remember when you first met your spouse? Some of you have to think back many many years for this, but stay with me. Think about the first few months of your relationship. How many times did you drive somewhere just to be with them for a few minutes between jobs, or school? When you were away from that person – what were you thinking of? When I first started dating my husband, everything else in my life became less important. We spent many hours together in 20 minute segments between his job and my curfew. I would drive to the church just to hang out with him as he cleaned it (he was a custodian at the time). There wasn’t any plan that was safe if my boyfriend suddenly became available. Now – looking back, I know this was NOT healthy, and I certainly don’t advocate that kind of obsessive behavior – but remembering that feeling helped me with my exercise motivation. I pictured the YMCA not at a building with treadmills and weights, but as a person – “Jim”. I put myself back in the over-the-top, can’t get enough of you, completely in love stage of life and inserted Jim as the new boyfriend. It worked. I fell in love with Jim and have been a dedicated girlfriend for 6 months.
I realized yesterday (when missing Jim – he’s closed for cleaning), that I’ve conquered the working-out problem with Jim, but I have another addictive/obsessive problem to deal with. It’s commonly known as eating your feelings. It manifests in my life during periods of stress, happiness, guilt, worry and boredom. So, pretty much all the time.
I’ve been struggling with an emotional issue recently that takes many hours of prayer each week to keep in check. It’s a problem that could consume my life if I didn’t daily turn it over to God. Two days ago, it slipped out of control and yesterday I was feeling just terrible about it. I know, it’s not nice to talk about something but not really talk about it – that’s just how I roll. The point is, my eating-my-feelings-feeding-frenzy was just below the surface all day long and I could tell it was going to be a rough night. I’ve recently started to think of food as an addiction in my life, that classification simply meaning even when I know I’m craving food for the wrong reasons (anything but hunger), I can’t seem to wrap self-control around it. So, as the evening wore on – I cracked. I pulled out my demon, cheese. Loaded up a plate with some tortilla chips, piled three cups of cheddar jack all over and got it melting into a fantastic smelling dish of nachos. As I stood there, mesmerized by the sight of all that gooey deliciousness, I felt a jolt of disgust ripple through my body. I ignored as I brought the platter to the table. I passed it off as a lesser emotion as I lifted the first cheese laden chip to my mouth. Then, just as I was about to bite down, I literally saw it splashed across the dinner plate…G-U-I-L-T. It was as if a sign had been placed, like a dollop of bean-dip, right in the middle of all that food. I wasn’t about to eat nachos, they were just a vehicle for me to consume my guilt.
I’d like to say that I pushed the plate away and gained control of the remainder of my night, but I wouldn’t lie to you. No, I didn’t eat the guilt via nacho cheese – but still managed to choke on it through rice crispy treats and a peanut butter sandwich, washing it down with a bag of kettle corn.
Thankfully, my YMCA is back open today and I’ll be heading to see my boyfriend this morning. Until I can figure the whole obsessive/addictive thing out, I’m content to channel it into the quality time I spend hanging with Jim.