Sunday, March 2, 2014

Manna from Heaven . . .

I'm sure every blogger occasionally runs across a topic they want to write about, but are unsure anyone would want to read.  Some topics are too personal to put out there for the world to see.  I've been debating this post for a couple weeks, and I finally decided that since, in my case, the "world" that will see it consists of a half-dozen people I consider friends . . . here goes.

Regular readers have followed me through my 55 lb.weight loss.  Using Nutri-System, I finished 2012 thinner than I have been since our second child was born in 1992.  I was only seven pounds from my goal weight, and excited to set another goal.  For those not familiar with Nutri-System (NS), the plan doesn't contain any "magic" formula.  NS consists of nutritionally balanced, portion-controlled, low-glycemic index meals and snacks.  It's really nothing that hasn't been around since my mother was watching Jack Lalanne in the 1960's, it's just more conveniently packaged.  After a year, I knew the plan inside and out and knew I could recreate it on my own.

And I was right - I could buy all the right ingredients, cook the right meals, but I slowly began to "fudge" on the portion size, or eat the wrong things "just this once".  After all, it took me 20 years to gain those pounds, I wasn't going to gain them back over one cupcake.  And I was right - I only gained back 25 of them.  I knew I needed to get back on NS, but I fought with myself over giving up control - I should be able to do this on my own, I should be able to make the right choices . . . I don't need the "crutch" of NS.  Then God began to speak to me about the manna He provided for the Israelites in the dessert.

"The Israelites said to them [Moses and Aaron], “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” - Exodus 16:3
When the Israelites found their food restricted as they traveled, they began to whine for their old life where they "ate all the food they wanted."  They conveniently forgot that in that old life they were slaves to the Egyptians.  I was seeing NS as a restriction and longing for the days when I ate everything I wanted, even though I was a slave to food and miserable.  
"Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day.” Exodus 16:4
Nutri-System is the manna God has provided me - my nutritional needs are met, and with it I will never be hungry.  " the morning you will be filled with bread." - v. 11

"This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Everyone is to gather as much as they need." - v. 16   Notice, he said "need", not want.  

"Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.” - v. 19  Part of food "addiction" is the feeling that I may not get enough.  Never in my life, not even for a day, have I not had abundant food available.  I have never had to wonder where my next meal was coming from.  Yet, a food addicted brain says I have to finish this piece of pie, even though I'm full, because who knows when I will get the chance to eat pie again?  But God says I am not to worry about food for tomorrow - just be thankful for today's provision and trust for tomorrow's.

"The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan." - v. 35
Forty years! And I'm whining about a year?  Healthy eating and exercise are not temporary things.  They are habits for life.  In 40 years, I will be 92-years-old.  Perhaps then I will eat all the cupcakes I want.  If I return to eating the way I was pre-2012, I don't stand a chance of living to 92.
"The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat!  We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic.  But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” - Numbers 11:4
Once again the Israelites are whining about what they have to eat.  They want what they used to have.  So God gives it to them.  He gives them meat "until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it" (v. 20).   God allowed me to go back to some of my former habits - He doesn't force me to accept his gift - and I was miserable.  My new clothes that I was so excited to buy were uncomfortable. I didn't like the reflection in the mirror again.  

God is once again making "manna" deliveries to our house via the Fed-Ex guy, and the pounds are once again coming off.  I don't claim that Nutri-System is the answer for everyone who struggles with their weight, or that I will continue to eat it for forty years, but I do believe it is God's "manna" for me right now.


  1. Tami - I had been so busy sewing today that I hadn't read your post. People who read my comment here may take this wrong - but you know that I struggle equally with you as a food addict. When I just now read in your post that you had gained back 25 pounds my stomach flip flopped and my heart had a pain. It hurt me for you. As you know, I lost 30 that same year and gained back all but 10. I'm mad at myself. I know that I too whined like the Israelites and wanted my old ways back . . . because it is just plain hard work. BUT I want you to succeed again!!! I'll tell you again that you were such an inspiration for me to watch as you lost the weight. It amazed me to see you work that hard. It challenged me. It was definitely easier, I think for both of us, to have the other going through the same thing at the same time. I am challenging us both now. I think your message from the Old Testament is awesome! What struck me in your post is that yes the Israelites wanted their old life back so they could eat freely, but they forgot the downside . . . they were enslaved and trapped then . . . and they GROANED in pain and agony. That is key! I can eat what I want - I'm a big girl - I have the means to buy whatever I want - and when I do that - I am a slave to the things you mentioned . . . tight clothes, guilt, poor health, frustration . . . Well I have written a post myself . . . I got carried away . . . Wonderful thoughts!

  2. I had a friend who succeeded on NS. It was a do-or-die thing, regarding her career in the military. I'm glad that you've had good luck with it, too. I found something that works for me, but I got off track during my recent trip to the USA. Not quite ready to share it in my blog. But almost.

  3. Good for you Tami, both in posting this subject and in returning to the mode which gave you successful weight loss. A dear friend finally decided on a new path and has lost100lbs the past year, walked a half marathon and 5 & 10 k's etc. She wears a pedometer thingie and aims for a minimum of 10,000 steps/day.She is doing WW, and has about 70lbs. to go.I always tell people who talk about dieting that the word "diet" comes from a Greek word meaning "way of life".
    Prayer for God's Will to be done in your "diet" I know will be answered.
    God Bless.

  4. Yay! I think it's so easy to start fudging once off a system that the pounds are hard to keep off. And it's hard to convince yourself to give up the control again. I had success with WW but this year so far I'm just counting my calories (used a generic program I found online where I put in my weight, age, exercise level and it told me how many calories I could have each week if I wanted to lose 30 pound this year). I'm down 10 pounds but I have two cheat days. When I stop losing, one of the cheat days will have to go!
    55 pounds is such an achievement, it's probably where I need to end up, but 30 is reasonable and probably all I can handle this year.
    Happy and healthy eating and losing to both of us :)