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Does the current state of the world, with the recent tragedy in Florida and the upcoming Presidential election, create stressful feelings for you? How about the state of your immediate family? Extended family? Or employment? Financial concerns? Pressing health needs? Anything else?

We’ve all got a lengthy list, and perhaps that’s why so many of us are overweight. Although genuine happiness, health, peace and joy may seem in scant supply and fleeting, there is always a steady abundance of genuine problems – and food! Though there are always healthy choices, it’s the unhealthy foods and quantities that seem to be much more available and appealing when we’re feeling stressed, low and overwhelmed.

As infants and small children, being fed often (and frequently when we weren’t even hungry, but experiencing negative emotions) made the world a happier, better place. As adults, however, we know that once we are physically full, food has done its job. Yes, our heads know that food never protects or comforts us. Our hearts, however, remember the comfort that food once brought. Even when we weren’t really hungry.

The truth is that although eating has a genuine place in socializing and a joyful life, food gets taken advantage of (and our bodies as well) when we allow and turn to it to fill a bigger role than it was meant to.

Food is not medicine.  It is not God.  Why?  Because:

  1. The hurt will still be there after the food has been eaten.
  2. Eating fills your stomach, not your heart or your life.
  3. After overeating, there are now three problems:  a) the one you ate to run from; b) your physical discomfort; and c) the guilt/frustration and disappointment with yourself for turning to food again.
  4. No matter how much you eat or for how long, the feelings and reality will always come back.
  5. Food and eating will never make illness, rejection, sadness, loneliness or fears of any kind go away.

What can we put in food’s place?  When we’re physically full but still want to continue eating? How about the promise of a crown!

“Blessed is he that endureth temptation; for when he  is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” (James 1:12)

One of my favorite women uses the expression “A jewel for your crown in heaven!” to say “Thank you!” and “Good job!” to her children and friends.  Can’t you just picture busy angels assigned to vast crown rooms where they encrust golden crowns with our good deed gems, both large and small?

This scripture promises more than a heavenly crown for the eternities, for the word “life” means alive – which we are right now, today.  So the crown of life is earned and comes when we endure temptation – today!

Though food-related temptations may forever surround us, the bigger temptation is to forget who we are – royal children of God and heirs of Christ the King with crowns unnumbered for both now and our eternities.

Whether or not we feel worthy, there are crowns we’re meant to wear today from the Crown Giver who offers them in the hopes we’ll take at least one.

When temptations to overindulge (and forget who we are) come creeping in, here are some good reminders about life.

Each of the following is a little mantra/prayer we can quietly whisper to ourselves, and each spells out the word life – so that we can bring good things (like a healthy weight) – to life! It’s fun to print these out
and pretend you are Tevye from Fiddler on the roof and say them with a smile and enthusiasm,
“To LIFE! To LIFE!”

1. Too much food/stress?  Simplify decisions by doing the next “right” thing and

Live
Independently
From your
Environment (Carrying your water bottle and having several low-cal freezer meals and salad fixings ready for stressful days helps too)

2. Regretting a mistake or sadness? Turn to the Lord for strength and remember that

Lessons
In
Failure
Educate! (The tragedy in Florida puts every little bummer into perspective.  Get over it!)

3. Feeling unloved and depressed? Remember that

Love
Isn’t
Found through
Eating (To have a friend, we must be a friend first, so go do something nice for someone else instead of eating!)

4. Needing a kick-start?  Get out a picture of a baby or someone you love, or stroke a pet as you

Laugh!
Imagine!
Focus!
Energize!

5. Impatient for any number of situations to improve? Take a deep breath, release to the count of 10 as you roll your shoulders.  Repeat twice then

Listen quietly
In
Faith and
Expectation

6. Reluctant to exercise? Turn on some peppy music and

Leap
Into
Fitness with
Enthusiasm!  (Try it for just 10 minutes and see what happens

Well, there will always be plenty of problems, and plenty of excuses NOT to eat wisely. It’s up to us to see the crown ahead of us and know that today, in its quiet little way, is a great one to embrace LIFE and the choices that make it healthy and happy. There’s a crown ahead, and I, for one, am going to grab it! Today’s recipe might be a fun way to do so!

Roasted Vegetable Salad

If you haven’t roasted garlic before, you need to know that it is way different from raw garlic.  It’s very mild and a little nutty.

Roasted Vegetable Salad
(Serves 4 @ 140 cal.)

1 bulb (entire head) of garlic
1 medium sweet green pepper
1 medium sweet red pepper
1 medium sweet yellow pepper
1 large yellow onion
1 Tbsp. olive oil and vinegar
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 medium ripe tomato
1 tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley

  1. Core, seed and slice peppers into strips about 1 inch wide; slice onions, core and cut
    tomatoes into 1″ cubes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400. Separate the garlic into individual cloves and peel. Place in an ungreased 13x9x2 baking pan along with remaining ingredients except tomatoes.
  3. Place the uncovered pan in the oven and roast the veggies for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomato and continue to roast, uncovered, 15 minutes more.  Keep stirring every 5 minutes or so.
  5. Stir in the lime juice, put it in a pretty bowl, and garnish with parsley.

Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success, One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life, available HERE. She has been providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999 presenting for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups. She and her husband Bob are the parents of five children and grandparents of ten. They are now happy empty nesters in Jackson Tennessee, close to Memphis where they center their online business and Carolyn serves as the Primary chorister.