The Most Holy Theotokos Diet and Anti-Gluttony Plan, AKA “She Sees You When You’re Eating”

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Christ is risen!

I found another great article, this one on gluttony and fasting, in an old Handmaiden magazine (Summer 1996).  It’s called “Gluttony, the Unspoken Sin” and it’s by Terry A. Beck.  Fortuitously, I found this article yesterday, the very day I decided to begin (yet another) anti-gluttony plan. 

This time, I am asking the Theotokos for major assistance  :-)  

Here is my abridged (and hopefully not utterly mangled!)version of Terry’s tips from her article:

1.  Learn to recognize true hunger — eat nothing until you feel your stomach growling hollowly.

2.  Take the fasts seriously — Terry points out that, ideally, on fast days, one eats nothing before 3 p.m.  Giving this a try might help us see that experiencing hunger is not the end of the world!  (I’m not so sure about the idea of forgoing breakfast — if anyone out there has fasted this way, can you speak to how you did with it?  I probably just need to be tougher on myself!)

3.  Pray not just before you eat, but before you choose your menu.  Terry posts scriptures on the fridge to help her remember to do this.  She says she often prays in this way: “O Lord, grant me the strength to choose food that will nourish my body, bring my head and heart satisfaction and peace, keep me walking in obedience to you, and remind me of Your ever-present goodness in my life.”

4.  Plan your hunger — by this she means, for example, that she tries to eat meals with her family.  If her stomach is growling at 4 p.m., she might eat a piece of fruit or something small to tide her over till mealtime.

5.  Learn portion control — try eating half a sandwich, for example, and see if that sates your hunger.

6.  Don’t be afraid to leave food on your plate — Terry says she’s learning to understand that “taste and see that the Lord is good” does not read “gorge and see that the Lord is good!” 

7.  Remember, this renewing gets easier with practice — if Terry falls, she gets up and tries again.  Her plan:  repent, confess, and encourage change with the Eucharist, Scripture, and personal evaluation.

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3 thoughts on “The Most Holy Theotokos Diet and Anti-Gluttony Plan, AKA “She Sees You When You’re Eating”

  1. St Theophan the Recluse, in his “The Spiritual Life and How to Be Attunded to It”, discusses how we are to fight temptation. All that language about ‘guarding your heart’ or ignoring the temptation as you would ignore a passing plane high in the sky or a buzzing fly – i didn’t know how to make practical use of it. But, St. Theophan gave some practical advice about how to do this, and I have found it a great blessing in dealing with temptation.

    First, anger is natural to us, but for one purpose only: to fight sin. Therefore, when we see or feel a temptation we are to summon up all our anger and focus it at that temptation (without images). Second, we are to say a prayer since we are weak without God, so i usually say either the Jesus Prayer or a quick “Lord, have mercy”.

    The hardest part is in simply identifying a temptation as a temptation. Our psychological culture has convinced us that we are to identify these ‘thoughts’ (temptations, sins) with who we are, our persons, our hypostases.

    Practicing this technique, and seeing the demons flee from prayer, also helped to explain the rather severe faces I have seen in icons and the faces of monks. It was not severity or meanness, but purposeful, concentrated anger at sin. Whenever I approached these ‘fearful’ people, their brows quickly unfurrowed and they were nothing but joy and love – the furrowed brows and angry countenance was for the inner warfare they were engaged in.

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