After almost nine years of marriage, I recently went with my wife to see my first chick flick in a movie theater, The Age of Adaline. Honestly, I was nervous. I felt my heart racing before the movie started like I was waiting for my turn on an amusement park ride. I wasn't sure what would happen if I allowed myself to experience my emotions on this level. Thoughts like, "What if this triggers thoughts from the lifestyle I lived before I submitted my life to Christ at 18," or "What if I fall asleep and ruin this date night," and the most scary to me, "What if I start weeping in front of my wife." I didn't like the thought of not being in control of my emotions with going into this unknown area of chick flicks.
As I reclined back (yes our theater has seats that recline...they're awesome) I experienced something that completely changed my thoughts on chick flicks...
Truth be told I thoroughly enjoyed the movie! I was in shock of the emotional experience this movie gave me, and I actually enjoyed talking about different scenes from the movie with my wife as we drove to pick up our two kids. What I realized, for the first time, is the need in the human heart for emotion experiences like this. If you're reading this as a woman, this is not a new thought to you, but this is something most men overlook. Honestly, most men, including myself are afraid of having emotional experiences because they leave us in a vulnerable state.
After I spent the start of this week thinking about the importance of these emotional experiences, three things stood out as my "must learns" as it relates to chick flicks and our attempts for maintaining a healthy relationship with our diets.
1) We need to understand our need for emotional experiences
From P90x, to running in races, to signing up for new boot camp classes, these emotional experiences encourage us to stay motivated with our healthy eating. Let's be honest, without motivation, eating chicken and broccoli is not always exciting. We need something to be emotionally excited about to help us look beyond our current disciplines to see a future reward.
2) We need to understand that our emotions do not define us
Just because vegetables are typically not an emotional experience, doesn't mean we don't have to eat them. Many nights I may not feel like eating lean protein and veggies for dinner (even when prepared in a fun and tasty way). I might feel like eating a big pizza instead, but I have to remind myself that my diet isn't defined by my emotions...neither am I. Watching The Age of Adaline this weekend I experienced a lot of different emotions, some really good, and some more dangerous. If I made the dangerous ones my reality, my marriage might not see year ten. If I made the longing for the "first kiss" a reality in my heart, I would eventually seek it out from someone other than my wife, because that "first kiss" emotion will never be a reality with us again. But the emotions we experience are so much greater than the ones we had at our "first kiss." We have a love deeper than I could ever imagine, and a commitment stronger than an emotional lust for a fleeting mirage of satisfaction. Our diets have to have the same commitment. Our diets, to remain healthy for the long haul need commitment. If we stay committed there is a joy far greater than the emotional lust we experience when we binge eat at night or eat a delicious fast food meal instead of picking the healthy options.
But don't neglect the importance of taking a rest from the discipline of eating healthy. This is like a marriage with only daily disciplines and never the great emotional experiences like I mentioned above. Making sure you enjoy the emotional experience of happiness that a doughnut, chocolate or a bowl of ice cream brings is great...just don't let that emotion control or define you. Stay focused.
3) We need to understand everything that glitters isn't gold
When we watch late night TV we see quick fix diets that definitely "glitter." These diets sell you ideas like eating as many carbs as you want is beneficial as long as you just take this "carb blocking" pill, or you can get six pack abs sitting on a couch while your stomach vibrates. These things have a sparkling glitter to an eye that doesn't want to face the reality that a healthy diet takes commitment through every storm life has to offer. In order for us to have a healthy relationship with food, we must have a marriage level commitment to our healthy diet. So remind your oatmeal next time you're eating it that your commitment to healthy living is deeper than the bland taste it offers at times. Tell your egg whites that even if they look fluffy, you will stay committed to them. Remind your avocados that they are your favorite kind of fat. Have some fun in your relationship with food, but never forget the importance of a solid commitment. It's the only way to make healthy living a lifestyle.
Please hear me, with food and marriage perfection isn't the goal, but rather, the goal is to enjoy the journey with each other. To embrace disciplines, to enjoy emotional experiences, to give yourself grace when you fail, but to never get knocked off track by the "glittery" objects promising a quick fix along the way.
A healthy relationship with food is sowing seeds to your relationship one day at a time. I hope you have a great day, and keep moving in a healthy direction!
God bless you!
Cody Bobay, NASM CPT, PES, CES
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