I never used to read them. If it looked good, it was all that mattered. Easily seduced by the promise of scrumptious, sometimes I could barely wait to get it home in my mouth. Of course, I had glanced at warning and headline. But yum always won. But then too many good years produced this Goodyear around my waist and I was way rounder then I want to be. For a while, I tried to decipher the Latin labels. Monos, polys and lots of unpronounceable things to preserve freshness and add color. Then I just focused on carbs, salt and calories. Even tried to do the math. Eh, eating became a chore. Finally I did the third-world diet and starved. It worked; I was skinny, grumpy and more healthy.
When we are young, we are invincible. We live carefree in the grocery store of life, grabbing for all the cookies and beer from the top of the food pyramid. Doesn't matter, whatever it is, we'll just burn it off or move through it. But then our metabolistic wishes change. We settle in to the base of the pyramid to stabilize our worlds. Security becomes more important than hedonism. It's easy to sit fat and happy at the bottom, lethargically looking up to what was. We think climbing to the top is for the young folks.
But there is nothing wrong with chips and beer. Our faith continually pushes us with ways to find happiness. Our God wants us to be happy, even if it takes MSG or high fructose corn syrup. But our faith also warns of the Goodyear repentance diet if we go too far.
The key is to not dive head first into the chips with our mouth under the tap. Although drunk and happy might seem like a good idea, it can be a painful, false happiness as we live through the hangover. It's fine to tip one or two, but there will be hell to pay if we fail to remember boundaries
In mature faith we learn that we must have balance and moderation. Happiness comes from the glow of satisfaction rather than the potato chips of easy living. Take time to read you own label and make sure you are putting the right stuff in order to get the best of you out.
If you're struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.