Monday, September 13, 2010


When I asked “What lie do you tell yourself to justify eating ___?” Julia responded with the following:

I often use any success I can achieve as an excuse to reward myself with a treat, effectively un-doing the good I did! For example, "I only weighed _____ this morning, so I can have ice cream!" or "My blood sugar level was great today, so I'll eat two cookies instead of one!" or "I walked three miles today, so I can eat three slices of pizza!" I'm not saying there is no place for a special treat or a reward, but I do it entirely too much to call it a "special" treat.

First of all, Julia, yeah for the treats you picked – all special favorites of mine. I cannot relate to those who reach for a piece of hard candy. I’d rather sip on a glass of water than have to wait out the melting of something that will just leave a yucky film on my teeth and tongue anyway.

But, in all seriousness, most of us understand “treating” ourselves. And, truthfully, I don’t think “treats” are wrong. So where is the lie? Well, Julia pegged it when she said she did it entirely too much. Unfortunately, “too much” is ambiguous. I am walking a fine line here. Remember, this blog isn’t about eating the “right thing” in the “right amounts.” It’s about lies and truth. Julia disclosed she had crossed the line. How will you know if you have crossed it?

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Is it the “treat” that keeps you going?
  • Do you feel deprived if you aren’t able to have your “treat”?
  • How often do you think about the “treat” to come?
If the “treat” drives you toward your goal, the lie rules your mind, not God.

Let me walk you through the steps I would take to dispel this lie and replace it with truth.

  1. Recognize the lie as sin. (Anything that takes the place of God is sin. Allowing my thoughts to wander toward a “treat” or defining “treat” differently than how God wants me to is sinful.)
  2. Repent. Lord, I look for excuses to treat myself. I allow a success to be cause for a reward. Thus, I am “un-doing” the good. I confess this as sin and choose to turn from it.
  3. Turn from the lie to the truth. Let me reiterate that we want to replace the lie with truth.
It’s this last point I want to dwell on. Julia’s comment resonated with me. My husband and I spent 45 minutes debating the validity of treats. What’s wrong with them? What’s ok about them? When are they acceptable? Those sorts of questions. And then a thought popped into my head. What if we re-define “treat”? Society dictates what a “treat” is. But, why should we allow society to tell us what a special reward or treat is? “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2

So what else is a treat? Well, depending on how God defines your eating habits, other types of food could be a treat. I thoroughly enjoyed a grapefruit I ate the other day. I didn’t intend for it to be a treat, but it was.

What about physical activity or reading a book or alone time or facebook time? Could any of these be your special reward or treat for a job well-done?

I was excited to read this comment posted by Beth: “I actually have been diligent in my "diet" this week, and haven't really suffered from it at all. I keep reminding myself that I'm doing this not as a punishment, but as a reward to feel good. So, as a reward to me, I've been blessed by seeing the scale go down 4lbs since Sunday. YIPPEE!!”

This is an excellent example of replacing lies with truth. Beth’s reward was weight loss and feeling good.

I noticed recently my back hurts less when I stay away from sugar and dairy (read: ice cream). Less pain is a real treat!

What about you? What else would you consider a treat?


Laura said...

I don't know that it would qualify under the traditional "treat" category, but one of the main things that motivates me to try and lead a healthier lifestyle (food choices and exercise)is the knowledge that I "dodged a bullet" by not suffering any long-term health issues by how I used to live. Ten years ago, I still smoked and weighed about 90 pounds more than I do now. Thankfully, and by the grace of God, I've been able to take the steps I needed to in order to turn things around before I did any serious damage to my body. So, now, my "treat" is the natural high I get from knowing that I'm doing all I can to be a good steward of this miraculous machine (body) that God has blessed me with. I try to look at my food choices and exercise routine as a form of thanksgiving to God, because it is He who gives me the strength to make good choices (when I do) or to "get back on the wagon" (when I don't).

Barb W said...

Excellent! Thanks for the great comment.