I am a bit obsessive about measuring, recording, and tracking my health habits. I’ve kept a spreadsheet with the details of my every run and workout since 2000. I weigh myself each Sunday, adding that information to my spreadsheet as well. As of this writing, I’ve logged on to a calorie counting app for 784 days in a row, entering the calories for everything I’ve consumed, from a cup of black coffee to a breath mint, without missing a day. I admit it’s reached unhealthy levels. Too often I delay the start of dinner to put in 456 calories for a slice of meatloaf. I’m afraid that if I don’t enter the details of the meal promptly, I’ll forget what I had to eat. That fear prevents me from enjoying the meal. Like the calories I take in, moderation is the key, but I can’t seem to moderate my need to track my calories.
All of this was made worse by the out-of-control feeling I had during the days of lockdown and quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic. Counting my calories gave me the illusion of control, which I learned was a poor coping mechanism. During the worst of the struggle, there were days when I was tempted to log on to the app and enter the next day’s calories as well, anticipating my meals and quantities to get a head start. That’s when I knew I had gone too far. I had taken what was supposed to be a healthy habit to an unhealthy extreme.
My prayer in those moments, to help me back away from the ledge of obsessiveness, became: “Thank you for my daily sustenance.” It helped me not count my calories before I consumed them, and, instead, to focus on God’s provision for that day and for that moment.
What is the “bread” you need to be sustained today?
God who provides, take away my anxiety about tomorrow, my greed for more, and my hunger for control. Thank you for your provision today. Amen.