Why Is There Fried Chicken on the Throne of My Heart?

Sounds like the beginning of a keep-your-chin-up, chuckle-from-your-gut book, doesn’t it? (I loved the way Atlanta columnist Lewis Grizzard titled his books: Shoot Low Boys. They’re Riding Shetland Ponies.)

I recently read a post by a friend of mine who is on his way to losing as much as weight as he can. I’m not sure what his ultimate goal is, but he’s lost 80 pounds so far — primarily from altering his relationship with food. He has started to think about it differently. He is aware of portion, how many calories he’s putting into his mouth and what that means to his waist line. You see, he was well over 400 pounds. His health was starting to see the serious repercussions that come from carrying around that much weight, but his motivation wasn’t about his health. It was about his son.

As he stated so eloquently in his post, he realized that he was giving higher priority to enjoying one of his favorite indulgences (wings with blue cheese dressing) than he was on building a life with his son. He couldn’t take his son to sporting events because he couldn’t fit in the seats. He wouldn’t be able to take his son to places like Disney World because not only would he not be able to keep up, he, again, wouldn’t be able to fit in the seats for the rides. He had memories of he and his own father enjoying such times together. He concluded that if he kept on his current weight and health track, his son would have those memories with someone else. He was allowing his love of food to steal something very important from his son — those relationship building moments with his father.

I have not gained as much weight as my friend, but I have gained an unhealthy amount as well. It’s happened slowly over ten years, except for the thirty pounds I gained with my two children. So, I “suddenly” found myself 60 pounds overweight, hating to see pictures of myself and avoiding looking at myself in a full-length mirror. What has weight gain stolen from me? A sense of beauty. I think every woman should think of herself as beautiful. It’s how God thinks of us. (And by beautiful, I don’t mean that in a comparative sense; i.e. you are more beautiful than someone else.)

Like my friend, I looked up and found fried chicken sitting in that place in my heart where God never intended it to be. I have an emotional relationship with my food, and, strangely enough, food doesn’t comfort me, make me feel better or answer my deepest questions. It just makes me feel fat and ugly and ashamed. Gluttony, my friends. There’s a reason it’s one of the seven deadly sins.

I have started on my road to living differently. I have lost seventeen pounds so far, but my relationship with food is still out-of-balance. It’s still a struggle. But for my own sake, I can’t give up this time.


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