I hate daytime talk shows such as “The Talk,” “The View,” and “The Real,” but I got sucked into TBN’s “Better Together” before work July 19 because Laurie Crouch, Victoria Osteen, Deedee Freeman, and Holly Wagner were discussing bad habits. The fact the show aired the day after my birthday, when Charles Stanley started a two-part daily devotion about overcoming the flesh, wasn’t a coincidence. Since my late teens, when I was living with a father who beat and choked my mom and called me stupid, I’ve relied on two things to get me through life: frosting and relationships. Although both actually made me feel worse, and I started using the former to deal with the latter, they became default settings nevertheless because, as Freeman said, I went to them first in times of trouble.
Eventually, Wagner said, you have to ask yourself whether your bad habit, or default setting, is destructive — to your family, your soul, your health, and your future.
“Is it messing up what you really want?” she asked. “If the reason you keep eating is because you feel stressed and sad, but you know that the end result is that’s not gonna help you reach what you want to reach, then you’ve got to start dealing with that.”
“Stressed” doesn’t even begin to describe how I’ve felt since age 9, when my father first grabbed my mom by the throat, but at 5-foot-8 and 110 pounds, I could still eat cake and burn it off, so I didn’t have much incentive to stop binge eating. So, I didn’t. Even after I repented for my sins and became a Christian. Even after God gave me food allergies, prompting me to write a lengthy blog post that ended with the Bible’s admonition that the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty. Even after I became homeless.
The week before I got baptized last August, God took away my frosting cravings, but I broke the hell out of my foot six weeks later, and every cow who’d been harmed in the making of the buttercream got his or her revenge as I packed on pound after pound.
Come March, as my foot began to feel better but my lower back became sore, I knew a sponsored ad for a free kidney test had shown up in my Facebook newsfeed for a reason since I’d discovered I have nephrocalcinosis, which can cause kidney failure or death, in December 2015.
Not surprisingly considering everything I’d consumed while I’d been stuck in a former coworker’s basement and a law firm full of liars, all the “normal” results of my blood test were at the high end of each range, but my phosphorus level was flagged as “HIGH.” This can cause a heart attack, stroke, or death.
With no health insurance or money to buy phosphorus binders to keep my body from absorbing too much of the mineral, the number of foods I can eat and like decreased from 10 to three. But on the upside, God delivered me from the rest of my cravings in June, so I’ve been sugar free for over two months. And I feel better than I’ve felt in years.