my struggles with weight loss and stress eating

by mendibpng

In the midst of packing for the village and getting ready to go to Australia, I thought I’d do a little navel gazing about one of my favorite topics: food!

I spend a great deal of time thinking about, preparing and eating food. Because we live in a country where we can’t eat out or buy much pre-packaged food, I find myself working hard to make things from scratch. It activates the creative itch I have and it settles a basic need for me to feed my family of seven. I usually don’t know what I am going to cook until the day of because I have to have an urge to cook something before I can make myself do it. I usually try out at least one or two new recipes a week just to keep things interesting. I also make large portions of food because my kids are eating more as they get bigger.

I grew up in Indonesia and Malaysia, where flavorful food is plentiful and delightful. In my years here in PNG, I’ve worked on learning to cook my favorite dishes and it makes me feel a teeny bit less homesick for those faraway lands.

One of the consequences of loving to cook and eat is gaining weight (sigh) Before I had children, it seemed like I could eat anything I wanted and the pounds never added up. I added weight with every child and the pounds are a lot harder than I ever thought to lose! I would do it all again, though, for the chance to be a mom to my beloved children.

With missionary life comes a share of transition, culture stress and just general living stress (these are topics which I seem to cycle back to regularly on this blog). I often find myself stress eating…a little chocolate here, a few bites of leftovers there and voila! I’m back where I started. I think cold weather also makes me want to eat more, since when I am in our hot village sweating profusely I hardly wish to eat at all. Ukarumpa is located in the highlands so we have chilly nights…which means I want my comfort food!

One of the things I have appreciated over the past year is encouragement from my friend Kristen, who is a successful Weight Watcher. I tried doing South Beach but got fed up trying to figure out how to do that here with the lack of ingredients. With Weight Watchers, I learned that I could eat vegetarian food for a lot less points AND not go hungry. Also since coming back from furlough, the price of groceries has gone up and so losing weight and keeping my store bills down has led me to work on increasing vegetarian foods in our diet. I found that not only is it serving those purposes but I’ve also felt better physically since doing this. We still have meat but in smaller portions and I limit my carb intake. Additionally, I’ve been working hard to get myself to the market at 6:30 am several times a week so that we have plenty of fresh fruits and veggies…veggies are free on WW.

So far I haven’t lost much weight because I need to start exercising. But, one step at a time, right?


4 Comments to “my struggles with weight loss and stress eating”

  1. Keep it up, Mandy! It’s one more thing to add to the balance with kids and village prep and miscellaneous trips to Australia, but you can do it! When we come back from furlough, maybe we can be workout buddies together. 🙂 Love you and all your introspectiveness – it definitely challenges me!

  2. Ben and Mandy, I have finished reading your blog from the beginning. What both of you have written here has been healing and inspiring for me. Thank you. I am deeply grateful to God for your lives and for your openness in sharing your lives with others. May God richly bless you and meet all of your needs through Christ Jesus.

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