So, I’m on the 7 bandwagon as I mentioned a few posts ago and today is my last day of the food month. 

I could only eat seven foods and the number one question I’ve been asked is: “What’s on your list?”  So here you go:

I counted my smoothie as one (technically cheating, but whatever). Rice.  Bread.  Cheese.  Eggs.  Oatmeal.  Powerberries (these amazing, yet totally good for you!, dark chocolate covered berries from Trader Joe’s.)

Two weeks in, I realized two things specifically about my list.  One, I had only eaten rice three times in fifteen days and having Powerberries on my list didn’t feel very sacrificial of me.  So I traded out rice for peanut butter and Powerberries for apples.

How I “cheated”:
I took my kids out to eat one time and at the salad bar, asked Jesus if I could eat lettuce and ranch dressing.  (His sweet response, “Of course you can; I love you!”)  So I did, and happily I might add.
One morning I woke up to find that I had apparently made french toast in the middle of the night, and had polished it off with a glass of milk. I’m not going to go so far as to say I was ‘sleep-eating’, but it was close.  And technically, since bread and eggs are on my list, the syrup was the main cheat.
A friend had something super amazing happen to her last week, so we went out to celebrate.  I ordered a virgin Pomegranate Twist.  This comes with Grey Goose vodka, Pama Liquer, triple sec, a splash of cranberry juice and a squeeze of lime.  (Yes, I ordered a virgin like I’m a 19-year-old…long, long story…)  The waitress looked at me and said with an annoyed smirk, “So, basically, you want some cranberry juice?”  Umm, yes. Now move along.  So I had some cranberry juice.  And I ate one fry and four Irish chips in honor of the good news of the people at the table.  Even though some people’s good news was not current.  But, again, whatever.
I also put butter on my bread.
I put lemon in my water.
And I had a french toast bagel once at Panera, but that’s basically bread.
Other than that, I stuck to my list.

What this means is that for the past month I have not eaten the following, that I normally would’ve eaten a lot of:
Candy. Chipotle.  Pizza.  Panera pastries or you-pick-two combos.  Fast food of any kind.  Cookies.  Trader Joe’s dark chocolate caramels.  Orange chicken & rice.  Sprite.  Blackberry Izee.  My friend’s lemon bars that she made for me.  Powerberries at the two-week mark.  And nothing but a croissant at the retreat I went to yesterday (with three fabulous buffets for breakfast and lunch and dessert).

You get the picture.  I gave up quite a bit.

But here’s the thing.  It wasn’t the hell-on-earth I had been predicting.  And, sadly, it wasn’t the mountaintop spiritual experience I had been hoping for either.

But this is what I did find out.

One, I eat when I’m bored, when I’m mad, when I’m sad and when I’m lonely.  I hadn’t realized this until now, how much I try to fix or fill myself.

Two, I have more self-discipline that I ever would’ve guessed.

Three, doing this with a group of friends made all the difference.  Being able to text a friend and say “I WANT CANDY!” or post on our Facebook group, “7 is stupid” seriously got me through it.

Four, I can go without a whole lot more than I originally gave myself credit for.

But five, it’s nowhere near what most other people on the planet go without every single day.

It made me more mindful of what I put in my mouth and how flippant I am with my choices, and it made me more grateful for what I do have.  Seriously, an apple with peanut butter, a hard-boiled egg, and some cheese slices, especially while sitting on your porch on a sunny 65 degree March afternoon, make for an incredibly satisfying meal, if you can choose to see it that way.  And it made me a bit more generous.  I was able to help out a few people financially this month because of what I didn’t spend going out to eat or picking up a hamburger along the way.

Tonight my kids and I will break the fast and celebrate with pizza and Sprite.  And lemon bars.  And dark chocolate caramels.  Tomorrow I will meet a new friend at a favorite breakfast place and probably, if I had  to guess, not order eggs.  And Tuesday I will gorge on Chipotle.  In case you were wondering.

Tomorrow starts clothing…I’ll be wearing the same seven items of clothing (not all seven every day!) for the next month.  I’m committing to not doing any clothes shopping this month.  I already passed up the cutest dress I’ve seen in a long time that I would’ve normally purchased for Easter and instead I got something for a third of the price at a consignment shop.  And here are my cheats ahead of time…I am not counting shoes, but I’ll only be wearing two pairs, and I’m tossing in a belt and a scarf on top of the seven.  So there.

Looking forward to seeing what God does in my heart this coming month…and if I am dressed all boring, so be it.  To quote our fearless leader, Jen Hatmaker, “
I lived this month unattached to ‘looking cute’.  And no one died.”  I make no promises.

Life isn't always how we want it. When change seems elusive, and we're stuck in old routines, a gentle push or some self-reflection can make a difference. Let these questions be that nudge to get you moving.

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