As a kid, I never understood the story of Lot’s wife: the woman who looked back at Sodom as it was being destroyed, and was turned into a pillar of salt.
What was so bad about looking behind her? It might not have been wise to pause while fleeing for her life in order to get one last mental snapshot. Especially after the angels who’d rescued them had specifically told them not to. And there is something infuriating about watching it happen. Nothing fills me with more anxiety-derived rage than that part in a movie where a character loses time by glancing back at the thing that’s chasing her. But being turned into salt seems a harsh punishment, for such a small thing. If she’d run back to the city, I’d have understood; but all she did was look. As a child, I couldn’t imagine being able to resist the temptation to watch burning sulphur raining down from heaven. Even now, I wonder. She was stealing once last glimpse of her home. Her belongings, her friends, even some of her own children – all destined for destruction. What kind of discipline would it take to leave all that behind, with eyes straight ahead? Why would the angels give such a difficult order, and demand such strict compliance?
I think I know, now.
I am Lot’s Wife
We have a tendency to romanticize the past. To forget the bad, and remember only the good. Especially when our current circumstances are less than ideal. I know. Because for the last 2 days, my brain has been trying the same thing on me.
I am a sugar addict. It hijacks my brain, which then tells me to do things I know I shouldn’t. It takes over my life, becoming a part of every thought, every plan, every action. It steals hours and days away from me. It promises freedom, but turns me into a slave. And then it makes me miserable and fat.
I don’t want that. I’ve never wanted it. I’ve finally found a way out of this mess, and I want nothing more than to leave it all behind. After only a week, I feel stronger and happier. I’m not hungry, my cravings are minimal, and I’ve lost weight.
So why on earth am I having moments – however brief – of nostalgia?
I was miserable. Miserable. There is nothing about that life that I want back. I want to run away, as fast as I can. Grateful beyond anything that I’ve managed to escape that pain.
And yet – I find myself looking back.
A Wistful Yearning
As much as I hated the way I was eating, there were things I liked about it. I’m not going to go into detail about my favourite foods, the tastes or the smells or the bliss of that 1st bite. But in spite of the guilt, eating was one of my favourite things to do. It was a way to forget. A way to avoid harsh realities. To distract myself, to take the edge off any unpleasantness. And yes, it could be really fun.
When you start BLE, you leave that all behind. You eat to live. Nothing fancy, nothing exciting. Three short meals, and in between those, you’re on your own. Without any food-derived comfort. It’s hard, and it’s boring.
It’s easy to start having regrets. To miss your old life, and wonder if the self denial is worth it. The guilt gets downplayed. You wonder if you really felt that bad, that sick, just from eating the foods that everyone else seems to enjoy without any negative consequences. You start to think that this whole lifestyle overhaul was a bit of an overreaction. Surely, you can handle just a little bit. Just a few, perfect, blissful bites of heaven.
Don’t do it. Shut it down, now. Fantasies about the foods you used to indulge in serve no useful purpose, and they’re more powerful than we give them credit for. Allowing them to creep in is playing a dangerous game. It will only drag you back down.
It’s Not Worth It
Don’t look back.
Look forward. Look ahead to the life you’re building. And look at what you’re achieving right now. At the freedom you now have to live. To create and be productive and fulfill whatever purpose you were made for, without waging a constant battle with food. This is the life you were meant to have. And it is enough.
The angels knew the importance of not looking back. Because looking back represents indecision. It hampers your progress. And by indulging that desire, you run the risk of returning to that thing you were trying to get away from.
Don’t look back.
I am escaping pain and misery. There is nothing behind me worth a backward glance. I will not be Lot’s wife. Not today. I’m not getting turned into a pillar of salt.