Day 6: Temperance / by Jeff Tacklind

I’ve been eating clean for the last few weeks.  It is my wife’s doing.  Patty has me stuffing food into little containers all day long.  Green for veggies, red for protein, yellow for carbs.  Everything is measured out, proportioned just right.  No more randomly grabbing a handful of something whenever I feel like it.

And so much water!  All day long I’m drinking.

At first it felt like a constant slap on the wrist.  So often I reach for some little comfort food.  A little more cream in my coffee, a handful of chips, a glass of wine at the end of the day.  All that is gone. 

You’d think I’d be struggling, but I’m not. Soon you realize don’t need all that sugar.  Your body starts burning food like fuel.  It feels really, really good.

It takes work.  It requires a bit more prep time.  It takes self-control.  It takes vision.  Vision to be healthier, leaner, stronger.  But even that isn’t really it.  It is something deeper.

Classically, it has been called temperance.  It means “going the right amount and no further.”  At first all those containers can appear confining or restricting.  They tell me I can’t have whatever I want whenever I want it.  But the truth is, I don’t really want it. Those foods make me slow. They hold me back. They make me tired.  They definitely aren’t what I need.  Temperance draws a line and says, “this much and no more.”

Our bodies know this already.  We’ve been designed.  We know what we actually need.  I read that our taste buds lessen in sensitivity as we near that point of being full.  It is the rule of diminishing returns.  Gluttonous eating means we’re stuffing ourselves with food that has lost its flavor.  Yet we keep on eating.

Temperance is knowing when to quit.  It sees past the illusion that if some is good then more is better.  Saying no can be so empowering.

Eating right is a window into abundant living.  When I eat right I feel alert.  My attitude is more positive.  I feel more active, creative, inspired.

No, food isn’t some sort of cure all.  And yes, you can become way too legalistic about this stuff.  But temperance is something that our world is in desperate need of.  Now if we could just find containers for social media, politics, entertainment, news, work, sports…