Right, so, first, I can hear you asking, 'What's a 'podvig'?' Well, it's a Russian term that has no direct translation into English. The most common definition I've come across is, simply, 'spiritual struggle' - a means of drawing nearer to Christ as we travel on the path to salvation.
As Anna put it in a recent video, podvig is 'understood as the ascetic struggle. As a path that you take that is almost unique to you. I mean there are certain things that people have done over the ages that are similar but every person- Okay, let's put it like this. Since we view sin, in the Orthodox Church like a terminal illness. Not terminal illness, but an illness, and that one needs Grace to over come it. The means of getting to that Grace is your podvig. It's- It's the specific medication that you need to get better. To overcome sin. So not everyone needs the same medication. The same way of handling their sinful temptations.' (I've transcribed this as best I can.)
So, we all know that I have a weight problem. Yes, I do have a thyroid disorder, but that's not why I weigh too much, or at least it's not the whole, or even *main* issue. The fact of the matter is I love to eat. I eat too much, of things that aren't good for me. I indulge. I *loll* in it. It's not even sugar or candy or things like that. Meat, potatoes, gourmet meals. Mmmm....Food. I love *food*. I love the taste of it, the feel of it, the sensation. I love going out and eating, or staying in and cooking. I love to drink, pretty, sugary, 'girly' drinks, or doing shots to drink the boys under the table (that being said, I haven't had an alcoholic drink in months. My lack of 'portion control' with alcohol is more worrisome to me, so I've stopped all together. Though to be honest, I've 'stopped' before, and slipped back, but never to the degree I did prior to stopping, so it's kind of gone in stages. But I can go out to dinner now and *not* feel like I *have* to get an alcoholic drink. I still *want* to, but I *don't*.). Clearly, I'm a glutton. I mean that's just...that's just clear? Right?
I'm *not* saying that everyone who is overweight is like me, or is offending God, or something. I'm saying, for me, I've finally realized that my weight is because I indulge my every whim when it comes to food. I have trouble going, 'No, I don't need that food, I'm not hungry.' It's a personal issue, got it?
I've started with a personal trainer today. My parents got me, for Christmas, ten 45 minute sessions with her. Along with the exercise she'll be directing what I eat, and how much. I'm determined to *obey* her, no matter how much I don't want to. And I'm thinking, I'm thinking, honestly, that this, this learning and obedience to her is a part of my path, a part of my podvig - to learn to stop giving my flesh whatever it wants, even when it's not good for me.