Food.

21 Feb

It’s a powerful thing, isn’t it? It’s the thing that keeps us alive…but when we eat too much, it kills us (albeit indirectly). The stereotypical modern American lifestyle revolves around it. Every occasion is an occasion to eat. And eat, we do.

I have a hard time with food. Mostly because I have a hard time with my body image. I exercise and eat right for the health benefits, yes. But I would lying if I didn’t say that 95% of the reason I do those things is because I want to look a certain way.

That may come as a surprise to some since I’ve been fairly thin my whole life. Growing up, I had a fast metabolism and never worried about what I ate or how much. I just ate whatever I wanted. If I wanted a doughnut, I ate a doughnut. If I wanted a chocolate milk and PB&J on a bagel for lunch every day for months, I ate it. I was free from worry about food.

I envy those days. I want them back. My life now is consuming with thinking about food. Make sure I eat a certain number of calories, consume enough protein, don’t eat refined carbs, stay away from fried foods, and on and on and on.  

All self-imposed rules, might I add.

This issue is coming to the forefront now because I have been counting calories for the past 3 months. Counting calories was something I had steered clear of for several years after becoming a Christian because I felt like I couldn’t do it without my body and weight becoming idols. I even blogged about this very thing a little less than a year ago.

But somehow, this time I was able to convince myself that monitoring my calorie intake with a microscope was ok, that in fact, I was taking better care of my body by making sure I didn’t eat more calories than my body really needed. And I was making sure that I consumed enough protein (something my diet legitimately lacks, since I am not a meat lover).  

No matter how long I think about it or in what way I think about it, I can’t come up with a God-glorifying justification that I actually believe. I just don’t buy it. For me, this can’t be glorifying to God. How can it be? I’m living trapped in this fear of overeating and gaining weight. Other Christians may be able to diligently diet in faith. I am not one of them.

It’s sadly a truth I’ve known all along and tried to deny. I didn’t want that to be the truth because that meant I wasn’t glorifying God. Which meant that I shouldn’t be dieting. Which meant that I would gain weight. And that would be the most horrible thing in the world (I am being facetious). 

So after a few days of uncontrolled eating (and way too many sweets), I’ve admitted that not only is calorie counting not working (because it makes me feel either constantly deprived or anxious about eating), it’s wasting my life. The physical body I live in right now is not immortal. I won’t have this body in eternity. I will have a new body, a perfect body. A body that will no longer be my idol. Just think of all the prayers I could say or verses I could memorize if I channeled my obsessive energies there!

I admit that giving dieting up scares me. It is the area of my life that I control. If I count my calories, I get to decide how much I weigh and what my body looks like. If I let go and trust my body and God for natural cues, He gets to decide it. What if He decides to make me fat?!? is the thought that immediately runs through my mind.

FYI, I know that thought is stupid.

But it’s my fear that helps me see that not only does faith apply to this situation, it is necessary for success. I can’t conquer this alone. I need the Lord to help me. I need to trust that: 

1) He cares deeply about even this vain little trial. “I came that you may have life and have it abundantly,” Jesus said. 

2) He has equipped and will sustain me with everything I need to live a life that is glorifying to Him, weight issues included.

3) He will continue to love me unconditionally and perfectly through it all, even when I fail, sin and pity myself.

4) His definition of beauty is the one that matters and is valid. The world’s definition does not and is not.

5) I am fearfully and wonderfully made. That means that not only am I beautiful the way I am (because I reflect Christ in me) but my body is an amazing thing that baffles even the smartest scientists. It is an intelligent work of art and I need to respect it…by trusting it to know what it needs instead of using external cues to determine that.

I am re-reading the book Intuitive Eating. I liked the book when I read it before but I realize now that I was trapped in what they call the “One Last Diet” mentality, thinking that if I did just one more diet, I would finally reach the point where I was satisfied with my body and once I got there, I could then figure it all out.

Well, I still haven’t gotten there so I’m re-reading the book. I’m taking it seriously this time and fighting the urge to count calories. I am done with that!! (Feel free to ask me anytime if I stuck to that!) No more diets for me. This book isn’t necessarily biblical but it’s all about listening to your body, respecting it, and taking care of it–a lifestyle that I feel would honor and glorify God more than dieting does.

So there you have it. I plan to blog about how things are going. I’m sure that there will other random crap thrown in along with it but hopefully, this “journey” will benefit others as well.

3 Responses to “Food.”

  1. cadaver bone September 7, 2014 at 8:50 pm #

    Everything is very open with a precise explanation of the issues.
    It was truly informative. Your website is extremely helpful.
    Many thanks for sharing!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. So about that… « - March 6, 2009

    […] chinese for dinner tonight didn’t help. I honestly tried Intuitive Eating from when I wrote my last post about this until yesterday…when I broke down and logged my calories on Livestrong. “Just […]

  2. Finally, peace with food. « - December 5, 2009

    […] It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about my relationship with food. I wrote about my desire to eat intuitively instead of counting calories in February and then about my failure at doing so in March. After […]

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