Redefining Healthy Habits“The Creator of the universe lovingly created you, fearfully and wonderfully.”
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other…”Matthew 6:24
God knew our minds and hearts would be divided. He knew the enemy would relentlessly attack through worldly culture and our desires.
Diet culture shifts our pursuit of a God who promises abundance to its strongholds of fear, worry, shame, restriction and willfulness. Diet culture shifts our focus from the beauty of God’s transformative power to the ashes of superficial change. It deceives and promises that our will power and its “solutions” are all that we need. It creates a toxic relationship with food and our bodies, and then preys on it. Yet, despite knowing that the only sustainable lifestyle it creates is one of restriction and binge, we continue to worship at its altar. In our attempts to look and feel differently, we’ve grown comfortable in its shackles and blind to its deception. Diet culture has spun us around for so long that we no longer know what is healthy. We no longer trust God’s provision or our bodies. In truth, we are now consumed with worry about what we eat and what we look like.
How has diet culture led us so far from God’s provision and His promises? We are led by our fear that we don’t measure up. We are enticed by its messaging that it is the solution, which is quick and easy. It twists the truth from a spirit of self-control to self-reliant willpower; from honoring our bodies so that we glorify God to setting our appearance and physical health above Him.
Breaking Up With Diet Culture
When we seek God first, including in our relationship with food and our bodies, we experience fullness and freedom; healing and strengthening; peace and joy. He created the foods that perfectly nourish our body so that we can focus on our purpose rather than our stomach.
The Creator of the universe lovingly created you, fearfully and wonderfully. Through His Word, He reminds us of our beauty and worth so that we know in our bones the width, length, height and depth of His love, freeing us from seeking our worth in the things of this world or in our reflection. When we seek His uncomplicated, unchanging truth, when we choose to put Him first and depend on His wisdom, surrender to His will and live by His Spirit, we are empowered to demolish every stronghold of diet culture. We will experience the fruit of the Spirit. We will be satisfied and experience a peace that surpasses all understanding. When we seek the Kingdom first in all areas of our lives, it is well with our soul.
God knew if we worried about food and our appearance, diet culture would take our thoughts captive. Not surprisingly, our good, good Father did not leave us alone or unarmed in this battle. Throughout His Word, the truth about food, the truth about who you are and all you were made for is found. Let’s put on the full armor of God which makes us strong and equips us with His mighty power so that we can stand firm against every scheme of diet culture (Ephesians 6).
Redefining Healthy Habits
Despite diet culture’s complicated, ever-changing definition of it, nutrition is actually quite simple: to sustain with food that is necessary for life, health and growth. Eating enough nutrient dense foods is the foundation of health. These foods fuel your body and supply the necessary energy so that you can fulfill your Kingdom purpose. The Creator of your body and the foods that best nourish (honor) did not abandon us to navigate diet culture alone. He tells us what is necessary for life, health and growth:
The human body is best nourished by a diet that is predominately vegetables and fruit (Genesis 1:29). A solid foundation of nutrient-dense veggies and fruit nourishes so that appetite is satisfied, and you can focus on the Provider rather than the provision.
In Genesis 9:3, God gives us everything that lives and moves for food. Eating protein replenishes, restores and repairs; it strengthens and fills.
Throughout the Bible, the beauty and necessity of bread (grain) is proclaimed. Bread represents abundance, security, worship and life. In Exodus, God rained down manna, the bread of Heaven, to physically sustain His chosen people. In John 6:35, Jesus teaches that He is the true bread that spiritually sustains for eternity. As a staple food, its symbolism is powerful: God’s provision, life and salvation, forgiveness and our daily need for God’s Word.
Food is a gift that God intends for our enjoyment (1 Timothy 6:17). It brings us together in fellowship (Acts 2:46). Food provides comfort, a reminder that dependence on God is our true source of fullness and peace (Psalm 107:9).
God doesn’t want us to worry about food (Matthew 6:31-21). He doesn’t want us to worship food either (1 Corinthians 8:8).
He cautions us not to over-indulge but to enjoy good things with a spirit of self-control (Philippians 3:19; Proverbs 25:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
When you look in the mirror, see yourself through God’s eyes. See the truth of your worth, beauty and purpose (Psalm 139; Song of Solomon 4:7; Ephesians 2:10; John 15:16). Lay your relationship with food and your body at the foot of the Cross. Seek God first in this battle. His Spirit will renew your mind and transform your heart. Make God the greatest desire of your heart and He will make a way. He is a worthy master who is always for your good. Through a Kingdom first lifestyle, true health is found.
Practical Tips for Eating Healthy:
- At meal times, fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit and a quarter with protein. The other quarter will consist of unseen or added fats (fat found in foods, used for cooking or those you add such as dairy) and grains.
- Eat a diverse array of foods. God loves variety and it is not surprising that we are best nourished and satisfied by variety.
- Savor your food: sit down at the table, give thanks, chew each bite slowly, enjoy the fellowship of others during mealtimes. Food is a gift that slows down our busy pace and strengthens relationships. Savoring our food allows the body to absorb more nutrients, gives us time to recognize fullness and increases satiety.
- A well-nourished body will work for you. Restriction and elimination always increases food worries and cravings.
- Break Through: 6 Weeks to Demolish Diet Culture Strongholds
- You Are His: 21 Day Devotional to Anchor Your Identity in Christ
Carol is a Christian author, speaker, blogger and coach. She has authored two books: “BreakThrough: 6 Weeks to Demolish Diet Culture Strongholds” and “You Are His: 21 Day Devotional to anchor your identity in Christ.” Saved at 40, Jesus transformed her professional life and led her to found Fuel Your Body, Feed Your Soul—a ministry dedicated to healing women’s relationship with food and their body through ignited faith. Carol lives in Birmingham, Alabama where she—more likely than not—can be found in her kitchen cooking for her four kids and husband.
This article was originally titled “Well & Good” in the January 2022 issue of Peer.