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Rejecting Diet Culture Without Neglecting Body

Apr 08, 2024

This post is by Kelli LaFram.

 

Dear reader, please know that as you read these next few paragraphs, I struggle with the issues surrounding this topic. While I know and understand the importance of exercising self-control and stewarding the physical body the Lord has given me, putting what I know into practice is another thing altogether. If you feel the struggle too, know you are not alone. You are part of the body of Christ, which is full of people who can pray with you and walk with you in your struggle. I encourage you to seek out believers and resources to help you along the way. Only by grace, Kelli

We live in a culture that bombards us with all sorts of ideas about what we should or should not consume, how much or how little to eat, even when or when not to have a meal. Every time we long into social media, turn on the TV, or open a magazine, we are pelted with messages from different “wellness” companies that tell us how to nourish ourselves. And at the root of it all, there is an underlying message that if we glorify our own bodies through diet and nutrition, we will have attained some gold standard of health and happiness.

This message is false, and we must reject it. However, in rejecting this false message, we must be careful not to neglect the temples of the Holy Spirit, our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). I have lived on a pendulum that swings between idolizing diet culture and retaliating against it to the point that I do damage to my physical well-being. Neither position on this pendulum honors God, but for the purpose of this blog, I am focusing on the latter.

Proverbs 23:20-21 tells us “do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags” (emphasis mine). This is a serious warning. If we are women living on a mission for God, if our desire is to serve him and those around us, how can we do it if our “drowsiness clothes us in rags”?

Even when we want to rage against the “wellness” machine, we must still take care to properly nourish and energize our bodies. Staying well-hydrated and choosing whole foods have the potential to honor God and further His kingdom. Let me illustrate.

When we binge eat a bowl full of candy, we eventually sugar crash, right? Depending on how much sugar we consume, we might end up shaky, nauseous, fatigued, or with a headache. We may even end up very irritable or anxious. And these symptoms don’t affect just us; they affect those in our circle of influence as well -- our friends, family, co-workers, and so on. If our bodies aren’t functioning well, we will struggle to serve in the areas the Lord has called us to.

This is just one example of how what we consume can hinder how we live on a mission for Jesus. And it’s not just physical. Living in a state of retaliation against the diet industry can begin to consume our minds. Instead of spending our time meditating on God’s word or praying without ceasing, we can become hyper-fixated on all the things we are going to eat (or not eat) just because we can. Then later feel a sense of dread or guilt because of what or how much we binged.

But there is hope. We do not need to live our lives focused on food. Here are a few behavior changes that may help correct a rebellious spirit:

- Keep a food journal and pay attention to how your food choices make you feel, both physically and emotionally.

- Create meal plans and shop for food options that nourish your body.

- Avoid foods that tempt your desire to rebel against diet culture.

- Cultivate gratitude for God's provision and blessings in our food choices.

- Seek guidance from mentors, nutritionists, or even a mental health professional.

You may be surprised by the last item on the list. However, mental health issues and eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes, and seeking professional help can provide valuable support and guidance on the journey to a healthier relationship with food and body image.

Above all, remember to “set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:2). Diet and wellness culture are earthly things. Whether we are making it our idol or viciously retaliating against it, we are choosing to focus our attention there instead of on our Savior. When we take steps to prioritize our relationship with Jesus above all else, including food, diet, and wellness culture, we can experience His love and compassion guiding us towards true fulfillment and contentment in Him. In His presence, we can rise above the fleeting standards of earthly pursuits.

Heavenly Father, you have created us in such a way that our physical bodies require food. Thank you for providing us with different ways to truly nourish your temple, our bodies. Whether we have made an idol out of food or are rebelling against the diet culture, please forgive us. Help us to surrender our nutrition choices to you. We trust you and ask for freedom from any agony that we feel around food. For your glory, we pray. Amen.


Kelli LaFram is actually Kelli LaFramboise, but no one can pronounce that, so with the permission of her family she writes under the shorter pen name. Her neighbors have started referring to her bunch as the LaFram Fam. In addition to writing for Hello Mornings, Kelli has led Bible studies in her home and serves in the children’s ministry at her local church. Kelli is an elementary school teacher and her hobbies include blogging about God’s word, listening to audiobooks with her children, and drinking good (decaf) coffee. You can find her at www.quietlyreminded.com and https://www.instagram.com/kellilafram/.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

 

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