I was a beautiful child with a beautiful soul. Little by little, life experiences convinced me I wasn’t enough. My teen years and 20’s consisted of a perpetual state of diets and rebounds from diets. Regardless of how good I looked on the outside, on the inside, I was broken. That brokenness led me down a path of borderline anorexia, and I definitely got too thin. It wasn’t enough to just be a healthy weight. No, I wanted to be skinny. I was chasing something that was absolutely not of God. I’m not saying everyone who diets is doing so to be skinny. Some people are genuinely overweight and desperately need to get weight off. Some people really just want to be healthy and could not care less about how they look. Diets are not the way to go. Let me explain why.
Disclaimer: I’m not a dietician, but these are simply my opinions. If your doctor advises you to go on a particular diet, then you should probably consider doing so. If you feel convicted to go on a diet after praying consistently about it, then you absolutely should!
Diets are temporary. Lifestyle changes are permanent. My advice is to make a few small changes at a time, and stick to them. If you love sweets, honor that! The key is moderation. Will you reach your ideal weight overnight? No! Will it take time to get there? Of course. More time than if you were dieting/drastically reducing calories? Yes. But, that’s ok. You know why? Because it’s teaching you to love yourself now. You make the choice and the commitment to stick to a change in your lifestyle—that’s love! Love is a choice, after all.
You know why dieting is counterproductive in helping us achieve a healthy weight? Diets set us up for failure. The whole concept of a “diet” is based on the notion: Be miserable now, so I can be at peace later. We tell ourselves, “If I can just deprive myself for this short amount of time, then I will reach my goal weight and be content. Then, once I’m content, I will be able to eat normally and maintain my new weight.” That doesn’t work though. Peace comes before permanent weight loss. Peace enables permanent weight loss, not the other way around. I’m not saying you should be content with your weight if you’re unhealthy. What I am saying is you must discover your worth, prior to losing weight and love yourself despite the fact that you aren’t perfect. A content person, a self-loving person, is good to themselves. They don’t starve themselves. They don’t eat when they aren’t hungry, and when they are hungry, they eat! Sounds easy enough, but I know all too well, it’s not easy if you aren’t at peace with yourself. Food is a void filler. Skinny-ness is a void filler. We are trying to fill a God-sized void, and it just won’t work with anything that isn’t God Himself. If you are living out your purpose, you don’t even have time to over eat!
So, now that we have established that diets set us up for failure, let’s talk about how failure sets us up for more failure. When we set out to go on a diet, we are in a sense, making a promise to ourself. When we fail, we aren’t just failing, we are breaking a promise we made to ourselves. Now, I can’t speak for anyone else, but when someone breaks a promise they made to me, I lose trust…faith in that person. The more promises to yourself you break, the less likely you will be to succeed in anything. This is why I recommend making small changes, or even just a small change—one you know you can stick to. Then, after a while, make another one, and another one. The more promises you make to yourself that you keep, the more faith you build in yourself.
You know what’s more effective than any diet I ever went on? Prayer. I don’t just mean saying a prayer or two and hoping God answers it. I’m talking about consistent, daily prayer about a particular thing. The more you pray and the more consistent you are in it, the more you prove to God that thing is very important to you. Have faith God will hear it. God’s will is not for us to be obese, anorexic, or bulimic. It’s His will for us to have a healthy relationship with food and our bodies. My advice is to pray daily for God to heal your relationship with food. If you’re overeating or under-eating, it’s a signal of a deeper underlying issue— that being something lacking in your life. My prayer is that you will ask yourself, honestly, if you are putting your faith in God instead of your diet.
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