Why is food so confusing & overwhelming?
It’s because everywhere you turn, someone is telling you what you should eat, when you should eat it, how you should eat it & why you should meal prep it.
Never mind the pictures on social media that make you believe everyone else is eating a plateful of glitter dusted chicken & broccoli.
But you hate broccoli. You eat it anyway because the diet you were on 3 diets ago, told you that the fiber in broccoli would flush everything out of your system & you would lose weight. It hasn’t worked yet, but you keep holding on hope that you’ll find the perfect combination of broccoli & some other food which will immediately give you a cover model body.
Maybe you’ve held on to bits & pieces of all the diets you’ve been on all your life & now you are on a new one & you are totally confused. Worse yet, your body is confused. It didn’t know what to do with the pre-packaged food you gave it on the last diet & now since you started following Dr. X’s low carb, low fat, vegan diet, you are so drastically restricting your calories, your body is once again confused.
Ok, now seriously, it might not be this bad but then again, maybe it is.
I was once foolish enough to buy a book that promised me I could eat anything I wanted & still gain a flat belly by blowing up a dozen balloons every night!
We have all fallen for outrageous claims in our search for the perfect diet.
Why do we fall for these diet traps so easily?
Partly it’s because we don’t really know we have a choice. We think in order to achieve “health” we need to follow some sort of guideline. And if that guideline comes in the form of a book written by a doctor then we assume the advice must be golden.
We also think that failure of our previous diets is our own fault. The diet must be good or other people wouldn’t follow it. Would they? We think the fact that our will power ultimately plays out on us is our own fault.
We will never be able to obtain complete self-control unless we are doing it in the perimeters of the Holy Spirit as our Helper. Galatians 5:22-25 tells us that self-control is specifically a fruit of the Spirit. Without the Spirit we simply cannot have self-control on our own. We might be able to fake it for a while but ultimately the ability to have self-control in our own flesh will wear out & succumb to the thing we are fighting against.
Living in self-control can only be driven by a force called grace. Grace wants you to live free within boundaries, but not be motivated by rules that keep you performing for acceptance (aka diet cycles).
So the only way to ditch your current diet plan is to answer a question. Why are you on a diet?
Is it because someone made you believe you should be a certain size? Is it because you want to achieve a certain look or maintain control over your appearance? Maybe it’s because you actually are truly medically overweight & need to shed a few pounds for the sake of your health. Do you want to have better abilities at the gym & feel better over all in day-to-day activities?
Whatever your reason, it’s got to be filtered through your values & who you believe you are in Christ. See a “diet plan” might not actually be bad if it gives you guidelines that you release to God in order to follow them. But if those guidelines lead you to shame & guilt or feeling like a failure, then that plan is not for you.
If a particular plan is also asking you to eat extremely restricted calories, pre-packaged foods or specifically at certain times of the day, then I would advise against this as well.
You can find freedom with food & remove yourself from a cycle of a diet culture. Here are 3 steps to put in place to guard yourself against falling into the trap of yo-yo dieting:
START WITH A FOUNDATION – it’s super important to have an understanding of whole foods, intuitive eating & proper nutrition before embarking on any kind of diet plan that requires following certain guidelines.
For example, following a Paleo type diet is not bad for you but if you don’t understand the why of it, how to know when to eat by cues from your body & how it makes you feel, and then you’ll ultimately give up on it.
Go back to the basics. Consider a nutrition coach to guide you through this.
UNDERSTAND THAT YOUR BODY NEEDS DIFFERENT THINGS ON DIFFERENT DAYS - the problem with most diet guidelines is they only let you eat a certain amount of food each day. But the day you mow the yard, your body’s nutritional needs are vastly different from the day you sit on the couch binging on Netflix all day.
Honoring your body’s need for whole food will help you know how & when to fuel it. This goes back to knowing how to eat intuitively & understanding basic foundational nutrition.
GET RID OF THE ALL OR NOTHING MENTALITY – Life is meant to be enjoyed. That doesn’t always mean you have to indulge in food to enjoy it but frankly, sometimes food will be part of that enjoyment.
Skipping the cake at your child’s birthday party because of your diet rules is hogwash. Eat cake! Celebrate! Then get back on your whole foods diet & be thankful that God gave you the ability to enjoy things within boundaries.
If you eat the cake & then go home & decide you’ve already ruined the whole day & eat more cake, plus probably some chips for dinner & a bowl of ice cream for dessert, then you’ve fallen into the trap of “all or nothing thinking”. This is exactly what Satan wants for your life. For you to feel like a complete failure.
God wants you to enjoy the good things He’s given you & live in abundance. Abundance does not mean over-indulgence. When was the last time over-indulgence felt like abundant living to you? You can’t remember because all you remember from those crazy binge-eating sessions is the guilt & shame you were left with.
Ditch your current “diet” & choose grace. Check out more devotionals on healing your physical health in Christ.