Having a Healthy Relationship with Food

It can be a consoling spoonful of ice cream, a pleasure-filled fancy lobster dinner, or it can be regret telling you not to stop running after two miles. A relationship with food can have more ups and downs than your ex; and for many women in Western society, it does. Should this be the case? Is this normal? If normal is the majority, yes, but it definitely should NOT be this way. Not the way God intended.

Every Friday night we get together with friends and eat and drink stress away from the prior week, but why not? There IS reason to celebrate having rocked that work presentation you’ve been stressing over for a week. And that’s fine! Celebration is fine. In Biblical times, God encouraged feasting at special occasions such as weddings, family reunions, and right before Jesus’ crucifixion… Special occasions these were! And feasting did occur.

But fast-forward 2000 years and what is considered “reason to celebrate” now seems to have been stretched like one’s pants after the feasting. I don’t think shepherds splurged and slaughtered an extra calf, just because they were exhausted from keeping all the sheep that day. That was expected, and clearly that kind of work is more demanding than studying for a test for a couple hours. Yet we find little triumphs such as this deserving of a happy hour martini, and on a daily basis.

The bottom line is to remember why food exists and was created by God, and that is to sustain life. It was not created to be a source of entertainment or pleasure, although it can be in moderation. Moderation is key, but Americans are not used to the idea of healthy moderation. We often over indulge or under indulge, and for most, it’s commonly both going back and forth from day to day, trying so hard to find balance. And KEEP balance. But how can we keep the balance when we see a commercial on TV for Papa John’s pizza immediately followed by a Victoria’s Secret commercial. How twisted can these messages get?! And sadly this common American misconception goes hand in hand with eating disorders.

Go around the world before Western culture plagued a great number of nations. A study was done in Taiwan before the region had access to Western culture, and there were no reported eating disorders. After some years of Taiwan having access to American images in advertising and media via television, internet, magazines, etc., girls started getting eating disorders.

Food has become much much more than fuel for the body. It has become a crutch and a demon, a means of pleasure and an obsession. All descriptions that don’t equate to a healthy relationship. Also, these feelings towards food can cause us to neglect recognizing and receiving the nutrition that the body desperately needs. This obviously seen in eating disorders, but also in casual binge or comfort eating, along with depriving the body during unhealthy diets. It’s much more than HOW MUCH we are consuming but also WHAT we are consuming. And different nutrients promote different areas of health in the human body, each needing attention and nourishment.

Food is fuel, and that is how God intended it to be. To perceive it as such is to honor God in that aspect of living. As Christians, our physical body serves as a temple for the Lord, treat is as such and nourish it.

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