Diet

Diet was a four letter word when I was growing up. Dieting was a self-destructive cycle that hinged on a disordered relationship with food and wellness. They were the quack schemes of the body image world, the motivation being a “get skinny quick” fix that had little to do with actual health. My understanding and opinion of dieting hasn’t changed, but the clarity of what a diet is has become increasingly confusing. Diet also basically means-what you eat. I’m not ON a diet, but I have changed my diet. …But does being intentional about my food automatically make me on a diet? Is the only way to avoid the black hole of food obsession to embrace all foods whenever, however, and however much I want? I just need to love my body, no matter how unhealthy it gets, and not think at all about what I’m eating past the pleasure it gives me while consuming it?

The past two weeks of Hammer and Chisel the honeymoon phase of good nutrition wore off completely and I’ve been struggling to stay on track. As I’ve struggled I’ve wondered quite simply SHOULD I be struggling? Am I becoming obsessed with food? Is the temptation to eat “just one more cracker” really a temptation? Or is it a warning flag telling me that I’m becoming neurotic about portion control and I need to ease off before I head into a self destructive spiral? Am I simply overthinking this?

So the second part of my nutrition reflections is an uncomfortable revelation for me. It is the Lenten season-something that I have participated in for awhile even though I am not Catholic-and in this past year especially I have been working hard on adjusting my priorities to make my family truly Christ centered. Becoming a parent changes your awareness on so many levels, and never have I thirsted more for a solid relationship with my Savior than in the midst of panicking over my responsibilities as a mom. My choices of sacrifices for this Lent reflects that, and boy has it opened my eyes.

In a nutshell, I worship the pleasure of food. Mind, body, and soul, I love food. The taste, the texture, the sensation-food is glorious. When I started this clean eating journey I went from indulging in a box of girl scout cookies in one sitting and hot dogs for breakfast to reading labels at the store, meal planning at night, food prepping during nap,and taking pride in my culinary progress and the healthy food provided for my family. There is nothing wrong with eating clean, meal planning/prepping, enjoying food, etc., etc., -until there is. The thing is, whether it’s cookies or grapes, I just can’t resist having “one more” because I want “one more”. I could be way past comfortably full and I still have a hard time cutting myself off. Add into that an actual portioned meal plan that has me thinking about food constantly and I have set food on an alter by giving it importance beyond what it deserves.

Wait, what? I know, I know, seems completely contradictory. Let me try and explain.

I believe eating healthy, balanced, and properly portioned is crucial for total wellness.

Eating in such a manner requires planning, preparation, and knowledge. It requires intention and yes, discipline.

BUT. When meal planning edges out Bible study, when food prep causes me to snarl at my children, when I feel pressured to be pushing my skills in the kitchen because of “clean” recipes I find online, when I spend more time during my day thinking on or handling food than time with my children, my husband, my God-there is a problem. And the problem, for me, is that I worship the pleasure food brings. I enjoy food so much it trumps more important aspects of my life. I couldn’t resist browsing Pinterest for recipes anymore than I could resist snacking while I read a favorite book.

We like to think of money as the major tripper upper of false idols-and it’s definitely a big one-but in this land of plenty I wonder how many of us consume our idols at the table. Like I said, this was an eye opener for me, but I am SO GLAD my eyes have been opened. Yes, I have a struggle ahead of me to place food where it belongs, but even as the balance is just beginning to right itself already our home is calmer and happier for it.

Food is good, God is better.

 

 

We Interrupt Your Scheduled Program…

Sundays are my rest days. I don’t exercise, I don’t cook much-it’s pancakes for dinner, and I generally relax, recoup, and spend time with my family. We’ve been trying different churches here in El Paso in the mornings, and I’m going to attempt another OCF meeting tonight. I’m mentioning this because it’s something I haven’t yet talked about on here but that is inextricable from healthy living. Not just rest, but wholeness. I focus a lot on physical health on this blog, but emotional, intellectual, and spiritual health are equally as important, and in my opinion Spiritual wellness trumps all the others. So today’s blog isn’t about food relationships (we’ll get back to that tomorrow) it’s gonna be a bit rambling and not quite as organized, but I need to throw it out there. Much like I was nervous about posting that I am a Beachbody coach and I’m enjoying their trademark drink Shakeology, I need to make it clear to any readers that I am a Christian and my faith is a driving force behind what I do. I can’t separate it out. Exercise, for me, is also a worship experience. Loving my body is directly inline with loving the God who created it for me.

I’m ADHD (see, told you this post would be scattered) and the hardest thing for me to do is shut down my brain. As a child I remembered trying a watch under my pillow (I ended up counting the ticks and was in the 3000’s before I finally chucked it across the room), praying, reading, shadow puppets, ANYTHING to get my brain to SHUT UP. I’d stay awake well over an hour past bedtime listening to my little sister snore away and I’d get increasingly frustrated that I couldn’t fall asleep. I finally figured out what worked best-absolutely zero light, going to bed about an hour before I wanted to fall asleep, and creating an elaborate story in my mind that I would replay, rearrange, and continue scenes of in my head every night. I began to look forward to bedtime just so I could work on my mind story. Now, I still have a hard time falling asleep, but the mind numbing exhaustion that comes with having children helps a lot and I can fall asleep in under half an hour most nights.

But when I exercise-my mind relaxes. It is the most addicting part of exercise for me. For 30 minutes a day I focus singly on exercising my body, so-since that paradoxically takes up all my focus and allows me to UNfocus-I get 30 minutes of relaxation while doing squats, and planks, and whatever. Running is the best. Sometimes when I’m running I can almost think of nothing. Just the typical sensory input of the where I am running, what it looks like, how my feet feel, etc. etc. So while I’m exercising, I often pray. Not generally articulate words-although sometimes I do when I’m running-but more of just a constant dialogue of gratitude and amazement for the strength in my muscles and the feel of a stretch and the wonders of a warm and loving home with beautiful children who are active and healthy and just, thanks. Over and over again thanks.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have grumpy workouts, too. But workouts where I start grumpy and END grumpy are very, very, seldom. I am struck anew again and again by how complex the human body is, and am re-fascinated by how everything works to give me motion and balance and strength, how everything feels-from the pounding of my heart to the mat squished beneath my toes to the flush I feel creep up my skin as my body temp rises. Exercise for me is sensual, and things sensual for me are always spiritual. Many people really appreciate music, they feel it body and soul. I feel body and soul when I exercise. My God, My God, how You have created me!

This is why the scale has no power over me (I quite honestly don’t know where ours is currently, haha). I like progress, sure, but who I am and my self-worth is not based on my appearance or weight. I want to be healthy, to feed my body the food it needs, to build my muscles, to keep my skeletal system strong, to fortify my immune system, to be kind to my digestive system, to essentially care for this earthly body that was given into my care. It all circles back to that. And I experience such joy in this. There are days where I don’t want to, there are days where it is hard to turn the TV on and start warming up. I have two small boys who are nonstop from the moment they wake up until they fall asleep again. I. Am. Tired. But the discipline of an exercise program is part and parcel of where I find my joy. I suck at the “typical” daily devotionals- I usually read theology books in chunks and then digest them over a week or two-but if I exercise I get that chance to pray, and doing it faithfully is, for me, a tiny way to faithfully worship Christ.

SO there you have it, my drive and motivation for staying healthy is one of complete wellness, not for a number on a scale or a certain dress size. I am not trying to say all Christians should worship when they sweat (Here I am to workout, Here I am to burpee, Here I am to pushup for you’re my God…) or that every time I sweat I am having a stellar communique with the divine. But this IS the biggest single motivation/reward/drive for why I strive to lead a healthy lifestyle. Until I get my heavenly body, I will do my best to treasure the earthly one.

Just thought you should know. 🙂