Do you have a love hate relationship with food? If you answered yes, I want to start by saying, I have been there; And chances are if you are in that place, you have also been on a diet in your lifetime.
Now, what if I told you it is possible to have a healthy relationship with food, and never go on a diet again?
I believe this is not only possible, but it is how God intended us to live. In fact, I believe God intended food to be enjoyable! Not only did He take the time to make different types of foods, (something to cater to everyones taste), but He also gave us taste buds to enjoy them! Food is an essential part of our every day lives, and it was created to nourish our physical bodies.
Despite the fact that God created food to be good, I believe that many of us have a distorted view of food. This could be a result of diets, disordered eating, issues with our weight, or because of something in our past.
I believe one of the best ways to abolish misconceptions about food is to replace them with practical truth. Unfortunately, the over abundance of information available today as it relates to food and nutrition often leaves us feeling uncertain about what actions to take. In order to optimize the way that we view our food and bodies, we first need to counter many of the misunderstandings that we have accumulated over the years.
Diets Don't Work.
Many of the skewed perceptions that we have about food come from the diet industry. The problem with diets is that they are always changing, making it nearly impossible to distinguish fact from theory.
In addition, diets are often impossible to maintain long-term, which is a guaranteed recipe for failure. If you have ever taken a ride on the diet roller coaster, you may already know that the results produced from a diet are just that… a high (hooray, I’ve lost weight) followed by an inevitable low (oh no, I’ve gained the weight back and then some).
This reoccurring failure rate is the reason that the diet industry produces billions of dollars each year. The worst part of all is that the money invested into these “quick fixes” often comes from well-meaning people that want to improve their health. Because so many people are overwhelmed and confused about how to do so, they often buy into the false promises that are made.
If you can identify as being one of the people who have tried countless diets and failed, take heart, because there is a better way!
Now, before I go any further, I want to start by saying that I am not against having a plan. In fact, I believe that planning and setting goals are beneficial and necessary when we set out to make a change. I also want to clarify that I am not against diets that people must go on in regards to food intolerances, allergies, etc., and I am certainly not against programs or tools that help people live a healthy lifestyle long-term.
What I am in disagreement with, however, is the latest diets that promote an unhealthy and unbalanced approach to losing weight.
Why am I personally so against diets? There are countless reasons, but one of the main one reasons is that I have seen the vicious cycle of defeat that they have produced in countless women. I can also speak from a place of personal experience when it comes to dieting, because I myself bought into many of the unhealthy diet trends when I was battling eating disorders.
My History with Diets.
I will never forget when someone innocently shared the false (and incomplete) theory with me that bread makes a person gain weight. In my desperate attempt to control my weight, I decided that if cutting out bread would make me skinnier, then I would cut out all carbohydrates all together. This example demonstrates how a theory (that may have some truth to it) can be take to an unhealthy extreme in an effort to produce quick results.
I believe that this is how many diet trends begin. There may be some truth to a principal, but it is often taken to an extreme in order to produce instant gratification. The reality of all unbalanced theories however, is that they are all bound to produce failure and defeat in the long run.
Coming to a Place of Balance.
I finally broke free from dieting years ago, and I can honestly say that I have come to a place where I am living a life of balance. I now focus on living a life of moderation, which allows me to nourish my body, all while enjoying the journey! For the most part, this means swapping out some of my favorite foods (that aren’t healthy) with healthier alternatives, and limiting the amount of processed foods I consume, which primarily include white flour and sugar.
I try to limit eating out to no more than once a week, as I have found that it can be challenging to get a healthy and delicious meal at a restaurant. Plus, I honestly enjoy the food I prepare at home! When I do eat out, I choose a healthier option, such as a salad (with dressing on the side) or a source of lean grilled protein and steamed vegetables. When I indulge in something that isn’t healthy I choose carefully, picking something that I know I will really enjoy, like peanut butter ice cream. Then, I make a point to sit down and really take my time enjoying it, without guilt, knowing that it is an occasional treat.
As far as planning, I plan my workouts and meals one week in advance, so I can be prepared for busy days and special occasions that may alter my routine. I start my weekly plan by choosing what meals I will make for the week and make my grocery list accordingly. Not only does planning ahead keep my grocery bills down, but it also prevents waste. When I get home, I wash my produce, cook my protein, and prepare any pasta or quinoa I might be using in recipes. This way I already half of the work done when I go to make a recipe or salad during a busy weekday. I also prepare something for a snack just about every other week (such as homemade protein bars or muffins). I then store them in the freezer and pull them out when I need a healthy snack.
I find that having a plan and being prepared is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle long-term, and the best part is, it gets easier with time! I also know from personal experience that in order to properly care for my body, I have to depend on God’s strength, guidance, and wisdom everyday. As I continue to care for my body and soul with spiritual and physical nourishment, I am able to walk in freedom and health, which keeps me fit to do what God created me to do!
You Can Break Free!
Because of my personal history with dieting, as well as watching thousands of women go through the yo-yo highs and lows of the dieting roller coaster... I have now made it my personal mission to help women break free from diets and trends and live a life of balance! I can not only speak from experience that it is possible to enjoy food the way God intended; But I have also witnessed thousands of others come to that place of freedom as well!
If you are looking to get off the diet train once and for all, one of the first places I would encourage you to start is to change your focus of food. Start by thinking about how good your body feels when you are eating healthy, and let that be your driving force. Instead of thinking about what you “can’t” have, think about the ways you can improve your health long term, and honor God with your body. By doing so you are investing in your health and expanding your potential to impact His Kingdom!
Second, I would encourage you to find foods that are both enjoyable to your tastebuds and nourishing to your body. What I mean by this is that you don’t have to force yourself to eat kale and drink green smoothies in order to be healthy, (unless of course that is enjoyable to you!)
If we are honest, most of us will only stick to something long term is if we enjoy the journey, which is why I suggest finding healthier alternatives to your favorite foods, which is also a mission of mine here at Dashing Dish! If pizza is one of your favorites for example, find a recipe that is beneficial to your body, and offers all of the flavors of pizza, (good news, there are hundreds right here on Dashing Dish!)
Lastly, learn enjoy the journey exactly where you are right now. One thing is for sure, when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, we are all in different places in the journey. Some are just starting out and feel they have a mountain to climb, while others feel they have been going around the same mountain for years. Regardless of where you find yourself today, refrain from the temptation to look for the quickest route available, compare yourself to others, or strive for perfection. Instead, learn to celebrate the victories no matter how big or small. If you put on your tennis shoes and took a walk today, be proud of the fact that you have made one small step towards furthering your health!
Recognize that consistent daily choices you make to improve your health count as progress in your journey, and they should be celebrated. In addition, keep in mind that while we will make progress, none of us will ever reach a place of total perfection in this life. In our journey to health, let us focus on one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. Let us press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (Philippians 3:13-14)
We all get one life, one soul, and one body, each being a gift from our Heavenly Father, and He has given us the choice how we will care for them. The good news is, He loves you, He is for you, and He has already prepared a way for you! God is asking you to take the next step with Him, are you ready to embark on the journey?