Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Food: Nourishing your body or your soul? part 3

We've been discussing how to keep food in its rightful place in our lives.  So often (and it is so easy to do this), we turn to food as a source of comfort when we are stressed, empty, bored, unsatisfied, etc.

And when we use food in this way -- as spiritual/emotional nourishment -- we put food in the place of God.  And, therefore, food becomes an idol.

One of the difficult things about food addiction is this: food is crucial to our body's survival.  We cannot ban it from our lives.  To do so would issue in death.  This addiction is unlike porn, alcoholism, drug use.  All of those things can be forever forsaken with no detrimental harm done.  Not true with food.

As such, there is a daily tension between us and food.  How will we use it?  Will our choices be nourishing to our bodies, full of those things God intended for food to give us?  Or will our choices be empty of nutritious goodness, but full of comfort for our souls?  Or something in between?
Two weeks ago, we began to tackle #1.  Today, let's look at #2.

Be consistent about when you eat.  I was notorious for heading to the pantry or fridge whenever I felt hungry.  But when I was in the middle of the struggle, I had a really hard time distinguishing between physical hunger and emotional hunger.  And so I set up a schedule of when I would eat and limit myself, generally, to those times.

Every body is different.  Some people like to eat many small meals during the day.  Some people like three squares and no snacks.  Some people like 3 meals plus snacks.  And some people may not know what they need and when they need it, which is why, for all of us, this is a process filled with prayer and discernment.

I decided to eat three meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), plus an afternoon snack if I was physically hungry.  Here's the thing: our body give us cues, which tell us when we need to feed it.  But when we consistently eat for reasons outside physical nourishment, we forget how to listen to those cues.

What if you began the day in prayer?
God, I want to eat in ways that are pleasing to You.  Help me begin to distinguish between physical and emotional hunger.  Help me to develop a keen awareness of what my body needs as opposed to what my soul wants. Amen.
And then, make sure you listen.  Listen to God.  Listen to your body.  Is your stomach growling? Do you feel light-headed?  Do you feel full?  Is your  heart sad, anxious, bored, etc?  Listen to the cues that God has created your body to give you.  This is not just about denying yourself something you want.  This is about creating opportunity to find the nourishment you need.

Learning how to be mindful of your body's cues will help you once you move past these three consistency "rules."  The fact is, our body changes, our nourishment needs can change (i.e. if you start exercising, you may need to adjust your protein intake, etc), and our environment can change.  When we learn to listen, we have the freedom to respond to changes in a healthy and mindful way.

Linking today with Tracy and  Michell.

photo credit: BurgTender via photopin cc (words added by Jen)
photo credit: atomicshark via photopin cc (words added by Jen)

4 comments :

  1. This is an informative article. I am glad to have found you, over at Doing Well Wednesday.

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  2. You know, I have been reading a lot about food addiction lately. Hmmm...I guess more people than me are dealing with this issue.

    Your advice is right on the money, and I thank you for helping me stick to my exercise and food plans. I have great intentions, but I have to work on following through :) I need to learn to listen to my body more, you sure are right about that.

    Peace in Christ,
    Ceil

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  3. You are such a blessing! Hugs!! Thanks for sharing your insight. Love ya!
    Michelle

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  4. Thank you! This is very helpful!

    Oh, I found you through "Prowess and Pearls" Link up..

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