As we envision a world where women of different sizes can thrive in their God-given bodies, we ask ourselves: How can women advocate positive change for the female body?
One place to start is examining our relationship with food.
Currently, we live in a culture that demonizes some foods and idolizes other foods. Meat is bad; veggies are good. Starches are bad; fruit is good. Fruit is bad; lean dairy products are good. Who can keep up with all of the latest “research”? Choosing good food over bad food is a constant battle, and I, for one, am tired of fighting a battle that threatens to eat away at any more of my time and energy. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
To simplify this conversation about food, we must recognize the nature of food. Food isn’t good. And you know what? Food isn’t bad, either. Food doesn’t have a personality or a sin nature. By existing, refined or unrefined, food does not wield power over my family, at least not in the way I thought.
In the last two years, I have listened to my dear friend (who happens to be a licensed nutritionist and trusted dietician) talk about food, and by her leading, my food-thoughts have started to change. What I have learned from Kristin Williams (RDN, LD, CEDRD) has changed the way I talk about food, which has altered how my family talks about food. In some ways, her guidance onto the path of Intuitive Eating saved my life. (Take a minute to see the nutrition counseling she offers; she even meets with people remotely when it’s convenient for them!)
In keeping with the series of 5 People We Need in our Corner, the #3 person is a dietician. Meeting with her has me convinced. A dietician (who doesn’t support dieting) is one of the most important people we need in our corner as we generously love the female body.
Historically, women moreso than men, have been strictly advised, “Watch what you eat!” “Be careful of what you’re putting in your body.” Much like we have been counseled to watch out for cars before crossing the street or watch out for strangers lingering in crowded places, we have been advised to be alert! Keep your head on a swivel. Make sure that the food going into your body has been thought through, looked over, and thought through again before consuming.
What is your history involving food? Were you taught there were good foods and bad foods? Did well-meaning adults warn you about the effects of food around your waistline and hippy-area? Were there seasons in your life when making certain food choices were the measure of your success or failure for the day? The week? The month?
Kristin has walked me through some of my own history and helped me see where my relationship with food started going awry. She has worked in both inpatient and outpatient hospital settings, treating individuals all over the spectrum. She works with pre-teens and sixty-year olds. She has experience guiding people in developing healthy eating plans, and she has experience counseling people suffering from severe eating disorders. She counsels with a non-diet approach in mind, and she advocates Intuitive Eating as she guides people into healthy and realistic food choices.
And I think the most important lesson about food that Kristin has impressed on me is this simple truth. Food is a gift.
Even though the Scriptures communicate that food is a gift from God, we do not always perceive food as a gift. It nurtures our bodies for play, and it fuels our bodies for work. We break fast in the morning by celebrating with food after a long night’s sleep, sometimes with or without coffee. Here, breakfast never happens before coffee.
Before the Fall, our Creator intended for us to consume food, according to His provision. Food was one of God’s many gifts to us. Genesis 1:29 recalls, “Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.'”
Not only is food a gift, it is a gift we can take time to enjoy.
When it comes to eating a meal, I think most of us want to sit down at the table and slow down for a few minutes from our fast-paced days. We want to clear our minds and relish the food in front of us. We want to enjoy tasting the savory flavor of seasoned hamburger meat on Taco Tuesday. We want the tomatoey-garlic flavor of homemade spaghetti sauce to linger on our tongues. We want to enjoy the smooth and sweet hints of vanilla available in each bite of a homemade chocolate chip cookie.
We want to enjoy our food.
I wonder if we are ready to embrace a new way of eating. Are we ready to chunk the diets that negatively alter our metabolism? Are we ready to walk away from the media-based fearmongering that targets females? Are we ready to tell the dieting-based companies, “No, we will not spend our well-earned incomes to feed your $60 billion a year industry!”
Educating ourselves about nutrition and healthy living will equip us as moms, aunts, friends, and daughters to embrace a new way of understanding and enjoying food. A good place to start may be taking the battle away from the food and diet industry that wants to make us believe there is a war to wage. A good place to start may be making peace with food and enjoying it as one of the many gifts that God generously bestows on his precious children.
To find out more about Intuitive Eating and healthy food practices, visit Wonderfully Made Nutrition Counseling and, as always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Also, I posted my recent interview with Kristin here. Enjoy!