In my first insatiable hunger post, I referred to dieting as a bandaid–an impermanent cover for deeper, unresolved worth issues. But if dieting is so wrong, what do we do with food?If we don’t have a good relationship with it, do we stay in the same unhealthy one we’ve been in for so long–bingeing, restricting, eating too much of one thing and not enough of another–or do we start off the new year with a breakup and find a better relationship?
If you’ve had an unhealthy perspective on eating for a while, this is a very scary idea. But, I can promise that there’s hope on the other side of it. I can joyfully say that while dieting brought no satisfaction, eating with grace according to my God-given hunger and fullness signals has redeemed and restored food to what it should be–a pleasurable nourishment for my body.
Nothing tastes as good as freedom feels. Tempting as it is to restrict and control, or even to abandon hunger signals and indulge in whatever we want, that is not God’s intention for our bodies. One of the best resources I’ve found in my own journey toward a healthy food relationship has been Judy Halliday’s book calledThin Within. Judy is also the co-author of HEAL: Healthy Eating & Abundant Living. Her grace-oriented approach to eating is rooted in discovering the hunger and fullness cues that God created us with using the following principles (taken from Thin Within):
- Eat only when my body is hungry.
- Reduce distractions and eat in a calm environment.
- Eat when sitting down.
- Eat when my body and mind are relaxed.
- Eat and drink what my body enjoys.
- Pay attention to my food while eating.
- Eat slowly and savor each bite.
- Stop before my body is full.
It’s important to remember that these are guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules. One of the key tools described in the book is called “observation and correction,” and it’s all about objectively looking at how we eat, and making the necessary changes without judgment or guilt. I know on tough days when I’ve slipped back into emotional eating or restriction, this has been the best way to deal with it. I reflect on what happened–How was I feeling? Stressed? Tired? Upset?–and then I think about how I could have acted differently through the lense of the Thin Within principles.What do you think of these principles? Are they something you would try, or do they seem unrealistic?