It may be controversial, but I think we blame the food too much when it comes to our weight. When it comes to releasing weight and getting thin within, I personally believe it’s not about the food. In the past, when we want to shed the pounds, we change the way we eat. We count. We measure. We weigh. We change what we eat. Essentially, we blame the food and start to label food as “good” or “bad”. There’s way too much emphasis put on the food, but not about the emotions or the habits…or the heart and mind. Our physical weight and even the mental “weight” is just a symptom of what’s going on deep inside of us. It’s not about the food itself.
People can get really defensive about food. It has become a really personal and passionate topic. The opinions on food changes day to day from person to person.
We can have all sorts rules when it comes to food. We can limit our food intake. We can count and track, but ultimately, that’s just an external change. The thing that sticks is the internal change, in our heart, mind, and soul. Because really, how many diets exist in this world? Hundreds upon hundreds! And some of us have gone from one diet to the next, from one eating style to the next, from one restrictive plan to the next, and we lose weight, we gain it back, and then we lose, and then we gain MORE back. Why is that? I personally believe it’s because it’s not about the food; it’s about our heart. When we don’t get to the core issue of our eating habits, we lose sight of what’s truly important. Our eyes are on the types of food we eat and the quantity of food we eat, and we never glance at the condition of our heart and the patterns of our thinking. So if food isn’t the issue, why do we keep blaming the food?
When I first started this journey, I had a lot of fear about food. I thought that if I ate sugar, that I was tempting God and that it would kill my body. I had an extremely hard time pushing past the fears and the thoughts that plagued my mind. I cried out to the Lord for help and He answered my prayer. He showed me His truth. Even before this part of the journey started, I tried all sorts of ways of eating: food combining, eating right for my blood type, eating only raw foods, juicing, counting, weighing, measuring, etc.
We know what the always-and-forever-changing opinions of this world say about food, but what does God say about food in His Word?
- He has given us every herb and tree to eat of. (Genesis 1:29)
- Every animal is food along with herbs. (Genesis 9:3)
- Food has taste. (Job 6:6)
- He causes it to grow for the service of man. (Psalm 104:14)
- He gives all animals as food. (Psalm 136:25, Psalm 147:9)
- He gives food to the hungry. (Psalm 146:7)
- Eat only as much food as you need. (Proverbs 25:16)
- Food is for nourishment. (Proverbs 27:27)
- He gives us food. (Ezekiel 16:19)
- We aren’t to worry about what we eat. (Matthew 6:25)
- Food doesn’t defile a man. (Mark 7:19)
- Life is more than food. (Luke 12:23)
- Food strengthens. (Acts 9:19)
- All food is pure. Don’t eat with offense. (Romans 14:20)
- Food is for the stomach and vice versa. (1 Cor. 6:13)
- Food doesn’t make a difference in our relationship with God. (1 Cor. 8:13)
- No one is to judge us in food and drink. (Colossians 2:16)
- God created food to be received with thanksgiving. (1 Timothy 4:3)
I wrote down scriptures on notecards and read them each day until those fears dissipated. I knew from His Word that I can eat and enjoy all foods, but I needed more of an understanding of what God meant.
I looked up Galatians 5:1, which says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”
And 1 Timothy 4:1-5, which says, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”
And then I looked up both sets of scriptures in the Matthew Henry’s commentaries. These are the notes I wrote down in my journal:
- We are to look upon food as that which God has created; we have it from Him, and therefore must use it for Him.
- What God has created is to be received with thanksgiving. We must not refuse the gifts of God’s bounty, nor be scrupulous (strict) in making differences about food where God has made none; but receive them, be thankful, acknowledging the power of God, the Maker of them.
- Not only has He given us permission to eat all foods, allowing us the liberty of the use of these things, but He also promises to feed us with food that’s convenient for us.
- Every creature is God’s, for He made all. Every creature of God is good.
- The blessing of God makes every creature nourishing to us.
God also says in His Word, “Have you found honey? Eat only as much as you need, lest you be filled with it and vomit” (Proverbs 25:16). This is what Matthew Henry has to say about this verse (what I wrote in my journal): He talks about how we are allowed a sober and moderate use of the delights of sense. Honey is not forbidden. We may eat of it with thanksgiving. God has given us permission to make use of our taste buds. “Eat as much as is sufficient, and no more. The pleasures of sense lose their sweetness by the excessive use of them. Eat food with sobriety.” Eat between hunger and satisfaction (0-5).
Before anyone throws rotten tomatoes at me for sticking up for ALL foods–I also want to add that everyone has different convictions and preferences when it comes to food. When Paul was addressing the food issues in Romans 14 (it’s a really good read on this topic), he was letting us know that Christ has given us the liberty to enjoy all foods. He says not to be judgmental about it. He says not to eat food offered to idols. He says to eat with thanksgiving. He says not to make others stumble by what we eat.
So let no one judge you in food or in drink. Colossians 2:16a
When I was at a certain place in my journey where the Lord was showing me that I can eat all foods, I was so tempted to go back to some of my old ways of completely cutting out sugar because the lie was still there that sugar is evil. So as the Lord was showing me His truth that I could eat sweets within my boundaries (eating between 0-5 of hunger and satisfaction), the enemy was also trying to ensnare me with the lies that if I ate sugar then something really bad would happen. Someone even made a comment to me that sugar is “poison”. Wow! And they compared it to drugs. Ouch. Honestly, that was another hurdle I had to jump over with the Lord’s help. We have to be SO careful about our convictions and what we say to others. I bet that person had no idea that what they said would trip me up and cause me to stumble. Obviously, that person is passionate about not eating sugar, but God has been working so hard to free me from any rules man has made about food. Now, this doesn’t mean that all I eat are sweets; I believe in eating in moderation. What we eat over a long period of time is what counts; it’s not one meal or one day of eating that makes or breaks us.
And then there’s also foods that some of us cannot eat because it makes us physically ill. Maybe you have a gluten intolerance. Or maybe you are lactose intolerant. Whatever the case may be, I think we can be mindful of the food our body enjoys and be careful and considerate about sharing our convictions when it comes to food.
On pages 186-189 in Thin Within, it talks about how there are pleasers, teasers, total rejects and whole-body pleasers when it comes to food. The pleasers are foods you know you enjoy, maybe even by specific brand. They “hit the spot and bring physical satisfaction” (page 186). The teasers are foods that you don’t really think about until you see a picture of the food or someone mentions the food. They aren’t as satisfying of foods, so we may think that “more is better”. Total rejects are foods that are “simply not worth eating”. They may be too sweet, salty, artificially flavored, etc. Whole-body pleasers are “foods that make you feel good overall”. It’s the “foods that your body calls out for, are enjoyable while you eat them, and they leave you feeling energized afterward” (pages 188-189). I really like how Thin Within talks about these different ways we respond to foods. I believe different foods will fit in different categories for different people. What may be a whole-body pleaser for me may be different for someone else. Most of all, I just love the freedom God gives us when it comes to food.
I can either listen to what the world and the diet creators say about what I should or shouldn’t eat, or I can listen to what the Creator says about food. I will choose the latter because that’s where my peace resides. I’m choosing to turn my eyes away from all of the babble and confusion about it, and I’m choosing to fix my eyes on Jesus. He won’t lead me astray. I will listen to His voice. This is where it all boils down to–Jesus. He came to set us free from the law. And I believe in that freedom, He meant for us to be free even in what we eat. The world makes laws and rules about food, but God gives us the liberty to choose what is satisfying to us.
How about you? Have you been bombarded with all of the “billboards” about what the world says about food? Will you take a stand with me and turn a deaf ear to it and listen to the One who knows your needs when it comes to nourishing your body? Maybe you do have some passionate opinions and convictions on this subject, would you be willing to join me in being extra careful about sharing those convictions? Let’s walk in love!
P.S. Heidi wrote a great post about this a little while back. Click here to read!