We usually search out and go on diets as a knee-jerk response to that moment when we step on the scale, look too long into the mirror, or fail to fit a clothing item that we used to wear with ease. We freak out at the number on the scale or the pants that would not button, and off we go on a diet hunt. Maybe we go back to a diet that worked “once upon a time.” Or we decide to try what so-and-so did to lose “X” number of pounds.
The problem with this is that it’s only temporary, and eventually we go “off” of the diet only to land right back where we started. Or worse, we end up even heavier than we were before we went off of the rails.
The word “diet” has its roots in the temporary. We “diet” for a one-time event like a wedding or reunion, for surgery, or for a “cleanse,” and then we stop and return to our previous way of eating. Deep down we know that it is not sustainable to restrict ourselves from our favorite foods for very long in this way.
Let’s be honest, we also know that if it was sustainable to stay on that particular diet, we would still be on it today!
So why do we go back to those “weak and miserable principles” referred to in Galatians 4:9? And what is the solution? We need some solid answers. Praise be to God our Father who can provide answers for all things, including our weight and food woes!
First and foremost, we need to ask God what HE thinks! What does He want for us as individuals? No diet or boundary is “one size fits all.” If there was such a thing, we would ALL be doing it!
However, here at Thin Within we subscribe to our natural hunger mechanism that we believe God gave us at birth. We define that hunger mechanism as eating between zero and five (0-5), which is our primary boundary. Zero is fully hungry, and 5 is “just satisfied”; not full or stuffed.
We believe that God never expected us to be preoccupied with food and diets, or our bodies (Matthew 6:25). He certainly talks about food a lot in scripture and had food rules for the Israelites. However, now that we are in Christ, or rather Christ is in US, we are given so much freedom!
Notice that I said freedom, not license! He tells us that we now have the fruits of the Spirit. One of those fruits, listed in Galatians 5:23, is self-control. He tells us that everything is permissible (1 Corinthians 10:23), but that nothing is to have mastery over us (1 Corinthians 6:12).
Then let’s roll up our sleeves and take a look at what we need to do!
5 Steps to Connecting Our Eating with God
1) We need to view 0-5 as being our life-long chosen boundary with God’s blessing. This is hunger and fullness on a definable scale. I realize that this may not be the boundary God leads everyone to. Barb Raveling says to look for a boundary or boundaries that you can keep for the rest of your days here on earth. For some, that might just be calorie counting, three meals a day, or low-carb eating. But chances are you are reading this article because, to you, those were diets and they just didn’t “work” for you. So consider that God may be prompting you to do zero-to-five eating!
2) We need to utilize whatever means we can to keep 0-5 as our primary boundary. Just as alcoholics need to avoid situations that would cause them to imbibe, like Joseph, we need to flee tempting situations when possible. I like to tell myself Romans 13:14 often and “make no provision for the flesh.” I do this by not purchasing certain foods that I know I have little self-control with at the moment. I do this by avoiding situations where I might lose control, like in front of the TV at night. It may be a temporary restriction or limited in scope (think of a single serving bag of m&m’s and not a five-pound bag). I know my weaknesses and that certain foods could derail my efforts if I have them easily accessible. This is different from saying “I can eat this but not that! And it might just be for a season.
3) We need to realize that we need God’s power! This should always be number one on our list. His Word says that “Without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). NOTHING! I have to shout this to myself! Another verse reminds us that we need Him, the Holy Spirit, to bear the fruit of self-control in us (Galatians 5:23). Diets just do not provide God. IF they do, they might still tell you what you can and cannot eat just like a person in authority over us used to do. We want to mature beyond that. Think about it: Diets have the potential to keep us immature! How humiliating. We want to be grown-ups in Christ. It is shocking to think that a diet could potentially keep us from growing spiritually.
4) We need to find support. AA to an alcoholic is Thin Within Ministries to us. We need loving accountability. We need to be in groups where others can lead us through valleys and trials. We need cheer leaders, people to help us not give up! And let’s face it, we all need others who “get us.” We also need as many ideas as we can employ to do this 0-5 thing! Just as you would not visit a foreign country for the first time without a guide and a translator, you do not want to try to do this alone. It could be disastrous in a foreign country and it could be disastrous here.
5) And last, we need to actually believe and trust God! It’s one thing to realize that we need God’s power, but quite another to actually trust His direction each day and not get focused on the end result, whether that’s a number on the scale or an outfit we are dying to get back into. If we keep looking for the end result, we will not be focused on Him. We need to focus daily on keeping our boundaries with God’s help. Then the results become God’s responsibility. We do this by utilizing tools such as “The keys to conscious eating” found in the Thin Within workbook series in conjunction with renewing our minds (Romans 12:2), joining classes and groups for support, and maybe getting individual coaching.
It is the daily focus and disciplines that get us where we need to go (Matthew 6:34) one meal at a time, one bite at a time. We want to learn to be content with food and our bodies, don’t we? “For godliness and contentment are great gain!” as it says in 1 Timothy 6:6. Thankfully, that is not weight gain!