Finding Joy in Eating

Have we lost the joy of eating?

I think many of us have. I know I did for some time. We live in a culture that praises restricting, counting, and limiting and so we have lost the joy in eating. Much of the praise we see from our culture stems from underlying goals of weight loss and trying to achieve a certain aesthetic. We begin to search for anything that will help us achieve this and we often choose a particular meal plan or “diet” that will give us “rules” we can follow. Many of these rules involve taking away specific foods or food groups.

Every choice we make to restrict certain foods or food groups plunges us further into a “dieting mindset”. This often results in viewing food as the enemy. We may think, “Oh, I can’t eat that, it will make me gain weight” or “That food is fattening.” We begin to adopt a mindset of fearing food rather than enjoying it.

What can we do instead?

Our main goal in changing our eating habits should ultimately be to take care of our earthly bodies. Since we are all unique in so many ways (and praise God for that!) our eating habits will probably be different from one another. One of our goals along side this main goal is to restore a healthy balance with food and with our body.  We want to rediscover the joy in eating! Taking care of our bodies might include losing a little weight, but that shouldn’t be the most important outcome. We can start by making small changes and building on those changes. Let’s focus on progress we have made!

Joy in Changing Habits

When we consistently practice taking care of our bodies and feeding them well, we can start to see how we can find joy in this endeavor. What if we looked at it in a totally different way and started thinking of our bodies as a gift, and on loan to us from the Lord?  Let’s start to think about what this might look like. Remember always that we are uniquely and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).  Do you consider your body worthy of good care? Do you strive to take care of it to the best of your ability and knowledge? If not, first know there is plenty of grace to cover all of our shortcomings. Next, keep reading!

Try this Reflection exercise!

Record instructions if you were to let someone else take care of your body for two weeks. What would you tell them to do? Would you tell them to give you plenty of rest, fun time, good foods to eat, some exercise. How would you expect your body to be returned back to you? Now think about if YOU actually follow the directions you would give to someone else. If you aren’t, consider why not. What are your excuses? Now brainstorm some ways you can take care of your body better. Think about something you can do even today, not next week or even tomorrow.

1 Corinthians Chapter 6 verses 19-20, which says: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?  You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.  So glorify God with your body.” 

Joy in Nourishment

Next time you make a decision that will impact your health positively, take joy in that decision!  You are taking care of your body well!  Remember that our success is found when we create balance in using food as God intended. God intends for it to be both for nourishment and pleasure. Let’s continue making small, positive changes that help us take care of our bodies well for the glory of God! Let’s celebrate making healthy changes!

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.

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