Don’t focus on the food….oh, okay. I knew there had to be a simple solution.
Why hadn’t I thought of that??
Now let me back up a few days.
It started innocently. It always does. You log on to Youtube thinking you will watch one video, then a few hours pass and you have gone down the rabbit hole. I was deep in the rabbit hole friends… like hunched over in a weird position on the couch kind of deep. I stumbled upon this video talking about the “easiest diet ever” and the more I thought about it the more annoyed I became.
The gist of this video is explaining the secret of our skinny friends is that they do not obsess about food like other people do. At first I did not think too much about it, but the more I thought about it the more I thought about how much food has consumed us as a society. How it dominates parts of our conversations and thoughts. It did not take me long to realize how often I think about food. It is an embarrassing amount of time. Not only food, but weight and outward appearance. It has become like a moral guideline.
Good foods and bad foods.
Clean foods and dirty foods.
Vegan and Vegetarian.
Can we just pause and think about this? Food has always been at the center of our lives. We celebrate with food and grieve with food. I mean think about it. We have large dinners to celebrate marriages, birthdays, job promotions, etc. When people die or are fighting through an illness people will often bring those who are suffering food. It is a comfort for many and it is a necessity to live. There is no getting around it.
Since around the early 1960s diet culture has really skyrocketed. Diets varying from things like the low fat diet, high protein and low carb diet, to now having this all natural clean eating diet. The talk around dieting has become a little overwhelming.
Almost daily I overhear conversations about weight and guilt associated with food consumed. I see judgements made on other people’s plates in restaurants. I hear people using weight descriptions to describe someone instead of using characteristics of their personality to describe them. I do not need to know whether or not someone is a “big” guy or girl. What does that tell me about them? Absolutely nothing. Tell me what they do for their career, what their hobbies are, what color eyes they have. Those descriptors tell me things. How aesthetically pleasing their body is to your mind does not tell me anything of value.
I hear kids after they scroll through Instagram say things like, “Well I guess I am not eating today” or “Now I feel guilty for having that donut for breakfast” after seeing a food blogger’s post. How are comments like that healthy? To be honest I have said things like that as well. As much as I know better I cannot sit here and lie and say that scrolling through Instagram does not affect how I view myself.
It absolutely does.
I know that about myself, so I do not scroll through the pages that make me feel bad about myself.
It is not just social media that affects people though. It is not fair to place all the blame on social media. People’s expressions can say more than words or pictures on a post sometimes. In a blog post I wrote a couple months ago I talked about how I lost a lot of weight in college. I could no longer keep doing the things I was doing to my body in order to keep up that weight loss. In recent years I have put that weight back on. Guess what? I am a lot happier where I am now than I was back then. But, when I see people who knew me after that weight loss look at me now I see a look in their eyes that is almost like a look of pity. I do not believe that this is what they are thinking in real life, but when I see their faces I feel guilty for putting the weight back on. That is when the obsessions with food and weight come back into my mind. It is a daily fight in my brain. I know what is healthy and I want to eat like a “normal” person. But it is crazy how easy it is to justify and going back to those extreme behaviors with the diet culture we live in currently.
It might seem like there is no escape when food, weight, and appearance take up more than half of advertisements, social media posts, and personal conversations we hear and see on a daily basis. I have made it my mission to redirect conversations when it turns to these issues. Now, does this mean I think we should only eat chocolate, twinkies, and all the junk food?
We should be taking care of our bodies and fueling it with things that make us function at our best. I do not think we need to obsess about eating only things that society deems “clean”. We need balance, and obsession is not balance. My worth and identity are not equal to my weight. What I choose to eat or not eat does not dictate if I am a good or bad person. I am a daughter of the most high king. I have been baptized into God’s family. Forgiven and redeemed. That is and always will be my identity. Not what I look like or how much I weigh. Here is what I want my diet to consist of: Love for Jesus and love for others. I love our mission statement at Epiphany. “Connecting people to Christ and to one another”. There is nothing more important than this. Sharing the Gospel. So I do not have time anymore to obsess about food when there are so many people I could be chatting about Jesus with. That is a hundred thousand times more important than discussing the food on my plate.
Until next week my friends, peace be with you.