Health and Weightloss: A Biblical Perspective

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Confession: I've been saying for five years that I was "trying to lose weight". It wasn't exactly a lie- I mean, I really do want to lose weight, and I go through bouts here-and-there of eating better and exercising more. But I am realizing something- I haven't been trying very hard.

Lately, I have been having trouble with my stomach almost all the time. Every time I eat something (and sometimes even when I don't), I get these weird stomach cramps that also seem to be connected to my back. My back will start to hurt along with my stomach, and it will last for an hour or so. I just told a friend that it is getting real old, real fast.

But the thing is, I feel very confident that if I had been taking care of my body for the past 5+ years, I probably wouldn't be having these issues. I have failed to treat my body as God's temple, and I have repeatedly convinced myself that that was ok.

Last year, I wrote this post which touched on the idea that not treating our bodies correctly is a sin. I still believe that firmly and would like to dive into the issue more fully.

A biblical perspective on health and weightloss

Temples of the Living God

God says that our bodies are His temples (1 Cor. 6:19). This not only means that He dwells in us- we are His houses in a way- but it also means that we are His "property". Now, before you start saying "I am my own woman. I'm no one's property. Ain't nobody got time for that!", try to remember that God explicitly told us that we are not our own.

But what does it really mean to be a temple of God? What does that require of us?

I believe it requires us to think rightly about food, put food in it's proper place, and to use our health for God's glory.

Thinking Rightly

Thinking rightly about food and exercise is hard for me. It's hard for most people, I think. You see, food is meant to sustain us. But today (at least in America), we treat food as a sport or an inexhaustible resource. We eat to satisfy more than our hunger- we eat to satisfy our souls. Food is meant to be a sustainer of health and energy. It is meant to keep us from dying. Yet we eat food for fun, out of boredom, or out of emotional pain.

But then we realize that we need to shed a few pounds, we suddenly view food as the enemy. Those french fries that we once loved are now a demon from the pit of hell. 

But food isn't an evil tormentor, nor does it bring happiness. Food is a gift from God that provides for our physical needs.

Proper Priorities

I cannot speak for the rest of you, but I know that personally, I am addicted to food. Food is not in it's proper place in my life. 

When I wake up, I not only think, "what's for breakfast?", but I also think things like "how long do I have to wait until it's acceptable to eat something else?".
That's not normal, and that's not ok. I have made food an idol and turned it into something that gives me happiness. I spend my time craving cheeseburgers, fried chicken, 5 million ounce steaks, and ten pounds of chocolate cake. 

Guys, God is not mad at me if I get a cheese burger from Five Guys- occasionally! But it is absolutely a sin to 1.) be addicted to food and find my emotional satisfaction in it, and 2.) treat my body as if it can handle anything I throw at it.

My Body for God's Glory

From a health standpoint, my body craves (needs) protein, vegetables, fruit, healthy fats, etc. If it gets these things on a daily basis, it will function properly and be able to stand strong against health problems and sicknesses. But my body cannot handle what I've been throwing at it: trans fats, preservatives out the wazoo, and oodles of sugar. Sure, it'll last for a while, but I won't be as alert, as healthy, or as functional as I was created to be.

I was created to do amazing things for God's glory- and so were you!
But I (we) cannot do that if we are drained, sluggish, and unhealthy.
I cannot tell someone who is self-harming that they should value their bodies, if they can look at me and clearly see that I am not valuing mine.
I cannot encourage a sister in Christ who is struggling with food addiction, body image, or an eating disorder, if I am not even willing to practice the discipline of portion control!

The Reason it Matters

My point is this: Food is not evil. Living a healthy lifestyle doesn't mean we can't enjoy treats. It doesn't mean we have to pledge never to set foot into a Micky D's again. But food is to be used wisely. Do you want to eat lot's of pizza at your birthday party? Well, if that's not your continual lifestyle, that's fine. If it's really a treat, and not a weekly occurrence, then have at it!
But remember this: We cannot live a full life- the way we were meant to- if we don't start taking care of ourselves. Self-care, "dieting", weight loss, and "lifestyle changes" are not about being skinny, looking good for our significant other, or proving anyone wrong. Being healthy is about caring for a gift we have been given.

I am entrusted by God to live my life well. I haven't been doing that. I need to change that. And I need to be held accountable. Do you need that change? Do you need that accountability?

14 comments

  1. I so love this perspective. Never thought of health and food this way. This is going to impact how I approach working out and overall health.

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    1. I am so glad it is was an encouragement to you! Thank you for reading!

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  2. In that first paragraph you basically just described me in a nutshell! You make some great points and I'm definitely hoping to start exercising and eating better :) Thanks for sharing!

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    1. We must be the same person ;)
      It's so hard, but worth it!

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  3. Oh my goodness! I have the same exact stomach problems as you. Seriously it happens every day for an hour or so. Some days or worse than others. I am so tired of it!

    Anyway, I love this post. You're so right. We're the temple of God and we should treat ourselves that way. I love how you talk about the mindset first. Everything starts in the mind. Such a good reminder.

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    1. Oh wow! Do you really?! Have you been diagnosed with anything? I have no idea what it is.
      Thank you! I greatly appreciate your kind words!

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  4. I love this. It's the perspective I live by and the passion I have to share with other women to be fit and free honoring their bodies that have been fearfully and wonderfully made.

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    1. That's wonderful! I need to gain the discipline to go along with the beliefs!

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  5. Love this!! I feel like so many think of their body as a temple, but they don't connect it to being healthy and exercising and eating right. I have so much respect for my body and everything it does and that's my motivation for taking care of it!

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    1. I love that you naturally have that perspective, Shannon! I struggle to treat my body well, but I want to!

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  6. This a great perspective! One that I now I have but sometimes forget. I needed this reminder. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you for reading, friend! :) I am glad that it encouraged you!

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  7. Hello Kristin, I loved your blog. It speaks exactly to me as I have also dealt with food addiction. There was a time in my life that I was 25 pounds overweight. Some may say that is not bad, but for my height and bone structure, it showed. In high school, people called me names, laughed at me and made fun of me. I would think about food all day long, I would go to my cousin's house and binge on candy, then I would take laxatives to try to lose weight. I was on a very bad path. There was no internet back then to learn how to lose weight. I guess God was looking out for me because I was heading down the wrong road, because I had read an article about a protein diet to lose weight. So that summer of my 16th birthday, I set it in my mind, I was going to do it. I had hated myself so much back then. So that summer I did do it and everyday I told myself, "Hang in there, don't eat bad stuff, exercise". So for two months, I ate protein and exercised 30 minutes everyday. It was really not the best type of diet but I did not know any better. It was hard for the first few days, but I did it. As the weight started to come off, it was boosting my self confidence. Looking back, that was a very rough time in my life, but it taught me many things. The thing that I learned the most was that I was stronger than I thought, I changed my mind and my thinking and I told myself NO CHEATING. I had to remind myself this everyday and sometimes every hour. Food wanted to control me. As I have gotten older, I have been very interested in Nutrition and dieting. If I was younger I would love to become a nutritionist and help folks with these issues because I have lived them. One thing that is the most important when trying to change your life, is to have a solid plan. So many folks just think that all they need to do is just eat less, or do this one thing. But losing weight is like playing a sport, you cannot win in football if you do not understand how the game is played and have a strategy. Our bodies are not designed to lose weight therefore it is a fight and in order to win you need a solid strategy. Your body wants nutrition, eating lots of fiber, protein will help curb those cravings. I am praying for you, you can do this! I learned some tricks by taking Omega 3, Chromium Picolinate, a multivitamin and vitamin D, fiber supplements and green superfood. The reason why these are important is because if you give your body the nutrients it needs then your cravings will be lessened. Anyway...I could go on and on but overall I want you to know you Can do It and you have the right attitude! I will be praying for you!

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    1. Diane, thank you so much for your sweet encouragement! I was sitting beside Brett when I read it. You are so kind to share your experience and to encourage me on my journey.
      I am definitely trying to gain some control. I struggle with self-control over my portions. I've always loved food more than I should.
      I definitely try to eat protein and fiber, so I've got that going for me. Thank you again. I greatly appreciate your advice, story sharing, and encouragement!

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