It’s two days until January… again. Didn’t we just do this? Raise your hand if you made a resolution a year ago to do something better for your health. What has that resolution brought you today? I hope you can say noticeable change! If not, rather than give up, let’s look at the missing ingredient that will help these habits stick.
As we focus on better health, we concentrate a lot on what we eat. America offers way too many unhealthy choices. According to http://www.infoplease.com, 74.1% of us are overweight or obese as a result of the American way of living. Convenient, cheap and tasty options too often win out over healthy choices.
Making healthier choices is in part common sense – eat less and move more. BUT! There’s a lot of information out there, and as many conflicting opinions on the right way to get healthy, as there are people trying to accomplish it. This whole weight thing is – pardon the pun – very heavy on our minds. If it feels like food choices are almost all you think about every day, you may not be far off. Cornell University researchers concluded that we make more than 200 food decisions a day. So this begs the question, what if it’s not just about what we’re eating… but what’s eating us?!
An effective health plan that yields lasting weight loss and maintenance will always require us to discover why we became overweight in the first place. What good does it do to diet and exercise ourselves into the perfect pant size if we don’t figure out why we ended up too many sizes above to begin with? If we’re going to struggle through new healthy eating challenges to achieve a new look and better health, don’t we want to be sure it’s really a new us, inside and out, so we never have to do it all over again?
Poor eating habits and lack of activity are certainly key, but I believe they can be merely symptoms of another, often overlooked, factor that lies deep within – the feelings we have about ourselves.
Food was given to us by God to be used as fuel. If we are eating for fuel, we eat those things we know are good for us in the quantities that we know are good for us, and we use moderation with any indulgences outside of that. We can complicate this, but it really is that simple.
We don’t eat fast food without knowing its bad for us. When we eat 6 cookies in one sitting, we know we are not doing our bodies a favor. We do these things in spite of what we know, and I believe because of our emotions. Whether we are bored, lonely, tired, sad, happy, angry, excited, pensive or lazy, these feelings have us neglecting exercise that we know will make us feel better, and eating foods that we know are bad for us. Sometimes we even eat because we’re depressed about being overweight. Now that’s emotional eating!
For many people, these emotions go back to childhood, so they are deeply rooted and may be buried deep. They’re not easy to face, and usually involve important relationships with parents, spouses, and children. When our most important emotional needs have gone unmet whether as a child or an adult, we may begin to believe lies about ourselves. The truth is found in God’s Word. He dispels all the lies we tell ourselves when He tells us that we were worth dying for and that we are loved with an everlasting love; that no height nor depth can keep us from His love. When we believe lies, we must seek comfort. If we seek it anywhere other than God, we end up in the wrong places, like wrongly believing food will ease our pain when it only brings more.
If we want to do more than just make another resolution we won’t keep… if we want to get and stay healthy… the real, underlying issues must be addressed. We have to turn to God for the real answers. Maybe it’s starts with praying and journaling to answer “Why did I allow myself to gain all this weight?” and “What do I have to stop doing (or start believing) to get where I need to be and be certain I never go back again?” Maybe it means finally taking the hard step of reaching out to a Christian counselor who can teach you the tools to discover how to get rid of your emotional fat in 2015, for good! That’s good health. The pounds and inches comes off naturally when we get our minds in the right place. So, yes, we should watch what we eat to make choices like whole, clean, unprocessed foods. We should get more active, even if we have to start small. These are important steps to take as we look forward to a new year full of possibilities. But as much as what we’re eating matters, what’s eating us matters more.