April 20, 2012

Idolizing Thinness vs. Being Healthy



According to the media, we own our bodies and can do with them what we please. Interesting, isn't it, that the media claim we can own something that we neither created nor bought! -Jennifer Stickland
Our health is important because you are a steward of the body God has given you. He created you—he built you to need x number of calories each day, to need exercise to keep your energy up, to eat healthy food, and to get a certain amount of sleep. -Mike Anderson
Worshipping God with our bodies involves stewarding our health. That's not something we hear a ton about in the church, but as Christians we are called to take care of our bodies:
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. -1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV
You and I have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us, which is why we need to honor God with our heart, mind, and body. It's a lie to think that my body is my own, and therefore I can do whatever I want to it or with it. Our bodies are temples that belong to Christ, so the question we must think and answer is, "Am I taking care of my body in such a way that's honoring God?"

Idolizing "Thinness." I understand why some of us women want to be thin. As women we have this innate thing in us to be desired and delighted in; to be beautiful, and when we don't look like the models that men seem to find desirous, we "logically" conclude that we're not desirous. Or it may be that we wish to be desired or accepted by friends, family, or society. There are several reasons as to why, but I think it all comes back to placing our identity and our acceptance in idols, not in Christ. If you have not read Breanne's post on this, please do, as she talked a lot about this. Our goal should not to be as thin as the models we see on the covers of magazines. In fact I don't mean to burst anybody's bubble, but the models and celebrities on magazine covers are edited in Photoshop. The woman you see on the cover doesn't really look like that in reality. It's chasing an unobtainable standard. Don't buy into lies that somehow reaching a certain weight will make you more valuable or beautiful Our goal is to steward our bodies well by keeping them healthy. That means making smart choices about the foods we eat (not necessarily dieting), getting enough rest, exercising, etc. Health goals shouldn't be legalistic either, but they need to be realistic (which is different for every single person).

Let's Get Practical. Getting healthy in theory is good and all, but making that a reality can be difficult. In no way do I mean to brag, but to be honest, being healthy hasn't been a personal battle for me that much. In other words, it's not an area in my life that the enemy has really tried to "attack" me in. A large part of that is probably due to my parents and how they raised my sister and I. I don't claim to be an expert (and I'm sure not a doctor by any means), but here are just a some of the things I've implemented in my own life:
  • I exercise pretty much every day during the week. While I'm not going prescribe how long I workout or what I do, I think it greatly helps to  pick something you can have fun doing! If you don't like working out in the gym then don't! Try biking, or hiking, or a sport that you can play with others. When you get bored with it, move on to something else. Just find a workout that you can enjoy doing, otherwise the likelihood you'll stick with it, isn't in your favor.
  • No scales. I simply just don't like the mentality of having a scale around to constantly keep track of weight loss/or gain. It's not that I think it's wrong to have one around, I just think it can encourage me to get obsessive about something that I don't need to be.
  • I keep tabs on cravings. Cravings are not bad, in fact in many ways it's the body's way of communicating that it's lacking in a nutrient (check out Decode Your Cravings for a few examples), so for the most part I try to pick a healthier alternative. But there are times I give into the less healthier options, and I don't feel bad about it.
  • I try to have good eating habits. When I'm full, I don't keep eating, fast-food is a rarity, I eat home cooked meals rather than tons of processed food, I don't diet, etc. Like I just said, I don't have a need to diet (at least not at this point in my life), but I do take baby steps to implement healthier eating and cooking habits into my life. For instance, when I cook, if I can I try to avoid using canola oil and use olive oil (or coconut) instead, because the body can break down those two way easier than it can canola. Or eating foods that are natural metabolism boosters (cinnamon, coffee, apples, grapefruit, etc.) Just becoming more aware of eating things like that, but at the same time not going overboard. I don't shop at Whole Foods and you won't find me in the aisles reading the ingredient list on packages.
  • Naps are awesome. No doubt about it. Sabbath is extremely important to my health and sanity. And I'm trying to be more about energy management rather than time management... which sorta deserves a post dedicated to itself.
  • I drink water. The majority of Americans don't drink nearly as much water as they should in a given day. Water also boosts metabolism, flushes out toxins, helps in weight loss, gives you healthier skin, and slew of other things.
  • I Limit Media Intake. In many ways, I think we all are a bit blind as to how much the media affects us. To varying degrees it can mold our perceptions (be it good or bad). For me that means avoiding many of the fashion/beauty magazines and purposefully not keeping up with all the latest diet and fitness trends (because let's be honest, there's a ridiculous amount of them). A few studies have even been done to show that women who don't look at fashion or beauty magazines tend to have a much more positive outlook about their appearance, than women who do.
What about you? I'd like to hear your thoughts on this all as well. How are you, or what are some other ways you're "stewarding" you're physical body in such a way that honors God? Or how are you "navigating society's pressures in terms of health/body image/weight?"

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1 comment :

  1. i LOVE this post natalie!! thanks for writing :)

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