Faith, Food, and Body-Image
Combatting dysfunctional thoughts can be one of the most challenging things we do. For me, it requires me to make a conscious decision every day to speak GOD’S truths about myself TO myself. And to deny and destroy anything that goes against this. This includes goals for my life and the PURPOSE that God has already ordained for me. It also includes changing the way I view the relationships in my life and how I choose to manage them. It also includes how I grab ahold of my thoughts on my faith, food, and my body image. Body image issues at 28-years old? Did I just ‘say’ that out loud? Oh dear! Well now that the cat’s out the bad…may we continue?
Adolescent and teenage girls face these issues DAILY especially in the body perfection culture that we live in. Social media just magnifies it. My prayer is that I can be an example of transparency, honesty, and a light that illustrates GOD’s love and SELF-LOVE to them. Not perfection.
Growing up, I always viewed myself (thanks to comments made by a few distant relatives) as the ‘fat’ sister. 😱Terrible, right? No need to feel bad…but I mean who says that to a child? Well, it stuck with me. Little did I know, over-time these insecurities would manifest themselves in different ways. Specifically, the way I thought about food, what I saw when I looked in the mirror, and the way I thought God made a mistake when He gave me my petite bone structure, my small boobs, chunky butt, less than flat mid-section, and my narrow hips. I mean, why couldn’t He give me the beauty I saw in other girls? Yes, I was affirmed of my inward and outward beauty as a child by my mother. But these are the battles that many of us face in secret. But not anymore. No longer will it hold us bondage!
Fast forward to October 2017:
While I don’t remember exactly what I was going through, I would call it a season where a transformation that I wasn’t aware of yet was about to begin. A spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical journey I like to call it. I was speaking at an even to represent Own Your Peach this day and I was inspired by a young woman by the name of Jada Smith’s story about the importance of health and wellness. She shared her testimony about her near-death experience that GOD brought her through. To learn more about her, click HERE.
Her story inspired me to FINALLY figure out what works for me, and to DO THAT. To stop following diet trends, stop coveting Instagram celebrities who promote products they didn’t even use to get the results they have. It encouraged me to seek to love MYSELF even if I never reach my fitness goals. Wow! If I don’t love me…well, you know the rest.
Anywhoo, while I was initially hesitant, I decided that the new year would be a time for me to begin my own transformation. Without the gimmicks. Strictly for my own spiritual, mental and physical health. In Christianity, we are often told to be on guard for vanity and putting too much emphasis on our outer appearance. This is a good thing, but sometimes it creates this level of guilt in feeling and looking good. But I believe that if we take care of ourselves, we look good and as a result, we feel good! And that should be celebrated. Especially if we aim to glorify God and help someone else along the way!
While I still consider myself to be on a journey because I am ever evolving to be the woman God would have me to be, I want to share what I’ve learned and what I continue to incorporate into my life. (Mainly because I’ve been asked what I’ve been doing and how I plan on maintaining it).
After a lot of prayer and seeking God’s will in this area, I realized the one thing that ALWAYS makes me relapse on a diet or plateau from my exercise regimen or meal planning…SUGAR!! Y’all…your girl has a sweet tooth. I was that person who after every meal (lunch and dinner if I could get my hands on something) needed to have something sweet. It was THAT bad. I had NO sense of self-control, which also convicted me in a spiritual sense. We see in 2 Timothy 1:7 that God gives us the tools we need to withstand temptation with the gift of SELF-CONTROL. And Proverbs 25:28 warns us of the dangers of not using the self-control that God has given us. This habit was something I always viewed as something I would be stuck with forever so why bother changing it. But I had to QUICKLY, CONFIDENTLY and INTENTIONALLY replace that negative thought with GOD’S TRUTH which is: I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me! Philippians 4:13. If this statement is true…what makes this situation so different? Exactly!
Anywhoo, y’all (yes, y’all…its the Texas in me lol) know I can be long-winded so let me try to wrap this up by getting to the good stuff lol
I did some research on detoxing from sugar to get rid of the addiction. Because that’s what it was. An addiction. I knew that I would always enjoy sweets, but I needed to train my mind and body not to depend on it. Is there anything that you are depending on that is coming between you and God? Between you and your purpose? Let that marinate on that for a minute.
Okay so for 14-days straight, (starting January 2018) I eliminated the following items: (Yes, I went COLD TURKEY)
Fruits with a high glycemic index. This meant no grapes, melons, watermelon, bananas (I limited these to like one/week which is still in line with the detox)
Anything that is not sweet by nature and/or turns into sugar during digestion (i.e. pasta, rice, bread, flour, cereal, cookies, potatoes, sweetened vanilla almond milk, brownies 😦 etc.).
No eating after 8pm
Try to drink half my body weight in water
Sooooooooo what DID I eat?
Lean grass-fed beef
Unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Steel-cut oats (I have permanently switched from traditional oatmeal just because its less processed)
Berries (i.e. strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, etc.)
PROPER PLANNING AND MEAL-PREP WERE MY LIFE-SAVER!!
Warning: Detox symptoms
Y’all. The struggle was real especially for the first week because my body started to wake-up and realize I was attempting to pull a trick on it. I had headaches, night sweats, facial break-outs, flu-like symptoms like body aches and dizziness (so much that I went to the Dr. because I was afraid I might actually have the flu. Thank God I didn’t have a fever, so I was in the clear. It was just a nasty cold that was coming on).
Anywhoo, if you can get through the withdrawal…you’ll be fine! It really is mind over matter!
But then what?
Well, I decided to adopt this into my lifestyle on a permanent basis. During the week I stick to the no added sugar rule, and on weekends I allow myself to indulge. Of course, I don’t get it right 100% of the time but I just keep it pushing! I try not to over-do the weekend indulging though. For example, I can’t enjoy pizza as much anymore because it does absolutely nothing for the way my body feels afterwards.
Now, any time I got anywhere or plan to eat out, I have to consider “nutrients” instead of just going for taste. But it has been worth it!
Well I’ll leave you all with that! I hope this answer some of the questions I have been asked over the last couple months. Are you addicted to sugar? Let me know if you decide to try it and how it works out for you!
P.S. Here I am today with a midsection that’s still less than flat and guess what? I still love myself! The more time I spend intentionally LOVING and ACCEPTING myself, the less time I have to be critical of myself. Is that a word or is that a word?! 🙌🏾💕😌