Make Deliberate Choices to Nourish Your Body
Welcome back to the second week of 7 Weeks to a Stronger Body! Hopefully, you found your “why” in Week One. (If you missed it, you can use the links at the bottom to back track.) Now we’ll get to the nitty gritty of “how” and we’ll start with food.
Did you know that worldwide, obesity is now a bigger problem than hunger. Think about that. There are more people are dying in the world from eating too much than there are ying from starvation. Many of the leading causes of death are related to our modern diet and are entirely preventable.
Today and tomorrow we are going to examine how we can be deliberate about nourishing our bodies. There is no shortage of information today about healthy eating (some of it contradictory). I imagine you already have an idea of how to eat healthy.
For most of us, the problem isn’t knowing what foods to choose, it’s about having the mindset and the discipline to choose the best foods.
So I’m not going to get into what you should or shouldn’t eat. I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist and you’ve probably heard all that before anyway.
I want to focus on how we think about food because I believe that’s where many of us struggle the most. I like to keep it simple because my life is already too complicated.
Speaking of keeping it simple, I have divided this information into two posts so as not to overwhelm you. You’ll have to come back tomorrow to catch the rest!
Here are the first 3 of 6 easy principles I try to use personally when I think about the food I deliberately put in my mouth:
1-Calories are currency.
Think about your calorie intake and output like you do your checking account. You have to spend less than you earn and eat less than you burn. Make a calorie budget. When you get down to the root of it, overeating and overspending are basically the same problem.
This is where portion control comes into play. Our American restaurants have fooled us into thinking a portion of any particular food is much larger than it actually is. I am always surprised when I actually measure out a portion and see how small it really is.
Calories are also connected to the amount of exercise you do. The more you move, the more calories you burn, and the more food you can eat. It’s not rocket science.
Exercising is to eating what earning a salary is to spending. If you quit your job and keep spending money, eventually you will overdraw your account. If you don’t exercise, but eat like you do, you will wear out your body prematurely.
2-Not all calories are created equal.
Don’t fool yourself. 1000 calories of veggies, fruits, and lean proteins are not the same as 1000 calories of chips, soda, and candy. They just aren’t. Don’t lie to yourself. You’re smarter than that!
3-Eat food that nourishes your body.
The purpose of food is to provide your body with what it needs to function well. The primary purpose of food isn’t tickling your taste buds, soothing your upset feelings, filling your stomach or satisfying your cravings. Those are all a part of eating, but the real reason we eat should be to nourish our bodies.
You nourish your body by putting the good in and keeping the bad out. It’s not complicated. We just don’t like doing it.
We lived in Korea for a year and I found their perspective on food to be fascinating. Every time we ate with them, they were deliberate about explaining the health benefits of each particular food. They view food as something you eat because it benefits your body in a specific way. If it’s not good for their bodies, they don’t eat it.
I saw only 3 overweight Koreans during the year we lived there. Three! No wonder they kept asking me why so many Americans are overweight. I think a big part of the answer is how we think about food which affects what we choose to eat.
I know I often fall into the trap of thinking of food as a means to satisfy my cravings. But here’s the thing, your cravings will lie to you about what your body really needs. They can’t be trusted.
What do you want more? A stronger body or that unhealthy food you’re craving?
We are also tempted to use food as a friend, counselor, or comforter when we are dealing with negative emotions. But food wasn’t designed to do any of those things. That’s what God and people are for.
I highly recommend the book Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst. Her basic thesis is that we have all been intentionally designed to crave a meaningful relationship with God. Life has a way of getting us out of whack at times and we misinterpret our longing for God as a desire for food, money or material possessions.
“I believe God made us to crave. Now before you think this is some sort of cruel joke by God, let me assure you that the object of our craving was never supposed to be food or other things people find themselves consumed by, such as sex or money or chasing after significance.”
~ Lysa Terkeurst
It’s helpful to pause and examine the real reasons we are craving something and ask ourselves if it will really bring satisfaction when we eat it. Chances are, it won’t.
My biggest craving is always for chocolate. I read somewhere once that chocolate cravings could indicate a magnesium deficiency. The article listed several foods that are high in magnesium and suggested we eat those instead of chocolate. The only food I remember was split peas. I thought, “Split peas to satisfy a chocolate craving? Nope. Not gonna happen. Not unless they are chocolate covered split peas.” So for the cravings I don’t want to eliminate entirely, I just focus on reducing the amount.
Come back tomorrow to get the next 3 principles!
Which principle of healthy eating will you focus on this week?
What principle would you add to the list?
Click the image below to find the links to all the posts in this series.
Next post in this series:
Week Two: Nourish Deliberately
Part 2: 6 Easy Principles of Healthy Eating, #4-6