Rules Ø relationship = rebellion. I learned this valuable piece of parenting advice ages ago. But, the theory applies to all aspects of life—even food. A lifetime of rigorous food rules eventually evokes an inner revolt. Without establishing a healthy relationship with food, the struggle will always be your shoulder devil. Transformative eating can eliminate a dysfunctional relationship with food.
Serial dieting and food replacement products offer a temporary, often unsuccessful, fix. Transformative eating can alter your eating habits, your relationship with food, and your overall health.
What is Transformative Eating?
Transformative eating eschews calorie-counting, bathroom scales, restrictive eating, regimented exercise programs, and long-term weight-loss products. They muddle the truth that food is God’s love made edible.
Food is at our disposal to nourish, heal, and share, but we’ve gotten it all wrong. We’ve forgotten about the spiritual roots of food. When we dismiss a Creator connection to food, we miss an opportunity to experience God’s grace through the provision of a life-giving gift: food.
You could probably spend the rest of your life making poor food choices and wrestling with dysfunctional eating and still not change unless faced with an imminent health crisis. We often treat our spiritual life in much the same way.
Maybe we get by with a few bites of complacent Bible reading and a mouthful of obligatory prayers. Eventually, spiritual apathy becomes normal until a moral dilemma smacks us in the face or a life-altering crisis attempts to knock us off our feet. Then we get serious about our faith.
We have the privilege of abundance in both physical food and spiritual food. Eating is one of those mundane tasks we practice multiple times throughout the day. When we place our hope for recovery from disordered eating in a pill, powder, program, or person, then we miss the redemptive opportunity to be rescued from within.
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Practice Transformative Eating by
Stewarding Your Image-bearing Body Well
The mandate to responsibly and mindfully steward our body comes with expectations and consequences. What exactly does this sentence stuffed with theology mean? The expectation is to nurture and nourish our image-bearing body. The consequences of irresponsible and negligent eating are health issues and/or a dysfunction relationship with food.
We are encouraged to glorify God in all things, which includes our eating. The over-arching objective of all life is to bring honor and glory to him even in mundane tasks like eating.
Receiving Food With Sincere Gratitude
Ultimately, we are dependent on God for food—not farmers, not supermarkets, not scientists. The moment we dismiss or forget that God provides our food for us to survive leaves room for self-sufficiency to worm its way into our thinking.
God expects the recipients of his provision to be thankful. How will you express gratitude for food? Eating is a gift for us to gratefully enjoy. Develop the habit of maintaining a Gratitude Journal and make one of your daily entries about food.
Avoiding Distracted Eating
Distraction can hijack our devotional time when cell phone notifications seduce us like the enchanting Siren song. We bow at the altar of likes, follows, views and subscribers; I am guilty as charged. It’s the same with our eating. Too often, we eat facing a screen instead of a face.
Busy moms multitask while eating with one arm while holding a baby with the other and probably doing something like closing a cabinet with her foot. A distraction-free meal means sitting down to savor the meal’s textures, colors, flavors, and aroma with every bite.
There is something magical that happens when we lite a few candles, use a tablecloth, arrange a few random stems of plucked or purchased flowers in a favorite vase, cook a meal, and share the whole scene with a friend or a stranger.
The menu does not require a degree in culinary arts. Make it simple but allow it to nourish those who grace your table.
Establishing Healthy Living Habits
We have the freedom to choose the foods we want to eat, but does that freedom permit us to neglect our health? Often unhealthy food habits and disordered eating hinders us from experiencing a full life and ministry. Reduced energy, chronic illness, physical limitations, consumes finances, time, and energy.
Balanced healthy eating habits can change your perspective on food and end the constant battles with eating.
Eating Like the Japanese but Eat Real Food
“Hara Hachi Bu” which means, eat until you are 80 percent full, literally “belly 80% full.” The ancient eating principle associated with the Japanese island of Okinawa, a population known for its longevity and health, is a widely practiced tradition among the Okinawans.
Stop eating when you feel full. Imitate the Okinawans who eat smaller portions and eat more slowly than their overeating Western counterparts. Okinawans are in tune with their bodies which allows them to detect a feeling of satiety or “stop eating; I am full.”
Distracted and hurried eating prevents the “I am full” signal (which can take at least 20 minutes) to travel from the stomach to the brain before reaching for a second helping.
Extending Your Stewardship Beyond Your Kitchen
I have a sign in my kitchen that says “Grow Your Own Food; Feed Your Soul.” It is a constant reminder of the benefits of toiling the soil and using the earth’s resources with thanksgiving.
Knowing that His creation reflects his image and displays his glory should propel us to care for the world that God made.
Reducing Your Plate Size
The typical American family uses a 12-inch plate, and we tend to fill the plate to the brim. You aren’t at an all you can eat buffet trying to get your money’s worth. Dismiss the myth that you must finish everything on your plate, instead listen to your body tell you when its full.
Dr. Mark Hyman, author and Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, the Founder of The UltraWellness Center, suggests exchanging your standard size dinner plate for a smaller plate and fill it with whole foods.
Planning Meals Using Food That Nourishes
Meal planning saves money and time. Using real food recipes in your meal planning guarantees that you know the exact ingredients in every dish you cook. Preparing real food meals means that you don’t spend time deciphering the contents of processed foods.
Discovering Food Triggers
Certain foods, restaurants, and activities may heighten your desire for sugar. For example, some people need to buy a box of candy every time they go to the movie. If you are trying to kick the sugar habit, does this mean you refrain from going to the movies? Maybe, for a while, until you get your sugar cravings under control.
Practicing Balanced Eating
The lifestyle approach to healthy eating requires balance, not a lifetime of depriving yourself of something you enjoy like homemade brownies or a slice of birthday cake. Once you discover that healthful food is a tool for nourishment and pleasure, it is easier to make better food choices.
Finding the right healthy eating balance for you may mean eating clean food during the week and indulging on the weekend. While for others, it may require a lifetime of living dairy-free, no-sugar, or processed foods.
Learn to make smart choices even during your times of indulging.
Transformative Eating Can Bring About Change
Change is risky business, as Winston Churchill claimed, “You must put your head into the lion’s mouth if the performance is to be a success.” The comforting news about change is that its possible. You can reform your dysfunctional eating, establish and cultivate a lifestyle of healthy eating by practicing transformational eating.