Pass the Fruit

fruit of spiritA dietician declaring “No More Dieting?”

Aren’t dieticians all about diets?  The word “diet” is in their name, after all.

Not dieticians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, to the surprise and relief of the diet-weary.   In their book, Intuitive Eating, they share stories of real life change that have resulted from their unconventional approach.  You may recall that it recently inspired me to make my own “Declaration of Dieting Independence.”

While the book is not written from a distinctly Christian perspective, I was struck by the way its principles seemed to echo many biblical themes, like grace and freedom.  I kept noticing references to the “Fruit of the Spirit,” that oft-quoted list of nine godly character qualities found in Galatians 5:22-23.*

It just never occurred to me to serve this kind of fruit at the dinner table!

Here is a sampling of quotes from the book, along with their corresponding “fruit.”  Perhaps it will whet your appetite for more.

Love

“If you don’t love it, don’t eat it.  If you love it, savor it.”

(Eating should be pleasurable!)

Joy

“It’s not about going to the gym to exercise, it’s about finding a realistic way to provide regular, joyful movement in your life.”

(For someone with an aversion to exercise, this sounds so much more enJOYable.)

Peace

“Make peace with food.  Call a truce; stop the food fight!  Give yourself unconditional permission to eat.”

(Food was never meant to be a battlefield.  The war is over.)

Patience

“Please be patient with yourself.”

(There are no “quick fixes.”  This process may take awhile.)

Kindness

“She learned to give herself nurturing messages and make nonjudgmental decisions about her eating.”

(Why is this so hard to do?)

Goodness

“Scream a loud ‘No’ to thoughts in your head that declare you’re ‘good’ for eating minimal calories or ‘bad’ because you ate a piece of chocolate cake.”

(My “goodness” is not based upon my performance.)

Faithfulness

“Progress, not perfection, is what counts.”

(Being faithful does not mean being perfect.)

Gentleness

“We call this approach gentle nutrition.  Taste is important, but health is still honored, without guilt.”

(I like this.  Gentleness, not rules and rigid standards.)

Self Control

“She was thrilled that ‘without trying’ she was eating less food, feeling satisfied without deprivation, and not dieting.”

 (Who wouldn’t be thrilled?!)

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives…” (Galatians 5:22a, NLT, italics mine)

It’s called “the fruit of the Spirit” because it’s HIS doing!  We can’t manufacture it on our own.  But as we yield to the Spirit’s control and influence, the fruit will bud, blossom and eventually grow to maturity.

I’m encouraged by the little buds I see emerging in my own life.

I may not be dieting, but I’ll gladly take another serving of that fruit!

*Qualities listed are from The New American Standard Bible.

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The Leap

Diet

For Lent, I’m giving up…DIETING.

Actually, I’m giving it up for good.

Let me explain.

Almost a year ago I wrote a blog post titled “Imperfect Progress,” where I shared about my crazy weight loss teeter totter ride.  I felt quite vulnerable in doing so.  (Much like I feel now.)  In case you missed it, I’ll summarize.  It went something like this:

Gain.  Lose.  Gain.  Lose.  Gain.  Lose.

Gain.

That’s right.  The teeter totter went back up, as teeter totters are prone to do.  And feelings of self-worth and acceptance went down.  Way down.

Imperfect Progress?  More like Perfect Regress.

At a friend’s recommendation I recently picked up a book called Intuitive Eating.  To my surprise, authors and nutritionists Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch were familiar with life on a teeter totter.  Only they called it “The Seesaw Syndrome.”  On one end sits Deprivation (the essence of dieting) and on the other end, Guilt (the result of overeating).  Chronic dieters know this maddening and merciless cycle all too well.

The solution, according to the authors?

JUMP OFF.

Stop Dieting.

For Real.

“…just as when one kid decides to get off the seesaw, the other is forced to stop playing.  When you give yourself permission to not be deprived, you simultaneously let go of the guilt!  By giving yourself permission to eat, you stop playing the futile seesaw game.”

The initial leap off of the teeter totter is both terrifying and exhilarating.  But rather than continue to perpetuate this self-defeating cycle, I am now turning my energies towards developing a long-term, healthy relationship with food.  I am learning to be patient with myself in this process, resisting the temptation to go for the temporary “quick fix.”  God has given me “new eyes” through which to view myself and food.

It feels a lot like…Grace.

The following caught my eye on Facebook yesterday, because it captures, in a nutshell, what the Lord has been so patiently teaching me:

I need to be skinnier love myself.

I am thrilled to be off the teeter totter and onto a new path.  There is much still to be discovered.  I hope to share more as I continue on this journey with Him.

Anyone care to join me?

The godly eat to their hearts’ content, but the belly of the wicked goes hungry. (Proverbs 13:25, NLT)

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