Overcoming Unhealthy Mentalities
Over the past few years, I’ve come to the conclusion (slowly) that when it comes to my diet choices I change my mind like my 7 year old daughter changes outfits. I can be swayed as easily as a boat in a hurricane from a simple Netflix documentary, a convincing Pinterest graphic or the latest diet fad synopsis from a friend. All of this, in an effort to seek health, has left me feeling anything but healthy. This quest has filled my mind with opposing thoughts threatening sure disaster “if I eat…” or “if I don’t do…” – it’s madness I tell you, madness! I certainly fit the bill to be classified as a Yo-yo dieter, and I think that’s something that most of us struggle with in this Information Age. Bombarded with a constant flurry of advice – sometimes well-meaning and sometimes sales schemes – that not only leaves us confused but also discouraged and defeated.
My efforts haven’t been to lose weight necessarily as much as to achieve health, and in my eyes that meant getting rid of my belly, feeling more energized and yes being a little more toned in general. I have found though, that in an attempt to achieve these results, I have added undue stress on myself, which inadvertently seems to have afflicted my overall health in a negative way (not to mention it’s been a major time-suck). Now, the realization of this, in itself, has caused me to shift my entire paradigm of thinking, which – in itself – is a positive result! As you may well know, we are not creatures of circumstance, we are given free will by our Creator, and thankfully we are also given a brain and a conscious.
Before I dive into the realization I’ve come to, I want to explore how I got to it, and what led me to this discovery. But also, what God has been revealing to me, through His word, through external readings, advice from my husband and just general good old-fashioned common sense. We are going to discover how to begin a journey of overcoming unhealthy mentalities by first looking at some of those mentalities.
“Vegan is THE WAY!”
There was a period of time around 2016 where I watched a Documentary called What The Health out of sheer boredom, and proceeded to have my mind progressively blown from my couch. In the span of the next several months, I transitioned my entire (reluctant) family to a 100% Vegan diet – and also gave myself a full head of (very disorderly) dreadlocks. It was a phase. OK? That lasted for the better part of a year until I got over it. The lifestyle itself blended pretty seamlessly into my whole Natural Living personality, however it wasn’t sustainable, you can read more about that here if you like.
“No, wait – Keto is the right path!”
Next was Keto, and that was a very personal (albeit stupid) choice that I made in a superfluous attempt to “get my body back”. Ladies – moms more specifically – you never lost your body. It’s still attached to your head, go on and check, I’ll wait……………. See? Ah, yes, the shape you mean. Stuff that used to perk now sags, there are bumps and curves in areas that used to be flat, what was once a plain is now a series of hills and valleys – I know – I get it. Probably more so than some, I’ve had 3 children. My youngest I had at the ripe age of 17 – so I’ve struggled my entire adulthood with body image.
After I had my first son, I told myself for quite some time that I was “ruined”, the roadmap of stretchmarks on my belly and the bloat that never ends had me ashamed to look in a mirror unclothed, and then I just stopped caring – stopped taking care of myself. Looking back I can see that this was a form of postpartum depression – something I am most definitely prone to if I don’t check myself and keep myself focusing on positives. People would occasionally ask me if I was pregnant again, and to me these insults not only cut deep, but they stuck with me – and still do to some extent – causing me to have really poor self-esteem over the years.
Unhealthy Mentality – One Extreme to Another
Off and on I “gave up” and just accepted that I’d have the flabbypuffs for the rest of my life, but when I discovered Keto something switched in me and suddenly having flat abs was not only desirable but attainable. This fueled my impulse to stop at nothing to get what I wanted, and I distinctly remember making a “pact” with myself in the summer of 2018 that if I didn’t have my dream bod by the summer of 2019 I’d starve myself as a last-ditch effort. What an unhealthy mentality!
Sometime around the beginning of 2019, I felt myself losing control in the one area I swore I had it – my diet! Things I could once resist without flinching – chocolate and carbs were my weakness! – suddenly became irresistible to me. I couldn’t think of anything but feeding my face. This was enhanced by the storm going on in my soul/personal life at the time, and I went from full-on-Keto to full-on-whatever-I-want-to-eato – one extreme to another. Looking back, I was at the thinnest I’d ever been while on Keto, and while I was pretty confident with my stomach for the first time ever in my adult life – seeing photos now makes me realize that I was too skinny – unhealthy even.
God has been revealing to me lately that true health – whole body health – needs to address our triunity – our spirit, soul and body.
Healing the Body | the Canary in the Coal Mine
Shortly after I stopped Keto I had two kidney infections in a row, and while the doctors didn’t give it a second thought and I can’t prove it, I believe that those illnesses were the canary in the coal mine – they brought me to see that perhaps all of these extreme diets/methods were causing my body harm in the long-run – thus defeating the whole purpose of pursuing health. From my understanding, a vegan diet doesn’t require nearly as much stomach acid to break down food as an animal-product diet. Also, from what I read, those with Type A blood have the lowest amount of hydrochloric acid – that’s me! So, I’m no rocket scientist here but perhaps going from a diet with low acid requirements to a diet with extremely high acid requirements – almost all meat and fat – while having a body type prone to already low stomach acid might not have been the brightest idea.
I must give all the credit to God for pulling me out of the slump (for lack of a better word) that I felt stuck in, which helped my eating – and more importantly, my mindset to improve as well. I can’t say that I’ve necessarily been eating healthy – such a relative term – lately, but I have been recognizing what I’m putting in my body a lot more, thus making smarter choices. I’ve recently been doing some reading about Blood Types and how we should base what we eat on our type, which I find quite interesting and plausible even. After recently experiencing an Ectopic Pregnancy, I started digging to try and find out if there was a reason, or if I could better equip myself so that this never happened again.
While I didn’t find an answer to my original inquiry (I truly believe that sometimes there isn’t one – sometimes things happen that we just can not understand, only God knows) – it did give me a deeper trust and reliance on God, and it did cause me to research more into ways to improve my health holistically. Holistic healing considers the whole person – the triune human beings that we are – Spirit, Soul & Body. I’ve taken the past week or so of downtime – during which the idleness would have normally driven me mad – to invest in myself. I’ve been spending my mornings with the Lord, per usual, but I’ve also been reading a lot more than His word (which in itself is magnificent and enough to feed our souls in it’s completeness).
In his book God Cures: 21 Days to Look Good, Live Great, and Love Well, Damon Davis says this:
If the spirit of man is getting insight, input, and direction from God’s Spirit, the spirit is leading the soul, and the soul is leading the body, then that is the perfect setup for happiness, health, and wholeness. If that is the result of the three parts of you working in perfect alignment, then what is the end result of improper alignment? In other words, if the soul is leading the spirit (meaning the soul is in the driver’s seat), what impact is it going to have on the spirit and the body since the soul is getting it’s marching orders from popular culture and whatever has a grip on your soul? By the way, I once heard it said that what you feed will grow. Consider this scripture: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:21)
Wow! Read that again if you need to. I can pinpoint several times in my life where my triune person was majorly out of alignment. It’s easy for us to get out of alignment in today’s world, unless we are constantly getting a tune-up from the Ultimate Mechanic – Jesus! When one of our material possessions doesn’t function correctly, we don’t understand it or it straight up malfunctions, we check the owner’s manual right? Or we contact the company, who has received instruction from the creator of said item. So, why then, when we are struggling in life, do we turn to everything but the author and finisher of our salvation, Jesus Christ? Why do we look to the world for answers, for solutions, for a “quick fix” instead of going to God’s word – the B I B L E – our Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth? It sounds so simple, but so many of us look everywhere and to everything else first. It’s not until we are at our rock bottom, the end of our rope that we turn to Christ for answers.
Healing the Spirit & Soul | Seeking God First
So my charge to you, friend, is this: seek God, regardless of what you’re going through.
There is no spiritual, emotional or physical storm that He cannot calm with a single word, peace. There is nothing too big, too scary or too broken for our God for He is mighty to save. We can follow the best diet in the world, consult the finest books in our arsenal, seek out the most apt doctors in the country but the Lord our God has the final say. Healing can begin when our spirits are connected to God, this is where true triune health is to be found.
Another quote from the God Cures book that I really enjoyed:
Our soul will begin to prosper the way that God wishes it to at the moment we get serious about living the Spirit-led life. As we begin to live the Spirit-led life, our composition will align, and we will move into a state of homeostasis, fully balanced, and our body will heal itself, as it was designed to do. As we continue to walk in this aligned balance, we will reach the cure that God has in store for us, a state in which nothing in missing, nothing is broken, and everything is whole.
Friends, we can grow all the organic vegetables we want, collect the finest mountain spring water to drink and avoid environmental toxins like the plague, but if we do not have internal peace we will not prosper. We can do all of the research in the world about the best ways to improve our physical health, but if we are not connecting to God and His spirit does not dwell in us, we will profit nothing. We can even study the scriptures and become religious scholars, but if we do not apply what we have read, we will be right back where we started. One of my favorite books of the bible (I have many), James 1:22-25 says:
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do.” There’s nothing wrong with cutting down on processed food, adding more fruits and vegetables to our diets and for goodness sake – yes, please exercise – but, more importantly – be doers of the word, take action, keep your mind positive and focus on what truly matters. Cheers