Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NKJV)
It doesn’t make sense. I hardly ever eat. And yet, I’m gaining weight. Granted, when I do eat, it’s not always healthy food that I’m sticking in my face. But calories are calories, right? It would make sense to me that if I’m not eating a lot of food, I shouldn’t be gaining weight. So why isn’t it working that way?
I attended a nutrition class last weekend and walked out with the answer: our bodies are created for survival. Simply put, when I’m not feeding my body on a regular basis, it goes into defensive mode. It then stores up whatever it can for energy, because it has no earthly idea when it will next receive fuel.
On the surface, it seems like I’m doing okay, watching what I eat. But in reality, I’m forcing my body to gain weight.
It’s easy to do. As a mom, I get busy in the morning, getting ready for work, getting kiddos ready for school. My day begins at 3:00 am, sitting in front of the computer for several hours, writing newscasts and sipping on a mug or two of coffee. Who eats at that hour?
Then I get my kids up for school and do NOT let them out of the house until they’ve had something nutritious to eat. I may take time to eat a bowl of microwaved oatmeal before heading to the brick-and-mortar radio station, but I don’t usually take the time to grab food to bring with me because I know that I won’t have time to eat it between writing and recording newscasts. That generally leads to swinging through a drive-thru on the way to pick up the boys from school for my first meal at 2:00 in the afternoon. Not good.
I’m learning that while it’s important to eat at least 1500 calories a day, you have to spread out those calories throughout the day to keep your metabolism working and to prevent your body from switching to survival mode. Eating 1500 calories once a day is not the way to lose weight.
It’s also important to make sure those 1500-2000 calories a day are what your body actually needs, and not just what your taste buds want. I’m trying to change the way I look at food, recognizing it as fuel for my body. It’s a lot like a car. We don’t just throw any ol’ liquid into our car’s gas tank. Apple juice looks a lot like gasoline. That should work, right? No! It’ll destroy the engine! Our bodies are also an engine. They use food for fuel. And while there are a lot of things that look like food and that are packaged as food, they are not really what our bodies need to run properly.
Not only is real food better for you, but you can eat a lot more of it. Take carrots, for example. I can eat a large handful of carrots (4 whole, medium-sized carrots) for about 100 calories. And I’m getting a huge dose of vitamin A and lots of fiber and heart-healthy potassium in the mix. Or, I can grab one of those little pre-packaged 100 calories snack and get a lot of sugar and “not a significant source of” where nutrients are concerned.
God made these bodies. He also made fuel our bodies need to function properly. I know it’s a challenge to eat healthfully. I really, really know. But I also know that He has blessed me with three beautiful boys that I want to see grow into adulthood. There are tasks the Lord has set before me in my future that I can’t do if I’m obese.
I’m praying through my attitude toward food, praying that the Lord will continue to lead me in the direction of eating the foods He so lovingly created for my body. We are all called to be good stewards of the gifts the Lord has blessed us with, and our bodies are no exception.
Here are some of the changes I’m making to ensure that I’m eating small meals throughout the day:
Eat Breakfast – That occasional bowl of oatmeal is becoming a habit. Kick start your metabolism and let it know you’re not going to starve it today.
Plan Meals – I have to plan every meal and snack, or I’ll wing it, and winging it generally means eating junk.
Pack a Lunch – It’s not fancy–just low-fat yogurt, some granola, cut-up fruit and veggies–but it’s about 500 calories of real food/fuel. And it’s not fast food.
Use the Crockpot – Just sticking a whole chicken in the crockpot as I head to work on Monday morning can mean three meals that my family doesn’t eat fast food. We may only add some rice and canned veggies for a meal, or toss together a quick casserole later in the week, but I’m saving gobs of calories and just as much money.
What have you done to make sure you’re fueling your body in the midst of the chaos of life?