Have you ever asked yourself if intuitive eating is right for you? This blog post is about intuitive eating from a faith-based perspective.
To us, Intuitive eating means listening to what your body needs as fuel for nourishment and not eating whatever you want, whenever you want and how much of whatever you want, because that is what they call “free-for-all” eating. Free-for-all eating means that if your gut tells you to eat a burger and fries then you go and eat it, regardless of whether you’re actually hungry or not.
Intuitive eating is learning about your body and what your body is asking for, so here is one definition that we found on Google:
Intuitive eaters choose foods based on hunger, fullness and enjoyment instead of long-held food rules, restrictions or other external factors. They trust their bodies to tell them when to eat, what to eat and exactly how much to eat.Google Search
It’s a non-judgment approach that removes guilt and shame around eating, so it sounds pretty amazing, right?
Yeah, except for the fact that you can eat whatever you want and how much of whatever you want, and so you can over-indulge at any time. This is where it goes astray for us and doesn’t align with what the Bible has to say. We believe the purpose behind intuitive eating is great, which is to break the diet culture that has so many of us held in bondage. So the reason behind intuitive eating is really a wonderful concept.
It’s Time To Fire Your Diet
At WeighDown Lifestyle, we talk about firing your diet because dieting is mostly about deprivation, doing something you hate, and for a short-term fix rather than about reclaiming your health and creating a healthy lifestyle that you love. When you are depriving yourself and starting on another diet because you hate yourself, then you tell yourself you should never eat bread or chocolate ever again or you should only eat vegetables and salads for the rest of time because you hate the way that you look… and that’s a horrible way to live.
Beginning a diet this way is a very negative starting point for wanting to lose weight, and when we’re always depriving our bodies, we get into this victim mentality where we are in the pity pot mode and feeling sorry for ourselves. This is not living a life filled with joy the way God calls us and wants us to live.
Being in a victim mentality is where we are thinking “oh, poor me! Oh dear me, I can’t have anything that tastes good. Oh my, why me? Why can they eat whatever they want and not gain a pound? Poor me, I only have to think about food and I gain weight!
That’s a victim mentality attitude and that does not align with how Jesus lived nor how scripture calls us to live.
Intuitive Eating God’s Way
We know that God’s way is the best way so eating intuitively God’s way is also the better way. We want to find freedom with food God’s way too and break the bond that food has over us. This means asking God to help us take back the control that food has over our minds.
When food feeds our every emotion, we have no freedom. Food has become our source of comfort, our source of peace and our source of relief from stress. Food is our source of calm in anxious times, and food has become our companion. We are turning to food rather than God. When we look at it in this way, food really has become an idol in our lives and that’s not okay.
As we think about intuitive eating and the diet culture, the two are polar opposites; they are on opposite ends of the spectrum. We often think about how pendulums swing back and forth from one side to the next, and for a long time we were on the side of the diet culture pendulum swing.
It’s About Balance
A lot of people are still there, but now there’s this movement of intuitive eating where the pendulum is swinging so far the other way. The extremes on either side are not good because they are not aligning with scripture for healthy balanced living.
As believers, moderation and balance (self-control) must come into play. The Bible speaks about moderation and balance and It seems that both are missing on the extremes of that pendulum.
So we can take some good things from the diet culture and we can take some good things from the intuitive eating culture and then bring them back to balance, making sure that they align with how God is asking us to live.
We talk a lot about treating our bodies like a temple, not a trash can, and both extremes are missing the mark of treating our bodies like temples.
How Do We Incorporate A healthy Balanced Lifestyle Into The Intuitive Eating Pendulum?
Breaking the chains of allowing food to control us is very important. So many people still don’t realize that so many foods have a lot of nasty chemicals and ingredients added that actually are what cause our cravings. This has to be taken into consideration when we think about intuitive eating. When we eat whatever we want and as much as we want, we need to recognize that the chemicals will continue to cause us to crave more and more of those foods, and this plays into overindulging. These chemicals trigger something in our brain and then we want more!
It’s a vicious cycle that keeps us stuck and craving more unhealthy foods. So intuitive eating would then allow you to have more because you want more, but the Bible differs here and says we need to use moderation and self-control. Overindulging doesn’t align with scripture but is causing us to indulge in gluttony.
Become Aware Of What We Put Into Our Mouths
The bottom line is that we need to become aware of what we put into our mouths; is it beneficial to our bodies or is it harming our bodies and causing our cravings? If we are only following intuitive eating without the Bible as our blueprint, we will continually be going back to processed junk food because it will continually cause us to have more cravings for the same foods. Our minds will fall into the trap of telling us that’s okay (it’s just intuitive eating), but it’s not God’s way of treating our bodies like a temple. We need to be careful not to get into the diet culture of deprivation, but we need to have self-control so we are not going off the rails.
This leads to another point with intuitive eating where you’re supposed to totally forget about your weight. You’re also not supposed to worry about gaining weight when you start intuitive eating and a lot of people do gain weight with intuitive eating because they are over-eating..
The Body Acceptance Movement
The whole body-acceptance / body-positivity movement is kind of saturated in this as well, and again, there are some very valid points with this movement. For one, we were not all meant to be a size zero. Size zero certainly does not equate to health. We want to learn to love who God created us to be, but again, the extremes on either side of the pendulum are not healthy.
The body acceptance movement where we continue to over-indulge and convince ourselves that obesity is okay is not in alignment with what the Bible says. If we are indulging in gluttonous behavior and causing our bodies ill health, then we need to revisit what the Bible says. The Bible talks about how gluttony is a sinful behavior and so it’s not okay.
Proverbs 25:16 says:
If you find honey, eat just enough— too much of it, and you will vomit.Proverbs 25:16 (NIV)
Quite simply put, eat some honey, but don’t eat too much or you’ll be sick. We don’t want to be sick and we don’t want to over-indulge because it does not align with scripture. The Bible speaks about moderation and self-control and this is how we should be viewing what we consume, through the lens of scripture.
This whole intuitive eating movement is somewhat complicated and, as believers, the Bible is our blueprint for best living. This is where freedom with food truly comes into play.
The whole concept of freedom with food is ultimately what we want. We don’t want food to have power or control over us, but when it does we start obsessing over food. We want to choose wisely and make sure that we are eating to live, not living to eat.
What Does Freedom With Food Mean?
The Bible is our blueprint for best living; it’s like a set of guidelines for us and when we live by it there is freedom with food. This means we have freedom within the boundaries God has set out for us. Yes, that’s right! The free-for-all lifestyle from a faith perspective just doesn’t compute. That’s not self-control in any area of our lives, whether it’s with finances, alcohol, relationships, or food. Freedom comes when we’re living within the boundaries that God has set out for us and we choose to follow this lifestyle. This is freedom with food, choosing to make healthy choices.
Again Proverbs 25:16 says:
Do you like honey? Don’t eat too much or it will make you sick!Proverbs 25:16 (NLT)
It doesn’t say don’t eat it; it doesn’t say never have it! It says don’t eat too much!
We also want you to understand that nothing here is said from a position of judgment. This topic is one that needs to be pondered and reflected on. We each have to come to our own understanding and our own conclusion with the body positivity movement and the intuitive eating movement.
One thing we would like to share with you that will definitely help you make good decisions and good food choices is our 5-Step Decision-Making Guide called “Should I Eat That?” This will help you decipher what your gut is telling you to eat versus what your body is wanting right now.
What Does Intuitive Eating Look Like To You?
As a believer, we want our lifestyle to align with what the Bible teaches and so we would love to hear your thoughts and your perspective on this topic. What does intuitive eating look like to you from a faith-based perspective?
Our 5-Step Decision Making Guide will help you decide if your choices are helping or hurting you in your weight loss journey, and if you are choosing or cheating with your decisions. It’s time we take the power back that food has over us. If you use this guide, it will help you and give you freedom in your choices.
With our guide, you will see that if you simply just change the language of what you’re doing, you can change your whole relationship with food, which is food freedom!
Our 5-Step Decision Making Guide is really our faith-based approach to intuitive eating, essentially where we’re bringing the pendulum back into balance. It’s all about living a happy, healthy life full of purpose with balance, doing it God’s way. It’s going to change your whole relationship with food so keep asking yourself “Should I Eat That?
Always remember to Treat Your Body Like a Temple, not a Trash Can!
Ruth & Kayce
P.S. Here is our video on “A Christian Perspective On Intuitive Eating.” Make sure to subscribe to our Youtube Channel!