Written by Jenn Bryant, MS, RDN, LD, CDCES
I was first introduced to Intuitive Eating in college and I thought it was such a breath of fresh air after growing up deep in diet culture. Every new fad diet I tried kept taking me back to the staleness of diet culture. This simply revealed that I hadn’t truly given up the diet mentality or adopted a true intuitive eating mentality.
It was a battle. Every day, I tried to recognize destructive thoughts and behaviors and squash them! If this is you now, and sometimes you feel like you are losing the battle, keep going my friend. Looking back, even when I felt like I was losing, I see now that I was learning and making progress.
Today, I can honestly say, “I have won!” I have a new sense of peace and freedom when it comes to food that I wasn’t sure was possible. I also know that I didn’t do it alone. It was my faith in God that helped me open that door to breath the fresh air again.
Intuitive Eating and Faith
As a practicing Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I help my clients explore at how Intuitive Eating and Faith connect. I love that Intuitive Eating focuses on hunger cues and trusting and taking care of the body. I believe this is what God calls us to do also through His word (1 Corinthians 6:19 and 1 Corinthians 10:31).
Both Intuitive Eating and the Bible focus on taking care of the body and making choices that promote feeling good mentally, physically, and spiritually. We must nourish each of these areas as they are intricately connected!
Faith-Based nutrition is simply using Biblical principles to influence how we feed our bodies and our attitudes behind it. The Bible doesn’t talk much about food. Any diet or book that tells you a certain way to eat because it is in the Bible is probably searching for something that just isn’t there.
What we do know is that the Bible talks a lot about our attitudes and motivations behind how and what we eat. I firmly believe that God does care about nutrition.
The Bible also talks about God creating food for both nourishment and pleasure (Genesis 2:8-9). Unfortunately, we humans are pretty good at using God’s creation in the wrong way. When we disrupt the balance of food for nourishment and pleasure, then we find ourselves struggling. Pause here and do a quick heart check.
Are there eating patterns that are not honoring my hunger or helping me take care of this body I have been given?
Intuitive Eating and faith-based nutrition overlap quite a lot when it comes to our attitudes. Galatians 5:22-23 lists the fruits of the Spirit. The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Each of these characteristics can help us fuel our bodies well. For example, we increase in kindness to our bodies when we focus on nourishing it rather than depriving it. We can also cultivate thankfulness for our bodies and find joy in taking care of them.
Another Biblical principle, forgiveness, comes up often when talking about nutrition. When we make, what we consider to be a mistake, we accept God’s forgiveness and we move on! This is such an important direction shift when thinking about how to break the guilt and shame cycle.
As we talk about faith-based nutrition, we always want to remember that growing in FAITH first will produce behaviors that please the Lord. This one is possibly the most important! We must focus FIRST on the LORD! When we focus on Him, our love for Him grows, then our faith grows, and we begin to see real change in our hearts and our behaviors!
This article was written by Jenn Bryant, author of the Food and Faith Program. 8 weeks of Food and Faith to Fuel Your Health.
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