Sunday, January 2, 2011

Eating for Your Soul - Step Two

(The following is from Jarah Christensens' "Eating for Your Soul" copyrighted material -- I've paraphrased, summarized, and quoted from her workbook. Writing helps me study and retain info).

Step Two: Seek Truth

A.  Your Body - Become aware of the "Diet Perspective"
a.  about food
b.  about exercise
c.  about progress
B.  Your Spirit - Pray for discernment
C.  Homework

A.  Your Body - Become aware of the "Diet Perspective" - look closely at your thoughts and actions that keep you from hearing your body and spirit.
The diet perspective is the thoughts and actions that keep you at war with food and your body.

They come from:
-diets you have tried
-word-of-mouth (my input:  urban legend, talk shows)
-those you love and love you

1.  DIET ACTIONS:  Here are examples of actions that could keep you from giving your body and spirit a voice about your health.

-Counting calories
-Eating "safe" foods like fat-free or low-calorie
-Eating by the clock (i.e. - only 3 meals per day, no snacks, stop eating past 8 p.m.)
-Putting off hunger with drinking
-Competing diets with someone for motivation
-Eating based on when you deserve it

2.  DIET WORDS:  Sayings you eat and live by.  You may have learned them from your parents, friends, or spouse.  you probably find yourself repeating them to your children.

-Clean your plate (eat everything on it)
-You waste food; you waste money.
-Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
-You can't eat dessert until you eat your veggies.
-You can't eat now; you will ruin your dinner.
-You served it; you eat it!
-You poor thing!  Did you get a boo-boo?  Eat this.  It will help you feel better.
-You can have this candy if you are good.

We are not placing blame.  We are here to stop the cycle.

(I have to pause.  When I first read these diet words during a meeting, I stopped Jarah and said she is taking all of my ammunition away when it comes to feeding my kids.  Breakfast IS the most important meal of the day.  We should eat our veggies first and wait until dinner before eating.  That's common sense!  Isn't it?  I sat there wondering what she could possibly say to shift my perspective.  Well, she did over the program's course.  When I catch myself saying these things, I change my words and teach my kids a different perspective and to listen to what their body is telling them.  It's better with my 9 and 11 y.o. -- I still use diet words with my 5 y.o. -- I haven't figured out how to help him, yet.  I'll ask Jarah the next time we speak about this.)

Other diet words Jarah mentioned are calling different foods "good" or "bad" -- she uses "real food" and "play food" instead.

3.  DIET THOUGHTS - Your thoughts are the stem of your actions and words.  Look at your thoughts about food and question them.  Have they brought you closer to your body or made you distrust your body?

a.  Diet thoughts about food
-Do I deserve it?
-I can only eat this if I work out tomorrow (or longer).
-I shouldn't be eating this.
-Did I eat good or bad today?
-Candy bars exist to torture me!

b.  Diet thoughts about exercise:
-It's not worth it if I can't put at least 30 minutes in.
-I need to burn at least "x" amount of calories before I get off the treadmill.
-I really shouldn't be eating this because I didn't exercise today.
-I hate being sore!

c.  Diet thoughts about progress
These are the hardest to change because most of us have experienced some type of success in health changes in a quick-fix sort of way.  It's hard to look at progression in any way other than weight loss ('s measured easily which makes it a convenient way to rate progress).

Seeing progress in a different way is the key to this program.  Being more kind to yourself and recognizing when you are getting better at listening to your body is more important.

You know you are progressing when your diet thoughts about food have been replaced with thoughts like these:
--Am I truly hungry?
--Is this food worth my taste buds? (to clarify -- how many times do we eat things that don't taste good to us?)
--Will I feel deprived if I don't eat this?
--I deserve to eat without guilt.
--I did a good job in listening to my body today.
--It is amazing how my body communicates with me.

Re:  Exercise - Replace destructive diet thoughts with more helpful thoughts like:
--I like the way I feel after exercise.
--I feel less stressed when I exercise.
--My body likes to get up and move.

Re:  Progress - Change diet thoughts to:
--I love the relationship I'm gaining with my body.
--I see that all foods have a time and a place.
--I can trust my body to teach me how to eat perfectly.
--Food is not the enemy.

This is a thinking step -- be aware of the diet perspectives in your life.  If you feel that you can identify your actions, words, and thoughts as harmful, you can stop them now.  If you are not ready, it will come.  You will address more actions regarding this subject in step six.

B.  Your Spirit - Pray for discernment
Every person that has come to Earth has received the light of Christ -- a gift given to you so you will recognize truth when you hear it, but you need to be listening for it.  President Marion G. Romney said this about the spirit and truth, "The truths that can free us from our sins, guilt, false concepts, erroneous understanding, and unproductive habits and behaviors can to be had through the Holy Spirit."  You must be willing to believe that the Lord wants you to come to Him with all your problems, even eating issues.

You can find for yourself what is true for your body.  What may be healthy for others may not be healthy for you.  With study, prayer, and patience with trial and error, you can come to your own understanding of what is healthy for you.

Everyone is entitled to that sacred relationship with their savior and to receive "gifts of the spirit" or personal revelaiton for themselves to discern truth, right and wrong.

Maybe you believe that you are not worthy to receive personal revelations hourly because you are not spiritual all the time:  maybe you yell at your kids, didn't offer to help your neighbor, or sped to get to an appointment on time.

Jeffery R. Holland states, "...The Spirit has a near-impossible task to get through to a heart that is filled with hate or anger or vengeance or self-pity.  Those are all non-conducive to the Spirit of the Lord.  On the other hand, the Spirit finds instant access to a heart striving to be charitable and forgiving, long-suffering and kind -- principles of true discipleship."

Striving is the sweet word.  Please don't be so hard on yourself that you won't let the Lord guide you.  You are doing your best with what you have been given and with what you have learned.  The Lord will show you how to be better.

The Lord judges according to the desires of our hearts.  He will take in account all He has given you:  your upbringing, your experiences, and your weaknesses.  He will take our desires and our striving and make them enough.

Do your daily actions reflect your heart's truest desires?
Idols aren't just things that you worship or things you lust at.  They are also the things you spend the most of your time thinking about.  If you are thinking more about what and how much you are going to eat than about the Lord's will, then food or losing weight has become your idol. 

A story about desires and how they influence actions:

One night, a young idealist had a dream.  He dreamed there was a new store in a nearby shopping mall.  He went in and saw an angel behind the counter.  Nervously, he asked what the shop sold.

"Everything your heart desires," replied the angel.

"Then I want peace on Earth," exclaimed the idealist.  "I want an end to famine, sorrow, and disease."

"Just a moment," replied the angel.  "You haven't understood.  We don't sell fruit here, only seeds."

C.  Homework
1.  Become aware of the diet perspective.  Ask where these thoughts or actions came from.  Do you believe them?  Why or why not?  Have they helped you get a healthier body, or have they just caused more confusion between your body and food?  Notice how bombarded you are with lies and half truths.  Come ready to share what you hear in your head and all around you.

2.  Pray for the Spirit's help to discern what is true for your body.  The Lord knows your truest desires to be healthy, and He cares.

3.  Ponder about what it is that you truly seek.  What changes are you willing to make to get there?  Do you think you'll be happier, or that life would be better if you were the size you wanted to be?

Previous EFYS Posts
My Intro
Program's Intro
Step One

Listen to Online Intro


  1. Wow Gina - this one hit home for me. The Dieting actions/words/thoughts are a hard one to overcome. They have become so ingrained that sometimes you don't even realize how diet-y they are!!

    It's hard to change, but so worth the effort I think. :)

  2. A Holiday Thought...

    Aren't humans amazing? They kill wildlife - birds, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice and foxes by the million in order to protect their domestic animals and their feed.

    Then they kill domestic animals by the billion and eat them. This in turn kills people by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative - and fatal - health conditions like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer.

    So then humans spend billions of dollars torturing and killing millions more animals to look for cures for these diseases.

    Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals.

    Meanwhile, few people recognize the absurdity of humans, who kill so easily and violently, and once a year send out cards praying for "Peace on Earth."

    ~Revised Preface to Old MacDonald's Factory Farm by C. David Coates~

  3. Oh, Jill, I know! They are ingrained and all over blogland reinforcing it.

    Anonymous - Okay... It is ironic. We do eat too much meat. Happy New Year. :/