Or rather, I wrote a book, and am currently in the long process of editing said book. And that, my friends, is probably the craziest thing I’ve ever said. I still don’t believe it.
Just about two years ago, the gears in my head started turning. I had just started this blog (which at the time had a very different name) and I was happily writing about topics that inspired me — things like health, well-being, intuitive eating, and nourishing food. I became a part of the intuitive eating community on Instagram shortly thereafter, and was excited to find a growing group of professionals who shared tips, anecdotes, and encouragement for healing and self-care. But I slowly started to realize a significant missing link amid all the non-diet, gentle nutrition, wellness chatter: the why.
“Diet culture stinks. There’s something better!” But what is it?
“Intuitive eating will help you learn to eat freely.” But what’s the point?
“Stop counting calories. Dieting doesn’t add meaning do your life.” But what does?
I already knew the answer to these questions for myself, but when I looked at the women around me, it was very apparent that most of them didn’t. In fact, most of the people in my life are preoccupied with eating and exercise to some degree. Almost every female I know is on or has been on a diet at some point. The way many of my friends, family and acquaintances talk about exercise is in terms of “earning dessert,” “burning calories” or losing weight. In my social circles, tasty, satisfying food isn’t viewed as a blessing, but as something to control, limit, avoid, and even fear.
Americans in general are obsessed with weight loss. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, we spend over $60 billion on dieting and diet products each year. Statistics also show that as many as 9 out of 10 women avoid food when they feel badly about their body image and as many as 62% of teenage girls actively trying to lose weight at any given time. Some 30 million people of all ages and genders struggle with diagnosed eating disorders, but I think that number could be doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled when considering those who engage in disordered eating behaviors, extreme dieting, and over-exercise, and who are suffering because of them.
As most of you already know from following my blog, I am part of that number, having struggled with an eating disorder for pretty much the entirety of my teenage years. Despite the thousands of messages that were suggesting otherwise, I finally realized that my desperate pursuit of weight loss was not helping me cultivate satisfaction in life, instead making me spiritually empty.
Finally, a few months before my twentieth birthday, I made the decision that the life I was living wasn’t worth it. By the grace of God, I turned away from my obsession with thinness, desire for control, and the near decade of pain and suffering it had caused me, surrendering my eating disorder at the foot of the cross. Slowly but surely, (and with the help of a dietitian and therapist,) l learned to eat in a way that both honored my health, nourished my body, satisfied my cravings, and allowed me to live a fulfilling, meaningful, and purpose-driven life. The joy and freedom I experienced when I finally chose recovery completely changed my life, and I wanted others to experience that freedom too. I knew of a number of excellent books on the subject — Intuitive Eating, Body Kindness, and Health at Every Size to name a few — but none of them addressed the spiritual component which, I believe, is the most important. So, I wrote one.
This past December, I signed a contract with Broadleaf Books for a non-fiction book exploring health promotion through a non-diet lens, encouraging readers to respect their bodies, honor their hunger, and embrace the unique size and shape that God created for them. In the first half, it explains everything from the harm of dieting, the importance of self-care, and the perfection of God’s design for the role of food in the human life. In the second half, it offers an in-depth explanation of and tangible steps for putting those principles into practice so that readers can understand the love of God on an even deeper level, even as it applies to what they eat for dinner.
For the past few months, I kept going back and forth in my mind about how and when to share the news on the blog. I poured so many hours into writing, editing, finding a publisher, etc. and so when I finally made the announcement, I wanted to do it right. But I’ve decided that the right thing for this blog means sharing early, even though the book isn’t scheduled to be released until next spring. I’m so grateful for all of my readers, and I wanted to be able to share the news, excitement, and updates with you as they come. After all, you will probably be the first ones to read it!