Intuitive Eating is for Christians, too! However, the namesake Intuitive Eating book doesn’t pay homage to the fact that a philosophy of honoring our bodies, including their hunger signals and unique sizes and shapes, was something that God designed at the very beginning of time. While diet culture disrupted that natural, internal signaling process and created a lot of confusion for most of us, we can always turn away from the harmful ways of the world and come back to God’s truth.
In light of this, I wanted to share 10 faith-based principles of intuitive eating for Christians who are interested in learning more about intuitive eating but from a biblical, faith-based perspective.
1. Reject the idea that your body needs to change.
God made your body and called it good. He created diversity, variation, and natural differences in his creation, all of which are fearfully and wonderfully made. An important takeaway for Christians desiring to become intuitive eaters is that our bodies are already good, and they won’t be more worthy or valuable if we lose weight!
2. Honor the body God gave you.
Our bodies were made with the incredible ability to self-regulate their biology. They know how to process nutrients, and how to send signals to our brains telling us when we need to eat. Resist the urge to skip meals or resist hunger, and honor those bodily signals instead. As a Christian intuitive eater, it will be important to remember that honoring our bodies is an expression of worship towards the God who created them.
3. Remember that food is not a moral issue.
In the bible, there are no good and bad foods, and instead we read this: the worldly idea that food holds the power of life and death is a lie. Eating a brownie is not a sin, and should not warrant guilt or shame. The Lord invites us to taste and see that He is good! It’s actually really dangerous to start calling something a sin that isn’t a sin. Christian intuitive eaters recognize that the bible isn’t a diet book, and it’s a bad idea to try to make it out to be one.
4. Beware of legalism.
Legalism is the word we use for the process of making up a new rule and pretending that it is as important as God’s law. (Read: it’s not.) Food rules (and food legalism) tend to look something like this: “Cookies are bad. Kale is good. I am bad if I eat cookies. I am good if I eat Kale.” These are lies! Christian intuitive eaters recognize that scripture alone is sufficient to inform our lives, and that it’s dangerous to start adding extra rules to the bible.
5. Food is for the body and the body is for food.
Remember that God gave us food to satisfy our hunger. That means, it can’t satisfy emotional or spiritual needs. Resist the urge to eat past fullness in hopes of finding satisfaction, because it doesn’t work like that. Christian intuitive eaters understand that we don’t need to worry about eating food that God created because He gave us food as a good gift for the purpose of meeting our needs. “Eat this, not that” is just a code word for a diet…
6. Allow food to satisfy you.
The bible says that Christ alone satisfies the deepest needs of or hearts; it doesn’t say that brownies can’t satisfy dessert cravings. Diet culture teaches us that it’s wrong to enjoy food, but the bible says the opposite. Find enjoyment in food and then rejoice and give thanks to the God who provided it. Christian intuitive eaters know that when we don’t allow our food to satisfy us, cravings get out of control.
7. We have more needs than just hunger.
A brownie can’t satisfy a craving for friendship, meaning, or love. Avoid the temptation to satisfy those needs with something that can’t rightfully fulfill those them (i.e. food), just like a hot shower or a phone call with your friends can’t fill your belly when you need a meal. Christian intuitive eaters know where to look to satisfy all of the variety of their needs.
8. Respect the body God made for you.
Does the clay say to the potter, “Why did you make me like this?” Indeed not! Instead of focusing on the things you don’t appreciate your body, choose to see your body as the gift that it is. Give thanks to God for your health, your abilities, and every breath you take. Christian intuitive eaters recognize that their bodies are loved by God and therefore worthy of respect.
9. Live for more.
So you want to lose weight…? If you succeed in that, then what? Remember that appearance is only skin deep. When you walk away from the mirror, you still need to DO something with your life. Our bodies will age and eventually die, so invest in eternity instead. One of the most helpful steps you can take towards becoming a Christian intuitive eater is to start living for bigger things than trying to fit into a smaller pant size.
10. Guard your heart.
Everywhere you look, there will be a new diet, and someone claiming 101 reasons why this diet will change your life. When facing temptation, remember that no diet has ever worked, but that rejecting a diet mentality is the healthiest thing for you. Avoid reading diet books and focus on scripture instead. To become a Christian intuitive eater, tune out the diet chatter in your life and fill that space with God-given truth instead.