Shifting your perspective on rest for better health

Shifting your perspective on rest for better health

Nourish your body with food and water, move joyfully and appropriately, manage stress, and rest. These are the four basic tenets of any preventative health regimen or recovery plan.

Yet the majority of health professionals and mainstream media focus on the first two principles and neglects the last two, with the exception of sleep, of course.

But there’s a reason I didn’t name sleep as the fourth tenet of health and opted for “rest” instead.

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5 Things for Friday + some BIG News

5 Things for Friday + some BIG News

So it's been a while (1 whole month to be exact) since I've written a blog post. I haven't forgotten about it, I promise. We've just been a little busy this summer between potty training, birthday parties and 3 trips back and forth to Indiana planning my sister's wedding.

On top of that, God's been teaching me through his word, but mainly through people, about the value of cutting away some good, but maybe unnecessary things in order to make room for the new thing he's doing in THIS season. 

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Soul Health

Soul health

Over the past 3 decades or so, our scientific understanding of the mind and how it effects our physical health has grown exponentially. Research has started to reveal the truth that scripture has shown  all along. The health of our soul (mind) goes hand-in-hand with the health of our bodies. 

"Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul." {3 John 1:2}

It's why I emphasize soul nourishment so much with clients -- health and behavior change begin with our thoughts and beliefs.

That being said, I think a lot of people misinterpret what that means. For instance, I am not saying that your health depends on how good of a person you are. That's works mentality -- not the gospel. 

To understand the concept of soul nourishment, we have to clear some things up first.

The soul is a mysterious thing. We can't see it, touch it or taste it. But we know there's more to us than just our physical, tangible bodies. We have a soul. We also have a spirit. Taken together, we are body, soul and spirit. 

This is where it get's a bit tricky. Isn't the phrase mind, body and soul? Or is it mind, body and spirit? The words soul and spirit are often used interchangeably, and herin lies the confusion. Both are mysterious, seemingly intangible concepts that deal with the inner workings of a person, but they are not the same. 

The soul is our mind, will, intellect and emotions. The spirit, however is something else. In everyday speak, the spirit is the real meaning, the intentions, energy and character behind something or someone. We often use the word heart to mean spirit, as in, "they have a good heart" or "the heart of the matter is..."

It's hard to put into words, but when we understand the difference between body, soul and spirit it changes how we view ourselves, which has the potential to totally transform the way we live.

Even though human words may fail to explain the difference between soul and spirit, the word of God is capable of discerning between the two.

"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." {Hebrews 4:12}

When we believe in Jesus and confess that He died and was raised from the dead to forgive us our sins and give us an abundant, eternal life, then we are given a new heart, a new spirit. This new heart is completely pure, and right in God's sight-- forever. It is this Spirit, the Holy Spirt, that enables us to carry out God's will. Not our own self -effort, but the power of God's Spirit within us. 

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And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. {Ezekial 36:26-27}.

If we ask God for it, we have a new spirit, a spirit of love, power and sound mind. But sometimes it doesn't feel like we're all that new and different. Why?

This is where the soul comes in. Our soul, or our mind, will and emotions is still the same. Our bodies still appear the same. If you still think and believe in your mind that "unclean" foods will defile you, then they still might cause you distress, but if you renew your mind with the truth, a truth that you now have a deeper knowing of in your spirit, then you will be transformed, soul & body. 

Let's keep with this example. Say someone believes that eating sugar and bacon makes them a bad person. This person looks at God's word and sees that Jesus says:

"it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person -- Do you not yet realize that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then is eliminated? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a man. " {Matthew 15: 15 - 18}

After reading this the person decides to believe it. Whenever thoughts arise that eating bacon or sugar should make them feel guilty, they refute the thoughts with the above scripture. Eventually they no longer have those thoughts or feelings. In this area, their soul has been transformed to align with the truth, to align with their new heart, their right spirit. 

Now how does this effect their body? Do they just eat unlimited sugar and bacon all the time. Probably not. Actually, intuitive eating research shows that when people give themselves unconditional permission to eat all foods, they end up overeating far less often. Further, this type of eating and a lack of food guilt are associated with better self-esteem and improved health markers ( better blood sugar control, blood pressure, BMI and blood cholesterol levels).

That's just one example of the transformative effect of renewing our minds (souls) with the truth. There are countless other examples I could share. In fact, you probably have some of your own.

To me, soul health means dismantling harmful lies about ourselves and replacing them with the truth. It also means taking time to rest and do things that nourish our mind and spirit -- like cultivating your gifts, reading a new book, hanging out with family, and meditating. These are all just examples of ways we can nurture a healthy soul.

But in our effort to nourish our soul, let's not forget that we didn't earn the right to love, worth, acceptance, or health through our own "soul nourishing" activities. We are loved and accepted just as we are, because we are God's children and it's His will to love and bless us. His love and the knowledge of Him set us free to care for our souls in the best way possible and empower us to be transformed into His image.

So it's my prayer that you'll receive love, nourish your soul, and be transformed!

Until next time, happy fueling & stay nourished <3

The Fruit of Self-Control & Eating

The other day a friend (and fellow dietitian) gave me the book, “The Weight of Grace” by Paula Neil Coleman. She told me that it was one of the only books she’s read that truly aligns with the principles of intuitive eating and God’s Word. After reading a few pages, I felt like I’d already pulled out a million nuggets of truth to share with you guys. But there was one thing the author said that really stuck out to me. She said that the discipline of dieting is not the same thing as self-control. Of course, I knew this in my heart, especially with all the intuitive eating work I do and research I’ve found to support it, but still, up until this time I was struggling to be able to explain the concept of self-control as it relates to our eating, in a grace fueled way. This post is my attempt to do just that, but likely not in the same way you've heard it before.

The Self-Control Conundrum

You see, for a lot of people, not being able to stick to a diet or clean eating regimen leaves us feeling like we have zero self-control. But if we truly believe God’s word, we know this can’t be the case. 2 Timothy 1:7 says “For God gave us a Spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control”. And again, in Galatians 5:22-23 Paul writes, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” The moment we believe in Jesus Christ for our righteousness, the bible says we are a new creation on the inside, filled with the Spirit of God, which among other things, gives us self-control.

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So why doesn’t this gift of self-control make us able to follow a diet plan?

Let’s look at the definition of the greek word “sōphronismou”, which is translated to self-control in 2 Timothey 1:7. According to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon the word means an admonishing or calling to soundness of mind, to moderation and self-control. Likewise further translations of the verse use sound mind and wise discretion in place of self-control.

Soundness of Mind & Intuitive Eating

Soundness of mind legally means to have the capacity to think, reason, and understand for oneself. Every person has inside of them a consciousness or intuition which allows them to do these things. Yet as Christians, we are told that we have a supernatural ability from the Holy Spirit to think, reason and understand for ourselves things that are not understood by the rest of the world, “for we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16”). So understand this: obsessing over a diet / rules for eating that come from outside ourselves and outside God’s word is not an expression of soundness of mind or wise discretion, it’s simply following the world’s rules in attempt to get something we already have through Christ, whether it’s health and healing, validation, worth or love.

On the contrary, when don't look to the world for answers but to the Holy Spirit within us who has the ability to overwhelmingly shape our intuition and who gives us “wise-discretion”, we are able to make nourishing decisions for food that will meet our own individual needs. “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure,” (Philippians 2:13). Listening to him and to the physical cues he’s designed in our bodies when it comes to what and how much to eat will lead only to good.

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Our natural inclination is to nourish our bodies, not harm them through overeating or eating so called “bad for us” foods. Yet most people are convinced that if left to follow their own intuition they would continually cause harm to their health. The truth is you can trust your body and the spirit within to guide your eating. “For no one hates his own body, but feeds it and cares for it,” (Ephesians 5:29). Self-control then is just the power to choose what is best for us, to say no to sinful/harmful things. But my friend, feeding your body is NOT sinful, and breaking somebody else’s diet rules isn’t a lack of self-control. The word of God does not condemn you for eating any food and neither should you. The new testament makes clear that all things created by God are good and nothing is to be rejected if received with thanksgiving (1 Timothy 4:4).

Maybe it’s a harmful mindset on food, a lack of understanding of our true value and worth in Christ, or an incomplete knowledge of His love for us that drives us to diet or worry about eating a certain way. In any case dieting is not what we need, so why would we expect God’s spirit of self-control to help us with dieting, when it just might be a path to destruction?

While I agree that overeating any food can be harmful, I believe that if we will stop following food laws & worrying over what to eat and instead listen to our intuition, to the Spirit’s leading, we’ll leave space for knowing when to eat and when to stop. We’ll listen and understand when our hunger is physical or emotional and how best to satisfy it.

Transformation comes with new thoughts

It’s time to have a NEW THOUGHT about feeding and caring for our bodies. One that is rooted in truth and not the patterns of the world. New thoughts come through hearing the truth of the Word of God. Transformation comes from believing the truth and putting it into practice.

If you’ve felt out of control, guilty, or ashamed about your eating and your body and you’re ready to find a new way of eating, one that nourishes both soul and body, one that’s rooted in the truth of God’s word, please join us for the grace-fueled eating e-course launching this Friday! The introductory course will only be available for the first 50 people. To reserve your spot, visit the e-course page and enter your email.

As always if you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. Until next time, happy fueling :)