January it seems, is the month of the Diet. And not just any old diet – this year, (as with every year), it’s something Radical and Exciting that will Change Your Life. From Dukan to Atkins – you can eat anything…as long as it’s blue and contains the letter z! Knock yourself out with a mountain of raw zucchini.
Diets are especially appealing to a certain kind of person. Perfectionists. Those with low self-esteem, who long for a programme that promises self-worth. Those who like to be in control. Good at saying no. Good at counting calories and measuring progress. Not so good at knowing when to stop. (Or so I’ve heard)..
This year, for example it’s the turn of the ‘fasting diet’. Proponents talk about the fact that it gives you a ‘natural high’ and the need to ‘push through your hunger’. For some people, this may be ok. But for others, it’s incredibly dangerous.
I’m not saying that dieting ’causes’ eating disorders – any more than the existence of alcohol ’causes’ alcoholics. However. If you’ve got – or had – a drinking problem, then the pub can be a dangerous place. And in the same way, if you’ve struggled with eating disorders or have tendencies in that direction – then going on a diet can be a trigger.
Being a healthy weight is a part of taking care of ourselves and looking after our bodies. But the numbers on the scale (or the clothes tag) are not the point.
Jesus doesn’t just call me to a healthy BMI, He saves me and gives me a whole new life in His kingdom – a life where the context is healthy living, healthy eating, a healthy view of the body. But my identity comes, not from my body, but being part of His.