Preventative Maintenance for the Body: Finding Healing and Wholeness Through Food

There are certain aspects of life where we can see that it is vital to do preventative maintenance.  Let’s take a car for example.  We know we need to get regular tune ups, oil changes, etc…to ensure that we get the maximum life span from our vehicle.  My Honda Civic is already over 100,000 miles and I aim to get another 100k out of it.  But what about another more important vehicle?  One we use daily and that accumulates various wear and tear from the hardships we inflict on it as the decades roll by.  That vehicle would be our very own physical body. 

At 30 years old I guess I’m at the age when you become more aware of how fast youth fades.  As a teenager I thought 30 was ancient, but now that I’m here I view it as more of the in-between-stage.  Definitely no longer a young adult…but not yet middle age.  My view is probably shaped more so by the fact that in many of my spheres of influence I am the youngest.  I’m the youngest professional in my work environment and I’m the youngest in my church fellowship.  So being surrounded by 40 and 50 year olds most of the time has a tendency to make one feel “young”.  Even so, I can not deny that 30 is when most people start feeling the effects of their age.  They may have aches and pains they did not previously experience.  (If they’re women) They may have popped out a kid or two and body parts just don’t “perk up” the way they once did. They may find that they can no longer eat the way they used to because their metabolism is no longer happily running speedily to burn off the starches, carbs and sugar they are so used to consuming.  All of these instances point to the fact that we are getting older and we really need to adopt some preventative maintenance in our eating habits to ensure longevity of life.

Since the age of 5 I’ve struggled with my weight.  I wasn’t obese but was definitely overweight and very uncomfortable in my own skin.  Those middle school insecurities distorted my body image which led to a couple of different eating disorders by my teenage years.  Once Christ delivered me from these disorders I still struggled with my view of food.  I had been emotionally eating for most of my life and was so used to abusing food that I continued in this pattern off and on for much of my adult life.  African
American culture typically embraces “curves” and so it was easy to justify my poor eating habits because I “carried my weight well”.  But the truth of the matter is, I was carrying excess weight.  Christ had not intended for me to carry this extra weight, even though the American culture I live in okayed my behavior.  Sadly, it is socially acceptable to overeat in our culture and to be overweight.  Although eating is a necessity of life, it is sinful to overindulge on a continuous basis.  As with any sin these unhealthy behaviors will lead to death (Romans 6:23).  In most cases it is a long slow death, but a premature death nonetheless.  Diabetes, High blood pressure, and so many other health conditions occur as a result of carrying excess weight and consuming excessive alcohol, salt and sugar.  My own blood line is laced with diabetes and cancer and so the probability of me falling prey to these silent killers is high.  Thankfully, in God’s mercy and goodness He awakened me to clean eating and used my Pastor/Health Coach Rhonda Sharpley to equip me in walking out a clean eating lifestyle.

The funny thing is when I began making the needed changes in my diet my goal was not weight loss.  If anything I was just being obedient to what God’s Spirit was saying to me:

“Nicole, you need to reduce/eliminate your intake of bread, sugar and dairy”. 

Yet the pounds started dropping and before I knew it I was 20 lbs lighter and several inches smaller (Thank You Jesus!).  I have been very active for several years and have thoroughly enjoyed running, so much so that I completed my first (and maybe last) half marathon last year.  But with all of that running I never once lost weight because my diet was still consisting of too much processed sugar, carbs and dairy. 

So what God has shown me is that He did not create me to be 20lbs heavier than I currently am.  Yes He did intend for me to have curves (as they are still there!) but my eating habits were hindering me from walking in the fullness of life He died for me to have. Can you relate?

I am so grateful for Rhonda Sharpley and her ministry to teach and equip others to walk in freedom and wholeness not only spiritually but also physically.  There is not a day that goes by that I do not receive a compliment or some type of affirmation on my appearance and I know that it is because Christ is now helping me to walk in more freedom in who I am eternally.  Part of that freedom is being free from emotionally eating.  Since He is no respecter of persons He has the same for you.  

Here are a few tips I would give for someone who desires to incorporate healthy eating in their day to day:

1. Make sure you eat greens every day; kale, romaine lettuce, green beans, etc…Green smoothies are an easy “go to”!
2. Drink plenty of water; cut out the pop and sugary drinks; green tea is a great antioxidant
3. Organic is the best way to go so when possible choose it
4. Cook your meals; eating out is expensive and its harder for you to monitor your portions
5. Choose healthy snacks; I love carrots and crunch on them whenever I’m in between meals and hungry, I also like them with hummus

I’m no expert however I was taught by one and I am reaping the benefits of taking heed to her instruction.  One great tool she taught me to use is the “Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook” by Mark Hyman.  Getting the kindle edition has greatly benefited me when I’m at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods Market and need to pull up a recipe quickly.  There are more recipes found on Rhonda’s blog site.

So often we are afraid of making a change or we feel we are “not ready”.  But the truth of the matter is our health is a matter of life or death.  We are either ready to live, or we are ready to deal with the effects of making poor eating choices which range from a life of sickness to premature death.  It is time to choose life.

Recently at a wedding I was approached and told “Nicole, whatever you are doing, keep doing it!”.  And I have every intention to do so.  I hope you will join me.

SHALOM

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