I was recommended this book during a bout of lethargic indifference towards making healthy food and fitness choices recently. Basically this translated into living mainly on toasted cheese sandwiches, and sleeping in rather than getting out and exercising in the mornings. This then translated into a spiralling state of lethargy in other areas of my life, and an increasing number of viral infections which I am normally less prone to. It also translated into tighter fitting clothes and the concern that I would have to spend our hard-earned cash on a new wardrobe of larger sized clothes.
Reading this has certainly helped me to refocus on being a good steward of the most perfect machine ever made by God.. the human body. My body really is a perfect machine, as I have learned over the past few years. It does exactly what I tell it. If I “feed it and look after it” well (sound familiar? thanks St Paul), it works well. If I don’t feed it and look after it well, it doesn’t work so well. Perhaps the impact may not be so obvious initially, but it is taking less time now for me to tune in to how well I am fuelling the body God gave me so as to be able to serve Him with it. It is also complimentary to the important spiritual health we seek.
Dr Rick Kausman in this book is a big proponent of the intuitive eating approach, which can be excellent for those who are really battling long-term body issue problems, eating disorders and obesity. He really does reframe things for those who have basically been disillusioned by repeated failures at fad diets.
It is important to realise how he defines what a “diet” actually is in the context of this book:
D – for deprivation – just thinking about going on a diet, let alone attempting one, can make us feel deprived
I – for impressive – because diets can create an impressive weight loss in the short term
E – for energy sapping – because they drain us of our emotional and physical energy
T – for temporary – which is what most people get if they go on a diet – a temporary change
Although I don’t necessarily agree with everything he suggests, such as completely disregarding external measures such as regular (eg. monthly) weight checks, I do think there are many principles he promotes which are very helpful to a healthy life. One in particular is the issue of “non-hungry eating” which is often what leads to many health issues. Another is body image, which taps into a deeper issue of self-loathing. This is a cause for concern not just for those with eating disorders, it is so pervasive in our culture and often overlooked as a pathological problem for many, both male and female alike.
At this time of Lent, it is oddly appropriate to seek to live a more ‘moderate’ life through looking into the types of excess that come with seeking only bodily health at the expense of the big picture. This book helps to put into perspective what the goal of any change to our life in the hopes of caring better for the body God gave us should look like – holistic, sustainable and life-affirming.