Wondering how to make your diet and weight-loss journey a spiritual one? Food has always played a significant role in religion, and it is possible to blend your physical aspirations with your spiritual goals.
Food has been a theme throughout the history of global religions. It not only provides nourishment for our bodies, but it also has spiritual significance. Abstinence from food represents self-control and discipline which are godly traits. 1 Corinthians 7:5 tells us that overindulgence in food is gluttonous and sinful. “So that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control,” the verse reads. Fasting has been an integral part of most religious practices for thousands of years, and is performed by the most devout worshipers. Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, Buddha for 49 days, and Mohammed for 29. Whether Christians are restricting their diets for Lent, or Muslims are fasting from sunrise to sunset during the month of Ramadan, food and diet are integral to religion.
As obesity rates continue to climb and collective health deteriorates, I am an advocate of any nutritious diet, as long as it works for someone and helps them achieve a healthy weight. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem or ‘losing weight God’s way’. As a Christian, it’s important for me to pray frequently, and my spiritual life is a priority. I try to incorporate my acknowledgement of God’s presence in all that I do. When making decisions about what to eat, why not consult God in prayer? Resisting the temptation to eat unhealthy foods may serve as a reminder to thank God or pray for others. In Matthew 6:6-18 the Bible reads “But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Adhering to a restricted diet can be offered as a personal sacrifice to God.
Mega-church leader Joel Osteen has preached about avoiding unclean animals, and recommends sticking with the Old Testament’s Food Laws (for example, pigs and shell fish are not to be eaten he says). Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dyer both encourage self-love and positive thinking as a method to attain the ideal body weight. The Bible reads, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians10:31), and I agree with this sentiment. By keeping both short and long-term diet goals in alignment with your faith, you will reap physical and spiritual benefits.
Wishing you health and happiness,
Staff Writer: @hollylowejones