I have a love/hate relationship with food, and looking around me, I’m pretty sure I am not the only one. Every girl and woman I know has been preoccupied with food at some point in time.
So why the preoccupation? Why is food such a common obsession in the lives of most women?
I think it has something to do with how we define beauty. You see, beauty today is contingent upon food. The “thin ideal” is only attainable by eating the bare minimum. The “model image” leaves no room for enjoyment. The “picture perfect” body does not allow for anything sustainable. Beauty is all about control. More specifically, it is about controlling the food that we eat.
Thus the obsession with food.
Changing the definition of beauty begins with changing your relationship with food. In order to change it, however, you have to admit that there is something wrong with it. Is your relationship with food destructive? Do you allow the definition of beauty to influence your response to the food on your plate? Take a look at the three categories below and just see if you have conjoined beauty with food.
Category #1: The woman “in control”. Anorexic or health-nut. Whatever you call it, this woman is obsessed with eating the “right” kinds of food. There are food groups missing from the pyramid, making the image (and life) a little lopsided. This is the woman who avoids social gatherings because of the food factor. This is the woman who rigorously adheres to her own rule book. This is the woman who strives for perfection in all areas. This is the woman who will go all lengths to meet the narrow definition of beauty.
Category #2: The woman in “confusion”. This is the compensator. She loves food, yet she hates food. She desperately wants to meet the ideal image, so she cuts back and tries to follow the rule book. Most of the time, however, she loses control. She eats, feels guilty, then compensates. She stays at the gym for far too long. She stays in the bathroom far too often. She’s always fighting to meet the definition, but she never seems to quite get there. She lives in shame because she doesn’t meet the ideal. This is the woman who can’t seem to find the balance in life.
Category #3: The woman in “denial”. This woman will tell you that there is nothing wrong with her relationship with food. She doesn’t have a “disorder”. She doesn’t go to extremes to meet the image. What she does do, however, is talk. She talks about food, the “good” foods, the “bad” foods, the “healthy” foods, the “horrible” foods. She spouts off nutrition facts. She tells you what you should eat. She has foods categorized, and she is readily available to tell you when she is eating a “bad” food. This is the common, everyday woman. She is preoccupied with food. She has unrealistic standards. She lives bound in her mind by the expectations even though her lifestyle may or may not reflect the same expectations she adheres to.
Do you find yourself in any of the categories above? Do you see how big of a role food has in defining beautiful?
Today’s challenge is to take the food out of beauty. Let beauty stand alone. There are no “good” foods or “bad” foods today. When the person at the office talks about the calories, don’t entertain them. When the lady next to you spouts off her latest diet, don’t feel like you have to join in. Food has no place in beauty’s definition. It is meant to nourish our bodies, and nothing more.
The moment it becomes entwined in beauty is the moment you place too much importance on it. And the moment you give it importance is the moment you have turned it into a god of your own creation.
Don’t bow down to the god today. Separate food from beauty and live as you were intended to live: free.
Verse: “Some became fools for their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities. They loathed all food and drew near the gates of death. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.” (Psalm 107:17-20)