“So—join the company of good men and women, keep your feet on the tried-and-true paths.” Proverbs 2:20 (The Message)
When we struggle with food related issues it feels like the safe thing to do is isolate and lock ourselves in our cave of comfort food. Is this working for you? I’m going to guess, probably not. Why? Because it doesn’t work for anyone, not in the long run anyway. According to Proverbs 2:20, there are 4 ways to change food habits for the betterand for good.
1) Put aside pride
It can be very difficult to ask for help, especially from someone who has already done what we want to do. I’m sitting here asking myself why that is, and two things come to mind: pride and shame. When we want to lose weight and try and fail, then see someone we know who has done it… we can get stuck in a “if that person can do it, I certainly can” mentality. This is pride is often a result of seeing ourselves as superior to that person in some way. (It’s OK, we all do it.) Why? Because we believe deserve what they have, and gloss over all the work it took to get there. We can downplay their effort in our mind and resent them because of their result, not calculating their sacrifice. There is no escaping the fact that we all have to put in a lot of work to get healthy. Especially in our SAD culture (Sad American Diet.) Every one of us has to work for health. It might be different work person-to-person, but it is hard work for every person. When we are stuck thinking we can do it our own way (a way that has never worked) AND get the results we want (even though these two are in stark opposition to each other…) we feel shame when we fail. Shame that we couldn’t do it. Shame that someone else could. Shame that jumps into the future like an evil time-traveling, fortune-telling gremlin to inform us that since we couldn’t do it yesterday so obviously we can’t do it tomorrow. Our resistance to the shame shifts us back into pride… where we start to argue that it’s all so unfair because wedeserve that donut. Which shifts us back into shame after we eat the donut. Voila! We are caught in a thought loop that is very hard to escape unless we toss two things to the curb: pride and shame. How? 1) Ask for help and 2) put the past behind you and try again.
2) Ask for help
Look around you and find people who have what you want. Is it a healthy lifestyle, weight loss, raw diet, decrease in disease symptoms? Choose from the “good men and women” you know who got what you want. Ask one of them to coffee or on a walk and bring your curiosity. As you listen to their story, you may not do exactly what they did, because let’s be honest, everyone’s life and journey is different. However, you will most likely get some great tips and tools that you can use to adjust to your lifestyle for the better. Many times it’s tiny adjustments that change our lives for good, we just have to know where and how to adjust. Don’t know who to ask? Pray and ask God to show you who to talk to about your health goals.
3) Join in with others who are already succeeding at healthy eating
Proverbs 2:20 instructs us to “join the company.” Let’s say your life is a little boat headed in one direction and you see storm clouds ahead and you have your hand on the rudder. If you see another boat, or group of boats, heading around the clouds. Wouldn’t you want to join them? If you do, you have to turn your rudder. Changing direction requires guidance AND movement. Movement = change. It’s one thing to know where to go, it’s a completely different step to go there. Join in! It could be fun, and it’s gotta be better than where you are now. Heading straight into that storm cloud will be turbulent and possibly deadly. Don’t hesitate joining in with Godly men and women who are avoiding the “storm cloud” by following their lead.
4) Stay the course
“Keep your feet on the tried and true paths.” This makes me chuckle because when I read it, I think of the age old wisdom that to lose weight we need to “diet and exercise.” How often I replied to that by saying to myself, “Yah, yah yah, I know that, but is there anything else I can do instead?” The “anything else” never worked for me. When it came right down to it, the tried and true path of managing my food and incorporating movement into my life was the solution. Yet that’s so hard! Yep, it sure is. Why? Because the real challenge is to “keep” to that path, to stay the course. Struggling? Going back to step 2 will help. When it gets really difficult (and it does for us all) you already have a support system around you of good men and women who are already doing it and understand. They can support you, encourage you and help you keep to the path toward your health goals.
Is it time for a change? Have you tried everything and it’s just not working? Maybe it’s time to put aside pride and shame, ask for help and join others on the challenging, fulfilling and promising road to wellness. What have you got to lose? Maybe some unneeded weight, possibly some emotional baggage, and a few junky carbs. You didn’t need those anyway.
For reflection during your prayer time with the Lord:
Ask God to show you where pride is getting in your way of healthy living. Ask Him to help you to release toxic pride so you can move in a new direction of learning and positive changes.
Ask God to show you how toxic shame is affecting you. Consider the origins of the shame. Pray for healing and forgiveness if necessary. Imagine what your life would look like without toxic shame.
Make a list of 3 good people who 1) are living the healthy life you want 2) you can talk to about what they did. How can you make an appointment with each one to learn more about what they did to get healthy? When can you make the calls to set up the meetings?
After your meetings review your notes with God. Out of all the tips and ideas, what is one thing you could start doing right now? Tomorrow? What about in a week? Start thinking (and praying!) about how and when to join your friends on the path to wellness. You’ll be in good company, and you will bless them as well.
Need more support? Contact me to see if personalized health coaching might be a good fit for you.
This is Day 8 in “Eating Through the Proverbs,” a Bible study about food, by Julia Fikse, Functional Medicine Health Coach ©2019.