A FRIEND OF MINE told me recently that her sister exercises for one reason only: she knows her body is a gift from God, and she wants to show her gratitude by taking care of it. Sounds simple enough, right? But how many of us view our bodies, as well as how we treat them, with God in mind?
When I was in the grips of my eating disorder, I exercised compulsively, not because I desired health or wished to honor God, but only because I wanted to be thinner. Eating was not about fueling my body. It was about control. Micromanaging how much or how little I ate made me feel more powerful. I couldn’t make others love me, but I could make myself thinner.
It took several years of treatment and a lot of prayer for me to break free from disordered eating and a poor body image. Thankfully, nowadays when I break a sweat or reach for whole grains and veggies instead of processed food, it’s because I want to show appreciation for the body with which God has blessed me.
I also want to be healthy and strong so I’m better equipped to carry out God’s will for me, which, as a mother, includes the often exhausting work of taking care of four small and energetic children. My husband exercises and eats well so he has the stamina to work long hours to provide for our growing family.
We exercise and eat properly because that’s what we need to do to live healthy lives. But not everybody shares this kind of lifestyle.