Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Our Metabolism/Our Bodies
I have had an interest in eating disorders and body image since I was a kid. I was unusually skinny at that time so the interest wasn't borne of a struggle of my own, but came from the conversations I had with others and what I observed in the world around me. For High School writing classes I would do research papers on anorexia and bulimia and then in college I did research on childhood obesity for my Nutrition 101 class.
If there is one thing I've learned about Science, is that it is useful and interesting, but also taken with a heavy dose of COMMON SENSE (because it is always changing and new studies are being done--we humans do NOT know everything yet!). Mainly I learned this from my mother. She breastfed in a time when formula was touted as "cleaner" and more modern. She had nutrition training and tried to use that in a common sense way in our home. I am really grateful for all I learned from her.
It's interesting as the nutrition community is just now finally accepting the pitfalls of a low-fat diet. I'm not sure why we are so prone to go to the extreme of any food fad, but it seems to be the way the American culture handles new science news. I've seen a few diet plan/supplement commercials lately and along with any weight loss/beauty/forever happiness promises that come with them, I refer back to the common sense I was taught at an early age.
When I was 12 a church leader, who was also a college physical education professor told us to NEVER GO ON A DIET. Why? He'd read the research that said that everyone who dieted, no matter how much weight they lost, gained it back, PLUS 10%. Over and over again, for some people. Common sense tells me there must be something wrong with telling our bodies there is a shortage of food. People who encourage dieting say it is as simple as calories in and then calories out--and if you burn more than you consume you will lose weight. Yes, you will lose weight, but that metabolism factor has to come into play. Otherwise why would dieters always gain more weight afterward? Our bodies are divinely created--and simply amazing. I've seen my own stay the same weight despite lows and highs of calorie intake. I've also seen it gain 5 pounds in a day while pregnant, and losing 20 pounds while changing very little. It just cannot be that simple (as calories in and out equaling a perfect equation). And I think since there is something more to it we should be very careful about ever telling our body, through denying it, that there is somehow a shortage.
Food is a gift from God. It can nourish our bodies as well as our Spirits as we experience colors, textures, tastes, and fullness that tell us life is good! I wish I could share that message to the world as a counter message to the one bombarding us with pictures of people who look like they are starving and/or spend 3 or 4 hours in a gym every day. So much of so many women's lives is spent on the messages they tell their selves every day about whether what they are eating is "good" or "bad," and how it affects their worth as a human being. Let's revolt!
These messages are not necessary and in fact if they lead to dieting, will lead us to further weight struggles down the road. Let's embrace today and say a prayer of thanks for the healthy, beautiful food that has been put on this earth for our enjoyment~!
at May 02, 2012