Jenna Petersen, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor
December 11, 2020
I set out on a mission to see how Scripture and science together bust the myths of diet culture. Today’s myth: Dieting makes me a better person.
I am aware that some of the topics covered within these myths are not directly addressed by Scripture. The Bible does not use the word “dieting” anywhere, and I am well acquainted with that fact. I believe that diets and dieting of modern culture are not spoken of in God’s Word because God did not inspire Scripture simply to apply to eating food. The Bible is meant to shape all of life, most importantly our posture towards the Lord and other people. By extension, this also applies to how you treat your own physical body as well as every other dimension of who God made you as a person, which is why I believe these types of discussions are useful.
Additionally, scientific research is helpful to shed light on these sensitive topics. While I am a scientist, and I currently work in a research center that contributes more than a dozen social and behavioral studies, I understand that research isn’t everything. The science of nutrition is a constantly changing field, never fully content to declare that one thing is good to eat or not as good. Despite this, the articles and studies that support the science of Intuitive Eating are not like these. They are NOT focused on specific foods to eat or avoid, like a diet would prescribe. Rather, they point to two concepts: attunement and interoceptive awareness.
Attunement contains the word “tune”. When you are seeking to sing in harmony with someone else, you are syncing up with the words, rhythm, and key of the song. When you are in attunement with your body, you are trying to respond to its natural signals, trusting it to guide you to the appropriate amount and types of food.
Interoceptive awareness is similar in nature. It describes physical sensations like hunger, fullness, satisfaction. Someone with interoceptive awareness would not have difficulty knowing when to respond to hunger cues or when to stop eating at the point of fullness.
With that in mind, let’s discover together what truths from the Bible can add to what science says as we counter this next myth of diet culture.
MYTH 2: Dieting makes me a better person.
Some people who believe this would never breathe a word to indicate that deeply held belief.
Instead, they compare what they are eating to what all kinds of other people are eating. People even compare what they are eating to celebrities, famous channels on YouTube, or Instagram. Women are especially good at this. We gravitate toward certain diets because they make us feel stronger, better, in control, or in a place of superiority to another person at the dinner table.
It’s a false sense of morality to believe that a diet could make you better than someone else, or that it could make you better than you were even the day before you started the diet.
Do you know what Scripture says about morality? God tells us a lot about what is right and wrong, and it has nothing to do with what we eat.
I often tell my clients that you can’t be wrong for eating something unless you killed the farmer or stole the food.
God’s value of you will not increase if you are dieting. You are no better in His loving eyes for trying to stick to a specific meal plan or calorie count.
People who buy into the dieting industry, which is really the driving force behind diet culture, often DO believe that dieting makes them better. They hold onto the hope that the next diet will eventually help them achieve the body that they wish they had.
Hope isn’t found in dieting. Right now is the advent season in which Christians across the globe are remembering and celebrating Jesus Christ’s entrance into the world to save sinners like you and me.
Rest in the hope of Christ.
If you still have lingering questions about how to truly conquer the pattern of dieting, you know how to get in touch!