Since I’ve adopted the whole “temple mentality” when it comes to my health, I’ve noticed an enormous change in the diet and exercise-related material I read and watch on TV.
Back in 2005, for example, I considered Hollywood starlets and pop princesses like Britney Spears to be the epitomes of female perfection (physical perfection, mind you). Any time E! News, Access Hollywood or any other highbrow entertainment program announced an upcoming segment on Hollywood exercise secrets and diet trends, I tuned in and took notes. No carbs after 2pm. No problem! I only eat grapefruit, tomatoes, and steak. It’s obviously working for you; I’ll try it.! I run three miles first thing in the morning. I can do that, too! Such positive influences…
Tabloids were yet another source of inspiration. Splashed on the absurdly sensational covers were pictures of svelte bodies captioned with promises to reveal these celebrities’ latest and greatest slimming secrets. Jessica Simpson, I read, worked out two hours a day for her role as Daisy in The Dukes of Hazzard. Two hours! I’ll do no less than 2 and a half, I cleverly thought.
I would like to think that my behavior back then is a rarity among young women, but I don’t think it is. When I get pedicures at the nail salon, I can’t help but notice women flipping through the pages Ok! and Star magazines and stopping at the articles awash with bikini-clad singers and actresses and their supposed exercise habits. I’m not clairvoyant, but if these readers are anything like I was (and still am, at times), they’re thinking something along the lines of: How do they do it? I’d love to look like that if I just knew what to do. I wonder what they eat…I wonder how long they work out every day…
After I’d asked the Lord for His help and direction, I began to notice an inverse relationship between the attention I paid to entertainment news shows and trashy magazines and the time I spent in God’s Word. The more I read the Bible, worshipped and prayed, the less I compared myself to others and tried to emulate their exercise routines and dietary choices.
Nowadays, I like to think I have a healthy (no pun intended) interest in fitness and nutrition, one that doesn’t fixate on fads or scour the media for the current crazes. I read magazines like Oxygen and Women’s Health, and watch shows like Dr. Oz for Pete’s sake. And books such as The Maker’s Diet and Perfect Weight America by Dr. Jordin Rubin have taught me the importance of eating natural, God-made foods (no more Splenda!).
Until we receive our new, sinless, heavenly bodies, we will always wrestle with temptations, which may include comparing and even competing with others. But Galatians 5:16 says that if we live by the Spirit, we will not gratify the desires of our sinful bodies. Thank God for His Spirit. There’s no greater Person to teach us, lead us, and tell us the truth about everything, from the ways of God to the way to work out and eat!